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Jo-Anne M. Rizzotto, M.Ed, R.D., L.D.N., C.D.E.

Jo-Anne Rizzotto, MEd, RDN, LDN, CDCES, is Director of Educational Services at the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. She is a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator with over 25 years of clinical, research, management and industry experience and is a key member of the clinic leadership team. Jo-Anne is co-chair and an active member of the National Certification Board of Diabetes Educators Exam Board. Jo-Anne has a proven track record of managing many facets of quality assurance and improvement with documented outcomes including advancing the use of technologies in the clinic for the management of diabetes. Jo-Anne establishes, directs and manages all aspects of diabetes education programs including overall direction, content, design, delivery, budgeting and staff management. She ensures all programs and staff delivering education meet the highest quality standards and do so with the highest level of efficiency and effectiveness. Jo-Anne participates in and has been the co-principle investigator in numerous clinical research studies. Jo-Anne chairs and participates in a variety of high level selection committees, clinical guideline committees, publication review committees and academic promotion committees. She also chairs the quality committee with the General Counsel at the Joslin in addition to the Clinic policy and procedure committee.

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woman with jet lag in an airport Rosanova


I travel for work a lot, flying back and forth between different time zones. Are there any foods I should avoid or eat that will help me with jet lag?


Jet lag is a drag—you may feel irritable or suffer from insomnia, indigestion or general disorientation. It occurs when the body's inner clock is out of sync with environmental time cues, including meal times, sunrise and sunset, and daily cycles of rest and activity.

Although the effects of jet lag vary among travelers, almost everyone experiences some symptoms. Physical differences among travelers require varying strategies for jet lag management. Recommendations often emphasize plenty of sleep, proper nutrition and sometimes the use of medication.

Avoiding factors that contribute to jet lag may be the best defense. Because sleep-wake disturbance is the most widely felt jet lag symptom, being well rested before travel can help the body cope with the inevitable change in time zone. Therefore, it is helpful to avoid alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, which are associated with restless sleep.

A few tips that may protect you from jet lag:

  • Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Limit or eliminate alcoholic beverages and drinks containing caffeine (coffee, tea, cola), which can contribute to dehydration and cause restless sleep.
  • Don't eat everything that comes your way. Gases (including those in your digestive tract!) expand at high altitudes. You may need to loosen your belt a notch or two by the time you arrive.
  • For some people, eating a high-protein meal that is low in calories before travel helps prevent jet lag. For example, eating a light meal of baked or broiled chicken, with some steamed vegetables may be a better choice than a heavy pasta meal, which is high in carbohydrates.
  • Move around as much as possible during the flight. This improves circulation, moving nutrients and waste through the body and aiding elimination.
  • If you fly at night, try to get some sleep on the plane. Use the complimentary earplugs and blindfold. Purchase an inflatable travel pillow.
  • A short-acting sleeping pill may help you snooze on the plane and adjust to a new time zone at your destination. However, talk to your health care professional before you take sleeping pills, as some can have disagreeable side effects.
  • Talk to your health care professional about taking melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate the sleep cycle) to help prevent jet lag. Studies show that some people are able to prevent jet lag, or lessen its severity, by taking melatonin.
  • Switch to the local time as soon as you arrive. A cold shower or quick swim can give you an extra energy boost.
  • Consider a stopover along the way, or schedule a day to rest when you arrive.
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