Allison Aubrey

Allison Aubrey is a correspondent for NPR News. Aubrey is a 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards nominee for her broadcast radio coverage of food and nutrition. And, along with her colleagues on The Salt, winner of a 2012 James Beard Award for best food blog. Her stories can be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She's also host of the NPR video series Tiny Desk Kitchen.

Through her reporting Aubrey can focus on her curiosities about food and culture. She has investigated the nutritional, and taste, differences between grass fed and corn feed beef. Aubrey looked into the hype behind the claims of antioxidants in berries and the claim that honey is a cure-all for allergies.

In 2009, Aubrey was awarded both the American Society for Nutrition's Media Award for her reporting on food and nutrition. She was honored with the 2006 National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism in radio and earned a 2005 Medical Evidence Fellowship by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Knight Foundation. She was a 2009 Kaiser Media Fellow in focusing on health.

Joining NPR in 1998 as a general assignment reporter Aubrey spent five years covering environmental policy, as well as contributing to coverage of Washington, D.C., for NPR's National Desk.

Before coming to NPR, Aubrey was a reporter for PBS' NewsHour. She has worked in a variety of positions throughout the television industry.

Aubrey received her bachelor's of arts degree from Denison University in Granville, OH, and a master's of arts degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Obesity has long been recognized as a public health problem. But this week, the American Medical Association, the nation's largest professional organization of physicians, has taken the step of officially recognizing obesity as a disease.

NPR's Allison Aubrey joins us now to talk about what this means. Hi, Alison.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Hi there, Robert.

SIEGEL: What's the significance of declaring obesity a disease?

The egg of the future may not involve a chicken at all. In fact, in the high-tech food lab at Hampton Creek Foods in San Francisco, the chicken-less egg substitute has already been hatched.

The inspiration for NPR's Coffee Week arrived in an email last summer. I had just reported on the growing Third-Wave Movement in Coffee, and the burgeoning interest in coffee cuppings.

A New York state judge has knocked down New York City's landmark new ban on big, sugary drinks, just one day before it was set to take effect.

Who knew that the flower nectar of citrus plants — including some varieties of grapefruit, lemon and oranges — contains caffeine? As does the nectar of coffee plant flowers.

And when honeybees feed on caffeine-containing nectar, it turns out, the caffeine buzz seems to improve their memories — or their motivations for going back for more.

"It is surprising," says Geraldine Wright at Newcastle University in the the U.K., the lead researcher of a new honeybee study published in the journal Science.

When NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health asked parents and caregivers in our new poll whether getting a good night's sleep is important, families overwhelmingly told us that sleep is a high priority.

But almost all said that it's difficult to pull off. And studies suggest this is especially true for teenagers.

When we asked you (via our Facebook page) to tell us about the weekday challenges your families face, given the competing demands of work, commutes, schoolwork and activities, you didn't hold back. Especially on the subject of squeezing in a family dinner.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Alright, an inauguration is never complete without a night of inaugural balls. Both official events were held at the Washington Convention Center.

NPR's Allison Aubrey went to check out the scene and meet the guests who were there. Turns out, when you get a ticket to a ball with the president of the United States, you just get to Washington. Who needs a hotel?

When it comes to supernutritious foods, the blueberry has long had a health halo floating over it.

Going back to Colonial times when Native Americans and English settlers ground up blueberries and added them to porridge, in both dried and fresh forms, there have been hints of health-promoting effects.

Being a little overweight may tip the odds in favor of living a long life, according to a new analysis. Researchers say there may be some benefit to having a little extra body fat.

This isn't the first time researchers have raised questions about the link between body weight and how long someone will live. While there's no debate that being severely obese will raise the risk of all kinds of illnesses and even cut some lives short, it's less clear what happens to people who are less overweight.

It's high season for pie-making. And when we came upon this touching story about a bunch of women gathering to bake fresh apple pies for the people of Newtown, Conn., it warmed our hearts here at The Salt. Truly.

Italians may still be light-years ahead when it comes to gelato, but when it comes to extra-virgin olive oil? Watch out: U.S. producers are on it.

The produce aisle may not yet be restocked at the Stop & Shop in Toms River, N.J., and other perishables may still be hard to come by. But rest assured, the local pizza joint is hopping.

"We've been busy, very busy," says Marissa Henderson, granddaughter of the proprietor of Geno D's pizzeria in Toms River. It was one of the few restaurants open in the area in the wake of the hurricane that rolled through earlier this week.

