- 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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Sept. 14, 2011
Defining 'gluten-free' — Is it all or nothing?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
In August the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reopened the comment period for the proposed rule on the term gluten-free on food labels. This extension is your last chance to comment before the rule is adopted.
The FDA proposes to allow use of the term gluten-free for foods that do not contain any of the following:
- An ingredient that is a species of wheat, rye, barley or a crossbred hybrid of these grains
- An ingredient derived from these grains that has not been processed to remove gluten
- A processed ingredient derived from these grains that adds 20 parts per million (ppm) or more of gluten
- Any food containing 20 ppm or more of gluten
It may seem contradictory for the agency to say that a food that contains gluten — even less than 20 ppm — is gluten-free. However, analytical methods are not available that can reliably detect lower levels of gluten.
In addition, this level was vetted by an expert panel that examined existing research to determine a "safe" level — the point at which no or few adverse effects occur. It's also important to note that 27 other countries currently use this level. Finally, the FDA has said that it's open to revising the standard in future if more sensitive methods are developed for determining gluten levels.
Some people might be tempted to discount the proposed rule because they feel no amount of gluten is acceptable in a food labeled as gluten-free. However, not adopting some set of criteria means that people with celiac disease will remain in the dark when trying to interpret food labels. Claims such as "made on equipment that shares processing with wheat" or ingredient names such as "wheat starch flour" are confusing and don't provide meaningful guidance.
For those with celiac disease it is critical to have foods with the lowest possible amount of the offending grain — preferably none. Defining gluten-free in a realistic and enforceable way is a good first step.
What are your thoughts? Share them with FDA now — the link appears in the reference list.
- Jenniferblog index
- Questions and answers regarding gluten-free labeling of foods. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuidanceRegulatoryInformation/Topic-SpecificLabelingInformation/ucm265309.htm. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.
- Health hazard assessment for gluten exposure in individuals with celiac disease: Determination of tolerable daily intake levels and levels of concern for gluten. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/ScienceResearch/ResearchAreas/RiskAssessmentSafetyAssessment/UCM264152.pdf. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.
- Topic specific labeling information: Submit comment on gluten-free. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuidanceRegulatoryInformation/Topic-SpecificLabelingInformation/default.htm#gluten. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.