- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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March 12, 2010
Shaking the salt habit
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Take a moment to think about your dining habits. Do you salt your food? How often do you eat out? Are meals at home out of a can or box? If you answered yes to two of these three questions, chances are you're getting too much salt.
You're not alone. Most Americans eat too much salt — close to twice as much as they need, in fact.
You watch your calorie and fat intake to control your weight and improve your health. Why ignore salt? Lowering your salt intake can help lower your blood pressure and your risk of cardiovascular disease. For some individuals — those over age 40 and those of African-American heritage — a low-sodium diet may be especially important.
A recent article in the "New England Journal of Medicine" looked at the potential impact of reducing salt intake. The report found that if Americans cut their salt intake by 3 grams a day, new cases of heart disease, stroke and heart attack would significantly drop — as would the number of deaths. The authors estimate that these changes could save between $10 billion and $24 billion in health care costs annually. In light of this, many experts are calling on food manufacturers and restaurants to lower the amount of salt in the foods they sell.
A number of countries have already placed regulations on the salt content of processed foods. Is it time for the United States to put such regulations in place too? Some food companies have voluntarily reduced the sodium in their foods. Although the reduction is a step in the right direction, sodium content of many processed foods is still high.
Are you in favor of more strict regulations to make foods lower in salt? How would you feel about a ban on high-salt meals in restaurants, similar to what some cities and states did with trans fat? Do you pay attention to the amount of salt in your diet? If food manufacturers and restaurants lower the salt content of food, would that be a selling point for you?
Interested in your input,
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