- 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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May 23, 2012
Celiac disease: Building awareness and support
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Approximately 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease. Yet 95 percent of those with the disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Efforts are underway to increase public awareness about celiac disease, such as designating May as Celiac Awareness month.
Celiac disease damages the small intestine, causing pain and diarrhea, and interferes with absorption of nutrients. This leads to nutrition-related conditions including weight loss, and nutrient deficiencies that deprive your brain, nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of vital nourishment. There is no cure — the only treatment is avoiding gluten.
Joseph Murray, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease, has looked at incidence of the disease and mortality between the 1950s and now.
According to his study, published in the journal "Gastroenterology," the incidence of celiac disease is 4.5 times higher today. The study also found that individuals who weren't aware that they had celiac disease were nearly four times more likely than people without celiac disease to have died during the 45 years of follow-up.
Awareness is important for people with celiac disease and for their families. Awareness is also important for health care professionals. We must accurately diagnose and provide comprehensive education to prevent and manage the nutritional consequences this disease can wreak if gluten is not strictly avoided.
Awareness is critical for everyone involved in our food supply to recognize the need and to provide nutritious, gluten-free products. And regulatory assistance is needed from our government to ensure that labels are accurate and ingredients are truly gluten-free. Unfortunately people with celiac disease and their families have been waiting since 2007 for the Food and Drug Administration to finalize standards for gluten-free foods.
If you're reading this, consider yourself aware. However, awareness isn't enough.
Here are three simple steps you can take to fight celiac disease and support the gluten-free movement:
- If you suspect you have celiac disease, do not start a gluten-free diet without your physician's approval. This can complicate the diagnosis. Spread the word about this too.
- If you know someone with celiac disease, ask them about their challenges. Better yet — ask what you can do to help. Offer to cook a gluten-free meal.
- Ask your local grocery store and favorite restaurants what gluten-free foods they have. Demand can increase supply.
What are you going to do?
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