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Sweet Potato Lentil Stew!

>> Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In our neck of the woods, winter has come early!  Here's a recipe that will warm you up on a chilly night.  It needs no oil or added fats at all - the taste from this creative blend of spices is mouth watering all on its own!

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Pinch of fine sea salt (optional)
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4” cubes
  • 7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup brown or red lentils


1.  Heat two tablespoons of the broth over medium heat in a large, deep pot. 

2.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for two minutes or until the onion starts to soften. 

3.  Stir in the tomatoes and ginger and cook for three minutes. 

4.  Stir in the turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, and a small pinch of salt, if using. Cook and stir for two minutes, then taste for seasonings; try to use only enough salt to heighten the flavors.

5.  Add the sweet potatoes, broth, and lentils. Stir well, and bring to a boil over high heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils and sweet potatoes are soft.

Makes 6 servings. 

Per serving: (approximate)

  • calories: 190
  • fat: 0.3g 
  • protein: 10g
  • carbohydrates: 36g

Recipe adapted from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet  .  Thanks to my friend Susan for the inspiration!

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2012

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen


Type 2 Diabetes in Children

>> Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Along with the rise in obesity, so too are we witnessing a growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes in children.  I was recently interviewed along with my colleague Dr Bernie Zinman for an article in Today's Parent about type 2 diabetes in children - I thought I'd share it with you here.


Dr Sue Pedersen © 2012

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen


The Stigma of Obesity

>> Tuesday, October 16, 2012

With over 1.5 billion overweight adults worldwide (approximately one quarter of the entire world's population), it is somewhat surprising that overweight and obesity still carries a serious stigma along with it.  This stigma has its basis in a poor understanding of the complex nature of the causes and contributing factors that are responsible for obesity - it is so much more complex that just what we eat and how much we do or don't exercise.

In a position statement regarding the support of bariatric surgery as a treatment option for Type 2 Diabetes, the International Diabetes Federation Task Force writes:

There are widely held community attitudes that the majority of obese individuals are responsible for their current weight.  Severe obesity is too often misconstrued as a 'cosmetic' problem and as a result of personal failure or lack of motivation. 

However, this perspective ignores the very strong genetic and developmental bases to severe obesity compounded by physical, emotional and societal issues.  It also fails to consider the pervasive obesity promoting effects of modern societies (the 'obesigenic environment') where an abundant food supply, changes in food preparation, increasing sedentary behavior and other lifestyle factors mitigate against weight control for individuals.  Additionally, it ignores the emerging evidence that body weight is defended by powerful physiological mechanisms, making long term maintenance of weight loss difficult. 

In the context of treatment, negative societal attitudes have been a barrier to the provision of clinically effective, and cost-effective, health care for people with severe obesity and type 2 diabetes.  As noted earlier, obesity is a complex, multifactorial and chronic disorder with serious adverse consequences for health which requires a comprehensive approach to both prevention and treatment.  People affected by severe obesity often struggle not only with the health and physical consequences of their chronic condition, but discrimination at work, socially and within the health care system. 

In order to be able to successfully work together as a society to tackle the issue of obesity, these societal attitudes must be cast aside, such that this very serious health issue can be handled with open arms, minds, and hearts, by each and every one of us.

Dr. Sue © 2012

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Lower Vitamin D Increases Risk of Gestational Diabetes

>> Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Included the long list of possible actions of vitamin D in humans is the possibility that it has a role in the regulation of blood sugar.   A new study supports that this may be true in pregnant women, as it has shown that women who have lower levels of vitamin D in the first trimester of pregnancy have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes during that pregnancy.

At the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting in Berlin last week, lead author Dr Lacroix from Sherbrooke University in Quebec, Canada, presented the study.  They looked at vitamin D levels in 558 pregnant women in the first trimester of pregnancy who did NOT have diabetes in the first trimester, and then tested them for gestational diabetes (ie, diabetes that develops during pregnancy) in the second trimester (which is the standard time to test for gestational diabetes).

They found that lower vitamin D levels in the first trimester were associated with a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes, with 37% of gestational diabetic women having had a lower vitamin D in the first trimester, and only 26% of non-gestational diabetic women having had a lower vitamin D in the first trimester.   (Scientists: lower vitamin D was defined as less than 50 nmol/L; also note that this difference remained statistically significant after adjusting for potential confounding factors including age, BMI, and body fat percent).

The bottom line:  Vitamin D levels may be one of many factors to consider in minimizing the risk of developing gestational diabetes.  If you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, speak to your doctor about vitamin D.

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2012

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen


New Data on Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity Surgery

>> Tuesday, October 2, 2012

At the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting in Berlin today, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a session discussing the effects of obesity surgery on type 2 diabetes.  Whereas previous years of diabetes meetings have seen very sparse attendance at bariatric surgery talks, this session was absolutely packed. 

At this session, a number of fascinating studies were
presented.  Highlights included: (be warned - it's a very science-heavy blog this week!)

A study by S. Steven and colleagues (UK) looked at a group of 92
patients who had type 2 diabetes prior to having gastric bypass
surgery, with the aim of determining which factors were associated
with a greater chance of diabetes remission after surgery. One of
their findings was that the degree of weight loss achieved post op was
the main determinant of diabetes remission - controversial, as the
bulk of currently available evidence suggests that remission of
diabetes is independent of weight lost.

A study by Pournaras and colleagues found that a nifty removable liner placed
inside of the first 60cm of small intestine (called a duodenal-jejunal
bypass liner) improved type 2 diabetes control over a 1 year trial period.
This introduces the question as to whether, in the future, we can
consider less invasive alternatives to bariatric surgery (such as
these) to help control type 2 diabetes.

A couple of elegant studies out of Denmark (including colleagues Jens Juul Holst and Sten Madsbad who I collaborate with on research studies personally) and Sweden were presented, designed to give us a better understanding of just how obesity surgery improves type 2 diabetes (with a lot of arrows pointing to the increase in the hormone GLP-1 that is seen after surgery).

Finally, there was a neat study from Finland showing that the insulin resistance of fat in femoral bone marrow improves with bariatric surgery (I personally had not previously thought about bone marrow being insulin resistant!).  

Overall, a very exciting day, and a very exciting meeting!

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2012

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen



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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