- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor for food and nutrition, 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."
Nelson, a St. Paul, Minn., native, is a registered dietitian and has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978. She is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 70 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook" and the New York Times best-seller "The Mayo Clinic Diet."
She's been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books and publications, including "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book," "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook" and the "Mayo Clinic Health Letter." She contributes to the strategic direction of nutrition, healthy eating and healthy recipes content, including creating recipes and menus, preparing and reviewing nutrition content, contributing to the Nutrition-wise blog, and answering nutrition questions.
Nutrition basics (31)
- Phenylalanine in diet soda: Is it harmful?
- Diet soda: Is it bad for you?
- Stevia: Can it help with weight control?
- see all in Nutrition basics
Healthy diets (10)
- Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Detox diets: Do they work?
- see all in Healthy diets
Healthy cooking (7)
- When the heat is on, which oil should you use?
- Moldy cheese: Is it OK to eat?
- Food poisoning: How long can you safely keep leftovers?
- see all in Healthy cooking
Healthy menus and shopping strategies (8)
- Calories in sushi: What are the low-cal options?
- White whole-wheat bread: Is it nutritious?
- Sodium nitrate in meat: Heart disease risk factor?
- see all in Healthy menus and shopping strategies
Nutritional supplements (18)
- What is wheatgrass — And why is it in my drink?
- Do the benefits of vitamin C include improved mood?
- Prenatal vitamins: OK for women who aren't pregnant?
- see all in Nutritional supplements
High-fructose corn syrup: Any health concerns?
What is high-fructose corn syrup? What are the health concerns?
from Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.
High-fructose corn syrup is a common sweetener in sodas and fruit-flavored drinks. As use of high-fructose corn syrup has increased, so have levels of obesity and related health problems, leading some to wonder if there's a connection.
Research has shown that high-fructose corn syrup is chemically similar to table sugar. Controversy exists, however, about whether or not the body handles high-fructose corn syrup differently than table sugar.
At this time, there's insufficient evidence to say that high-fructose corn syrup is any less healthy than other types of sweeteners. We do know, however, that too much added sugar — not just high-fructose corn syrup — can contribute unwanted calories that are linked to health problems, such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high triglyceride levels. All of these boost your risk of heart disease.
The American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than 100 calories a day from added sugar from any source, and that most men get no more than 150 calories a day from added sugar. That's about 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
If you're concerned about your health, the smart play is to cut back on added sugar, regardless of the type.Next question
What are functional foods?
- Whitney E, et al. Understanding Nutrition. 11th ed. Belmont, Calif.: Thomson Higher Education; 2008.
- Duyff RL. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 4th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons; 2012:55.
- Johnson RK, et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;120:1011.
- Liu S, et al. Dietary carbohydrates. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed July 27, 2012.
- Moeller S, et al. The effects of high fructose syrup. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2009;28:619.
- Nelson JK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Rochester, Minn. July 27, 2012.
- Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Use of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2012;112:739.
- Rizkalla SW. Health implications of fructose consumption: A review of recent data. Nutrition & Metabolism. 2010;7:82.
- MyPhuong TL, et al. Effects of high-fructose corn syrup and sucrose on the pharmacokinetics of fructose and acute metabolic and hemodynamic responses in healthy subjects. Metabolism. 2012;61:641.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed July 26, 2012.
- Byerley LO, et al. Are ethanol and fructose similar? Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110:1300.
- Lustig RH. Fructose: Metabolic, hedonic, and societal parallels with ethanol. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2010;110:1307.