- 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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Jan. 18, 2011
Dietary supplements: Greater accountability needed
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
In December 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took several steps to improve the safety of dietary supplements. These steps included:
- Sending a letter to the dietary supplement industry emphasizing that companies are legally responsible for preventing tainted products — including those with undeclared or deceptively labeled ingredients — from being sold in the United States.
- Starting a new rapid public notification system (a RSS feed) so consumers can receive timely updates about tainted supplements.
- Creating a mechanism for industry to alert the FDA about potentially tainted products.
In its letter to manufacturers, the FDA pointed out that in recent years the agency has received nearly 300 reports of tainted products and numerous complaints of injuries — including stroke, organ failure and death. The three most common categories of tainted dietary supplements are:
- Weight-loss products
- Body-building products
- Sexual enhancement products
Five major supplement trade associations have joined with FDA on its safety effort. I applaud them, but wonder if this is it enough?
I realize that there are several sides to this story. Some take the view that government regulation is heavy-handed, and that regulating supplements will reduce availability and cause prices to sky rocket — and there will still be safety issues. Some take the side that manufacturers have been given too long to police themselves and that they have not been successful — more regulation is needed. Yet others will take the tact that personal responsibility is paramount — akin to "what you take is what you get."
In my opinion, all three groups have responsibilities in this matter. The FDA is on the right track in keeping the manufacturers of supplements accountable. However, more power to regulate may be needed. Manufacturers must also work to ensure that their products and safe and effective.
And just as important — consumers need to take personal responsibility for knowing and understanding the risks and benefits of using supplements. Responsible use includes informing your doctor and other healthcare providers about any supplements you use. So, one of your New Year's resolutions should be to bring a complete list of the supplements you take to your next appointment.
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