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Deb's Oatmeal Fruit Bake

>> Saturday, November 26, 2011

From the kitchen of my best friend Deb comes a delectable low calorie treat!  A fantastic healthy baked treat choice for the holidays - super comfort food in the cold!

Preheat oven to 350 F.   Spray a standard loaf pan with non stick spray, and construct your oatmeal bake in three delightfully simple steps:

BOTTOM LAYER:  Simply spread a single layer of your favorite fruit or berries on the bottom (about 1.5 cups).  My personal favorite is raspberries (pictured in the loaf) as it gives a nice tart flavor; blueberry banana is pictured in the slices below.

MIDDLE LAYER:  Mix the following ingredients in a bowl, and then spread evenly on top of your fruit layer:
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup splenda

TOP LAYER: Mix the following ingredients in a bowl, and pour evenly over the middle layer.
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.  We suggest placing a cookie sheet covered in tin foil underneath the loaf pan, as Deb has noted that once in a while it has a tendency to expand over the top of the loaf pan.

TOPPING:  Deb's secret is to froth 1/8 cup of skim milk and spoon on top.  I enjoy sprinkling a bit of Splenda and cinnamon on top of the froth.  Delish!!

Makes 4 substantial servings, or 8 smaller snacks.

If you split it into 8 servings, per serving (with raspberries as fruit):
  • 100 calories
  • 6g protein
  • 17g carbs
Enjoy!   I also encourage you to share recipes and healthy cooking ideas with your friends - it's a great way to have fun and support each other in leading a healthy lifestyle - Deb and I have a blast doing this together!

I'd also be thrilled to hear about any modifications you come upon with this recipe, or others on my website (posted here).

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2011

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen 


Childhood Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk in Adulthood

>> Friday, November 18, 2011

It is well known that obesity in all age groups is associated with increased cardiovascular risk.  However, for people who struggle with obesity in childhood but become normal weight in adulthood, it has not been clear whether the risk factors accrued in childhood extends to an increased risk in adulthood. A new study suggests that for these people who achieve a normal body weight in adulthood following childhood obesity, several risk factors for cardiovascular disease are no longer elevated, and are similar to the cardiovascular risk factors of people who were never obese.

The study, published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, analyzed data from over 6,000 people in USA, Australia, and Finland, followed for an average of 23 years. They evaluated several cardiovascular risk factors, including cholesterol profiles, blood pressure, presence of diabetes, and thickness of the wall of the carotid artery (which is a marker for cardiovascular disease), and looked at how these risk factors varied depending on whether individuals were overweight or obese in childhood and/or adulthood.

They found that for people who were obese in childhood and adulthood, the risk of having each of these risk factors for heart disease was several fold higher than for people who were normal weight in childhood and in adulthood.

Importantly, they also found that for people who were obese in childhood but normal body weight in adulthood, their risk factors in adulthood were no different than for people who were never obese.

While the ideal management of childhood obesity is prevention on a societal level, the treatment of obesity in childhood is clearly crucial as well.  This study lends strong support to the importance of treating childhood obesity, as improving body weight towards a normal BMI reduces cardiovascular risk.

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2011

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Does Your Genetic Background Result In Your Diabetes or Weight Struggles being Unmodifiable?

>> Saturday, November 12, 2011

In my post last week, I discussed the large and important contribution of genetic background towards the tendency to develop type 2 diabetes or obesity.  Since that time, I've had a couple of people ask me whether there is any point to undertaking lifestyle intervention (ie changes in eating patters and/or activity) if their genetics have already dictated that they are going to have a lifelong struggle with these conditions. 

As I noted last week

While it is true that eating well and exercising are the cornerstones of the management of type 2 diabetes, and can certainly improve diabetes control, it is not possible for most people with diabetes to make it go away with these lifestyle changes.