We almost brought you news today about a study that appeared to raise some troubling questions about aspartame, the popular sugar substitute found in many common foods like diet soda. Note the key word — almost.

A study due to be published at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and released to reporters earlier in the week under embargo found some correlation between drinking diet soda and an increased risk of leukemia and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as a few other rare blood-related cancers.

If I were rich, I might hire a sous chef. But for now, I'm learning to cheat time. And here's a new way I've stumbled upon to save a minute or two every time I use garlic.

Toss it in the microwave. I put the whole bulb in — 15 to 20 seconds will do the trick. It makes peeling much easier. The cloves practically slide -– or pop — out of their skins, though I won't make any promises about stickiness.

But, since I'm on the science desk, I have to ask, how does it work?

Affordable imported cheeses. Check. Good wines on the cheap. Check. And oh yeah, the Seaweed Salad. Is it really only $2.99?

Trader Joe's has won consumers over with its frugal-gourmet-meets-neighborhood-store feel.

But now, it appears that lots of consumers want something more from TJ's: A commitment to stop selling meat from animals treated with antibiotics.

The idea that milk may diminish the potential heart-health benefits of tea has been a topic of some debate. Lots of us can't imagine black tea without a little dairy to cut the bitterness. But, according to this research going back to 2007, we might want to at least consider trying, say, a nice cup of green tea sans sugar or cream.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Fast food giant McDonald's announced a big move yesterday to begin posting calories on menu boards. It's also making smaller changes designed to help Americans make healthier choices; smaller changes you might not even notice.

But NPR's Allison Aubrey reports they can make a real difference.

Beginning next week, McDonald's plans to add calorie counts to its menu boards — both at drive-thrus and restaurant counters. Studies suggest that calorie boards alone don't change consumers' purchasing patterns. But consumers do seem to take note, and public health experts say it's one tangible step to helping consumers make healthier choices.

It may be more important than we thought to tackle obesity in childhood. A new study published in Pediatrics finds that overweight teenagers eat fewer calories than their healthy weight peers.

That's right — they eat less.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Why do children and teens become overweight? The answer to that question is not as straightforward as counting calories. NPR's Allison Aubrey has this story about a study published today in the journal Pediatrics. It suggests that the eating habits of overweight teens are not all that different from their healthy-weight peers.

Yes, organics is a $29 billion industry and still growing. Something is pulling us toward those organic veggies that are grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

But if you're thinking that organic produce will help you stay healthier, a new finding may come as a surprise. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds scant evidence of health benefits from organic foods.

High school students with heavy academic course loads often find the demands of homework colliding with the need for adequate sleep.

The "know your farmer" concept may soon apply to the folks growing your coffee, too.

Increasingly, specialty roasters are working directly with coffee growers around the world to produce coffees as varied in taste as wines. And how are roasters teaching their clientele to appreciate the subtle characteristics of brews? By bringing an age-old tasting ritual once limited to coffee insiders to the coffee-sipping masses.

There's no magic elixir for healthy aging, but here's one more thing to add to the list: good gut health.

A study published in the latest issue of Nature finds diet may be key to promoting diverse communities of beneficial bacteria in the guts of older people.

To evaluate this, researchers analyzed the microbiota, or gut bacteria, of 178 older folks, mostly in their 70s and 80s.

Yes, it's been meat all week. So are you ready for dessert? As a preview of Pie Week on Morning Edition and The Salt next week, we bring you this sneak peek of what we learned at the Culinary Institute of America.

Now, lots of people are afraid of making pie crust, but we've got a foolproof formula for you.

It's no longer just foodies at farm markets or Whole Foods buying antibiotic-free, pasture-raised meats.

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds certain genes may predict a person's food choices and eating habits. Two genes in particular, which are associated with obesity, were significantly associated with more snacks per day from fats and sweets — as well as more servings from dairy and meat.

When it comes to walking, the easy part is understanding the benefits: Regular, brisk walks can strengthen our bones, help control blood sugar, help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and the list goes on. The hard part is finding the time to fit it in.

Engineering physical activity back into Americans' daily lives is the goal of an educational campaign launched by Kaiser Permanente,an Oakland, Calif.-based health plan.

Got a Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi habit? Lots of Americans do. Consumption of all types of diet soft drinks has been on the rise. And as a nation, we drink an estimated 20 percent more of diet drinks now than we did 15 years ago.

So, is it good for us? A new study finds the answer to that question may depend a lot on, well, what you eat.

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