- 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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July 17, 2008
Catfish and tilapia: Healthy or harmful?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
There's an interesting discussion in this month's "Journal of the American Dietetic Association." What it boils down to is this: Is the fatty acid mix in catfish and tilapia healthy or harmful? The debate has even reached the popular press. Why all the fuss?
First off, since 2000, catfish and tilapia rank as two of the most popular fish consumed in the United States thanks mainly to their taste and relatively low expense. And both contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Consumption of these types of fatty acids is thought to be associated with reduction in blood pressure and reduced risk for certain cancers, inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and even mental decline.
You may not have heard so much about a second ingredient they contain, omega-6 fatty acids. Like omega-3s, these are polyunsaturated and help lower blood cholesterol levels, however they are thought to play a role in clotting function, are inflammatory and susceptible to oxidation — thereby possibly increasing risk for blood clots, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and cancers.
The National Institutes of Health funded study by Weaver and colleagues looked at the favorable omega-3 fatty acid content and unfavorable omega-6 contents of commonly eaten fish and found that while catfish and tilapia contain both, they contain a high amount of unfavorable omega-6 fat.
They report that a 3-ounce portion of catfish or tilapia contains 67 and 134 milligrams respectively of the bad fat (the same amount of 80 percent lean hamburger contains 34 milligrams, and bacon 191 milligrams).
Does this mean you should give them up? No! The rebuttal by Harris is in the same journal. He says the logic of judging fatty fish by the amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fat contents is flawed. Governmental and professional organizations haven't used such a ratio for years.
He also says that to think that eating catfish or tilapia — because of its high omega-6 content — is more risky in terms of heart disease than eating bacon or hamburger is "flawed."
My take? I'm going to continue to eat fish — at least twice weekly. I'm going to choose a variety of fatty fish — including tilapia and catfish along with others especially high in the good fats such as salmon, tuna and mackerel.
P.S. When you see this on the evening news you can say that you got the scoop here.blog index