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What's In Store on

>> Thursday, December 27, 2012

A very happy holiday season to everyone!  Here is what you can look forward to in the lineup for upcoming 2013 posts:

Dangers of Energy Drinks:  Why are energy drinks dangerous?  Why is it bad to mix them with alcohol?  Is there a lethal dose of caffeine? (the answer is yes)

Does Obesity Surgery Change What Tastes Good?  Is a change in how we perceive and enjoy flavors one of the drivers of weight loss after bariatric surgery?

Born To Run!  Learn how humans were designed, and how this helps explain our society's battle against the bulge.

Sex Drive, Fertility, and Bariatric Surgery:  Could a more powerful female libido be one of the drivers that improves fertility after obesity surgery?

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2012 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen


Yuletide Munchies Power Snack!

>> Tuesday, December 18, 2012

There's something about the holiday season that gets many of us (myself included) craving that cinnamon-y, nutmeg-y taste.  Maybe it's the cozy feeling that is associated with these flavors, reminiscent of childhoods of gingerbread cookies and cold winter nights snuggled up by a fireplace.  Unfortunately, most places we find these delicious flavors are hard on our waistlines: Christmas cookies, candies, caffe lattes and the like.  Here's an idea for a delicious snack, laden with spice and flavor that packs a whopping 21 grams of protein, for just 175 calories!

OK.  First, I need you to open your mind to this.  It sounds like an unusual combo, but trust me, it tastes amazing!  I got the idea to combine these flavors from a cooking website where the spices are combined with peanut butter to make a spread.  I thought I'd take it a step further and convert the flavors into a super healthy, protein powered recipe!


  • 1/3 of a 500g container of no salt added cottage cheese (pictured).  'No salt added' is key - as far as I know, in Canada, only Safeway carries it
  • 1 tsp light peanut butter
  • 2 packets of Splenda
  • cinnamon to taste
  • nutmeg or allspice to taste
  • a few drops of vanilla extract 

1.  Mix.
2.  Eat!

This tasty combination makes a great part of breakfast - remember, it's so important to have lots of protein in the morning, as this helps to keep you filling fuller through the day.

The other option is to use a small blender or Magic Bullet to whip these ingredients together, and then freeze until semi-solid - tastes like a Christmas Cheesecake!


  • calories: 175
  • protein: 21 grams
  • fat: 5 grams
  • carbs: 9 grams

I bet this could be tasty with a little bit of pumpkin thrown in there too... if you try it, let me know how it goes!

Happy Holidays!!

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2012

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen


Caffeine in Diabetes - Friend or Foe?

>> Tuesday, December 11, 2012

While the temperature of caffeinated beverages may vary, there is no doubt that this debate is hot!   The question is: does caffeine contribute to elevated blood sugars in diabetes, or could caffeine consumption help to prevent diabetes?

The caffeine - diabetes debate has proven to be quite a complicated issue.  Studies looking at general populations have shown that higher regular consumption of coffee or tea is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.  However, short term laboratory studies have shown that caffeine decreases our sensitivity to insulin, causing blood sugars to climb, thereby suggesting that caffeine may increase the risk or severity of type 2 diabetes.   Throw into the mix the fact that many caffeinated beverages are sweetened with sugar, and throw also into the mix that we still don't have a clear picture of the effect of sweeteners on metabolism.  Now there's a muddied...muddled... venti triple shot.... decaf (or caf?).... something.

A recent study is the latest of many that has tried to clarify the relationship between caffeine and diabetes.    The study, by Bhupathiraju and colleagues, is impressive in its size - they examined data from over 100,000 people over the span of 25 years.  They reported the following:

1.  BOTH caffeinated coffee, AND decaffeinated coffee, was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in men and women:

  • for men, there was a 4% decreased risk for caffeinated coffee, and a 7% decreased risk for decaf coffee drinkers
  • for women, there was an 8% decreased risk for both caffeinated coffee and also 8% decreased risk for decaf coffee

2.  For females who drink caffeinated tea, there was a 5% decreased risk of diabetes.  There was no effect for decaf tea, and no effect for any kind of tea for men.

3.  Sugar sweetened beverage consumption was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, but the risk depending on whether or not they were caffeinated was different between men and women.

  • For women, the risk of diabetes was 13% higher for caffeinated sugary beverages, but only 11% higher for decaffeinated sugary beverages. 

  • For men, it was opposite:  the risk of diabetes was 16% higher for caffeinated sugary beverages, and 23% higher for decaf sugary drinks. 

4.  Replacing caffeinated, carbonated beverages with coffee or tea was associated with a lower risk of diabetes.

5.  Replacing decaf carbonated beverages with decaf coffee was associated with a lower risk of diabetes.

6.  In women, artificially sweetened, non caffeinated beverages were associated with a 6% higher risk of diabetes.

Confused?!  Yeah, me too.  One thing that is clear from this study is that consumption of sugar containing drinks increases the risk of diabetes.  It may be that drinking coffee or tea instead of sugary beverages is what decreases the risk of diabetes.  The data from this study also brings into question whether sweeteners are best avoided - though the authors note that they had no way of knowing what type or amount of sweeteners were used.  Or could there be something else in carbonated/sweetened beverages that is problematic? We don't know.

So the Bottom Line is: Avoid sugary drinks.  As for the relationship between caffeine itself and blood sugars - we still don't know.

It just struck me - is it ironic that I am sitting in Starbucks writing this blog?
I'm sure you're eager to know...... in my hand is a grande.... decaf... Americano.  :)

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2012

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen


Healthy Holiday Dessert (or Salad!): Baked Pears with Walnuts and Cranberries!

>> Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy December!  'Tis the season for fun and festivities, hosting and being hosted at gatherings with wonderful family and friends.  Enjoying meals together is a natural part of these events, and you may be wondering how you can choose a dessert you've been asked to bring to next weekend's potluck without hampering you or your friends' dedication to the permanent lifestyle changes that have been made over the last year.

I see two options here:

1) Practice portion control (ie make whatever you want, but portion it into small servings - this should be the back up plan any time you are served food that may not be the healthiest; or

2) Choose to make a healthier dessert.

I polled my facebook friends for a new dessert idea, and the prize goes to my friend Carol, for finding this recipe on on their Low Fat Cooking page (there's lots of great ideas here!).  I like that this recipe contains walnuts, which are rich in essential amino acids and omega 3 fatty acids (one of the healthier fats).  Cranberries have some putative health benefits including possible antioxidant capacity, and, well.... they just plain taste good!  Remember that walnuts and dried cranberries are both high in calories, so the key is moderation.


  • 3 ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice OR cranberry juice OR apple cider
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.  Place quartered pears in a baking dish.  Drizzle juice or cider over the pears, and sprinkle the walnuts on top.
3.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until pears or tender.
4.  Serve in a smal bowl with the juices

Makes 4 servings.  PER SERVING:

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbs: 34g
  • Protein: 2g

To top this off, you could add 2 tbsp of Cool Whip lite to each serving, for an extra 20 calories (and 3g of carbs).

Here's the really cool thing about this recipe - it can double as a salad!  Throw the pears on top of a bed of arugula, and voila!


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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