- 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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Nov. 9, 2011
Sweet tooth linked to sweet disposition?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Food is intertwined in so many aspects of our lives — nourishment, comfort and social connections. We even use attributes of food to express our feelings or describe someone's personality or behavior.
"Honey" is a term of endearment. Someone who is nice and caring is thought of as "sweet," while someone who is disagreeable might be described as "sour" or "bitter."
Why do we use taste to describe people? Is it because food is so much a part of our lives that it spills over into other areas of our lives? Or is there more to it?
Sweet taste is considered to be universally palatable. Breast milk is said to have a sweet taste. And sweet foods are generally perceived as pleasurable and even comforting.
From our earliest days, consumption of sweet foods in the presence of family creates a positive association. In fact, this is one of the theories presented in a paper in the "Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" describing how sweet taste preferences predict personality and behavior.
Other findings from this research include:
- People who appear to like sweet foods are perceived by others as being agreeable and pleasant.
- Pleasant people do indeed have a stronger preference for sweet foods than less pleasant people do.
- Those with sweet taste preferences tend to be more likely to help others.
So it appears that your sweet tooth supports your sweet disposition. Savor the sweetness. Be sure to throw physical activity, portion control and a balanced diet into the mix as well.
To health and happiness,
- Meier BP, et al. Sweet taste preferences and experiences predict prosocial inferences, personalities, and behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2011. In press.