- 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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Got food questions? We've got answers
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
When my family gets together, they quiz me about food and nutrition. They've come up with some great food questions over the years. I thought I'd share a few with you.
Q: Why do beans cause gas?
A: Beans produce gas because they contain the natural indigestible sugars called oligosaccharides. In the large intestine, bacteria ferment the sugars and gas is formed.
Q: Why does soaking beans make them more digestible?
A: Soaking beans releases an enzyme that, along with the water, helps break down the oligosaccharides, making them more digestible. Therefore, fewer oligosaccharides reach the intestine, and less gas is produced.
Q: Why does powdered sugar — but not granulated sugar — clump when you add it to coffee?
A: Most powdered sugar contains cornstarch, which when added to coffee can form a gooey clump. Granulated sugar doesn't contain starch — so it doesn't clump.
Q: Why do pasta recipes recommend adding salt to the cooking water?
A: Tradition has more to do with this than anything else. It is commonly believed that pasta will cook faster because salt increases the temperature at which water boils. From a chemistry standpoint this is true. However, if you add 1 tablespoon of salt (way too much) to 5 quarts of water, you only increase the boiling point of water by 7/100th of 1 degree. Not enough to shorten cooking time.
Q: Whatever happened to cod liver oil?
A: Years ago parents gave their children cod liver oil to stave off rickets and night blindness caused by deficiencies in vitamins A and D. One tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 13,600 International Units (IU) of vitamin A and 1,360 IU of vitamin D. The upper limits are 10,000 IU for vitamin A and 4,000 IU for vitamin D. So, cod liver oil fell out of favor because of concerns about possible vitamin toxicity. Cod liver oil is making a resurgence, however, as a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is thought to have benefits for heart health.
Do you have food questions? Send them in and we'll do our best to answer them.
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