This week I would like to bring the focus to the first part of this statement - ie, that lifestyle changes can certainly improve diabetes control, and improve obesity as well.  Just about everyone with type 2 diabetes or weight struggles can see some improvement with permanent lifestyle change.  How much improvement that is seen is going to depend on several factors, including: 

  • For those who struggle with their weight or eating patters: Have the root causes of that  struggle been addressed? (emotional eating, depression, medications causing weight gain, untreated sleep apnea.... the list of possibile contributors is long)
  • What is the degree of motivation to change? 
  • What permanent lifestyle interventions have been undertaken, and are they in line with the genetically determined tendencies and ethnic/cultural considerations of the patient? 
On the last two points - yes, it's true - our genetic makeup plays a part in determining which lifestyle changes will work best for us, and may even play a role in our levels of motivation to do so.  For example, studies have shown genetic differences in the natural tendency to exercise than others, so for some, exercise will play a greater part in the success of their permanent lifestyle changes than for others. As another example, each of us has our own unique balance point of hunger and satiety hormones, such that some of us need more food or a higher body weight to feel full than others.  For those people, medications that are directed towards modifying these hormone balances may be a great leap forward in helping them lose weight (such medications are available to treat type 2 diabetes, but not to treat obesity per se).  

Again on the line of genetics, it is important that practical goals are set, with regards to controlling type 2 diabetes or managing obesity with lifestyle changes.  For diabetics, there may be only a certain amount of glucose control that can be obtained by making lifestyle change - the pancreas gets tired over time (genetics and stress on the pancreas caused by overweight both play a role here), and for many, medications need to be started despite the very best efforts on the part of the patient. 

From a weight stance, the goals must be practical as well.  Remember that even a 5% body weight reduction (in those who are overweight or obese) decreases the risk of a whole host of complications associated with excess body weight. 

The key in maximizing lifestyle success is in finding the form, or forms, of permanent lifestyle change that work for you - the bulk of this blog is dedicated to just that, in an attempt to help provide you lots of different lifestyle options to try on your journey towards permanent lifestyle change.   And don't be afraid to ask your healthcare providers for help - remember, there is no shame. 

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2011

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There Should Be No Shame in Having Diabetes

>> Friday, November 4, 2011

I came across this excellent article online yesterday on, which discusses the stigma often associated with having diabetes.  The personal stories made me sad, then made me mad, and then I decided to take matters into my own hands and discuss this very important topic as this week's blog.

Mary's story is one that I hear from my patients on a regular basis - there is often a feeling of shame associated with having type 2 diabetes.   Because type 2 diabetes is often seen in association with overweight, there is a stigma upheld by many members of the general public that people who have diabetes are lazy, eat too much, don't exercise, and are not interested in their health.

What people need to realize, is that it is not the fault of the individual that they have diabetes.   There is a very strong genetic basis for developing diabetes (as blogged previously), and a very strong genetic basis for obesity as well (read more here), which we are learning more about every day as new genes involved are continuously being discovered.  Furthermore, there are many people out there with type 2 diabetes who are not overweight or obese - this speaks to the very strong genetic tendency towards developing diabetes in these individuals.   While it is true that eating well and exercising are the cornerstones of the management of type 2 diabetes, and can certainly improve diabetes control, it is not possible for most people with diabetes to make it go away with these lifestyle changes.

When I am discussing optimization of diabetes control with my patients, they often tell me that they feel embarrassed to check their blood sugars in public, or to administer medications or insulin in front of other people.  As a result, they may choose to forgo checking sugars or administering medications at times like lunch, when they are often out in public.   It breaks my heart each time I hear this - how can our society be so cruel and judgemental?

It's high time that our society gets a grip on what it actually means to have type 2 diabetes.  This disease has a strong genetic predisposition; our extremely toxic, fast food, sedentary enviroment is conducive to bringing it out in many people who are genetically prone.

People with diabetes who are seen checking blood sugars or administering insulin in public are showing committment and motivation to watch their numbers, and to do everything they can to optimize their glycemic control and their health - they deserve a HIGH FIVE! from all of us!

And a High Five to for writing this fabulous article - I hope their far reach will do well to get this message out to many.  Feel free to pass on this article as well, to everyone you know!

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2011

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I am excited that you have arrived at my site, and I hope you are too - consider this the first step towards a Healthier New You!! As a medical doctor, Endocrinologist, and obesity specialist, I am absolutely passionate about helping people with weight management. Though there is certainly no magic cure for obesity, there IS a successful treatment plan out there for you - it is all about understanding the elements that contribute to your personal weight struggle, and then finding the treatment plan that suits your needs and your lifestyle. The way to finding your personal solution is to learn as much as you can about obesity: how our toxic environment has shaped us into an overweight society; the diversity of contributors to obesity; and what the treatment options out there are really all about. Knowledge Is Power!!

Are you ready to change your life? Let's begin our journey together, towards a healthier, happier you!!

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