- 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 6, 2012
What's behind the buzz about coconut water?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Coconut water, in case you haven't heard, is the new "it" beverage. Sales are skyrocketing. It's promoted as "super hydrating" and marketed as both a sports drink and a casual beverage. Personally, I find the name a bit confusing. Just what is coconut water? I looked into it and here's what I came up with.
Is it water or juice?
Coconut water is not water with coconut flavor added. It's the fluid inside the coconut, not to be confused with coconut milk, which is an emulsion of coconut water and fresh grated coconut. So coconut water is a type of juice.
Compared to other juices, coconut water has similar or fewer carbohydrates and calories in an 8-ounce serving. However, coconut water has more potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium than most juices.
Is it a sports drink?
The answer is probably no, at least for vigorous exercise — when you're working hard and really sweating for longer than an hour. In that case, coconut water falls short in terms of carbohydrates and protein, according to sports nutrition standards. Both are essential to recovery and replenishing your muscles.
Is it a good casual beverage?
Possibly. Here are a few things to consider. Do you need the 45-60 calories an 8-ounce serving of coconut water provides? If these calories put you over your daily calorie needs, you could easily gain 5-6 pounds in a year. If you aren't active enough to fend off the pounds, plain water might be a better bet.
One of coconut water's claims to fame is its high potassium. Americans usually fall short of their daily requirement of potassium, mainly because they don't eat enough fruits and veggies. However, coconut water also contains sodium. Just how much depends on the brand. That might be a concern if you, like most Americans, already have too much sodium in your diet.
If you've tried coconut water, what do you think? Did you feel super hydrated and replenished, as fans claim? Will you continue to drink it?
To your health,
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