- 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)
- Water softeners: How much sodium do they add?
- Fat grams: How to track your dietary fat
- Yerba mate: Is it safe to drink?
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Healthy diets (10)
- Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Detox diets: Do they work?
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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?
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Healthy menus and shopping strategies (8)
- Calories in sushi: What are the low-cal options?
- What is BPA? Should I be worried about it?
- Brominated vegetable oil: Why is BVO in my drink?
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Nutritional supplements (18)
- Ground flaxseed: Better than whole?
- Fiber supplements: Safe to take every day?
- Chocolate: Does it impair calcium absorption?
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Tap water or bottled water: Which is better?
Is tap water as safe as bottled water?
from Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.
Tap water and bottled water are generally comparable in terms of safety. So the choice of tap or bottled is mostly a matter of personal preference.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees bottled water, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water. However, they use similar standards for ensuring safety.
The EPA mandates that water utilities provide annual quality reports to customers. These customer confidence reports provide information such as source (river, lake, aquifer), contaminant levels and potential health effects. However, the EPA doesn't regulate private wells. So if your tap water comes from a private well you should test your water every year for contaminants, more frequently if needed.
The FDA has good manufacturing practices specifically for bottled water. They require bottled water producers to:
- Process, bottle, hold and transport bottled water under sanitary conditions
- Protect water sources from bacteria, chemicals and other contaminants
- Use quality control processes to ensure the bacteriological and chemical safety of the water
- Sample and test both source water and the final product for contaminants
It's important to note that some people are more vulnerable to getting sick from contaminants in drinking water. You may be in this group if you are undergoing chemotherapy, living with HIV/AIDS or have received a transplant. Pregnant women, the elderly and children also may be at greater risk. Talk with your doctor about whether you should take additional precautions, such as boiling tap water or drinking bottled water.Next question
Alkaline water: Better than plain water?
- FDA regulates the safety of bottled water beverages including flavored water and nutrient-added water beverages. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm046894.htm. Accessed Jan. 10, 2012.
- Water on tap: What you need to know. Environmental Protection Agency. http://water.epa.gov/drink/guide/. Accessed Jan. 10, 2012.
- Bottled water basics. http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/. Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed Jan. 10, 2012.
- Nelson JK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 10, 2012.