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What's on Your Breath - And What Could It Mean For Your Weight?

>> Friday, March 29, 2013






It is increasingly recognized that the bacteria that grow in our guts (and yes, they are in there - around a kilogram of them in each of us!) have an impact on our overall metabolism and risk of obesity.  A new study shows that the type of gases in your breath (reflecting the type of bacteria you have in your gut) are associated with body weight.

The study looked at nearly 800 individuals, and classified them according to whether they had high levels of methane, hydrogen, both, or neither on breath testing.  They found that those who had higher methane and hydrogen on their breath had higher body mass index, and higher body fat percent, than the other groups.

The authors hypothesize that the high methane, high hydrogen breath is due to colonization with a bacteria called M smithii, a bacteria that may make food calories more available for absorption from our intestines.

Another lesson that it is so much more than calories in/calories out that factors in to our body weight.

Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen








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Baked Kale Chips!

>> Monday, March 25, 2013





I've been meaning to get into the world of kale for a while now.... is anyone else out there a little intimidated by this vegetable, for lack of knowing what the heck to do with it?  I definitely fall into this category.

Here is my first foray into cooking kale - I heard quite a while ago that you can make great tasting, crispy chips out of kale, to satisfy that crunch craving in place of less healthy choices like potato chips.

It's so easy - I should have tried it long ago!  At just 33 calories per cup of kale, it is a Free Veg - provided you go easy on the olive oil cooking spray.

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch of kale
olive oil cooking spray
garlic powder
pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Preheat oven to 350F (175 C).

2.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil.

3.  Remove the kale leaves from the tough stem strip in the middle.  Throw away the stem strip.  Cut the leaves into bite sized pieces.

4.  Arrange the kale leaf pieces on the baking sheet, and spray lightly with olive oil spray.    Bake until the edges are slightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.


Note: I tried storing my leftovers in a Tupperware container.  Maybe this is obvious to everyone but me but - don't do this.  They get soggy!  This recipe is for enjoying right after it's cooked. :)


Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen


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Quinoa Pizza Bites!

>> Friday, March 22, 2013






It's hard to sort out which of the latest and greatest 'it' foods are actually good for us - but quinoa is definitely one of them.   One of the benefits of quinoa is that it serves as the carbohydrate in your meal, but it also contains some protein.  Protein helps you to feel full, is important for building of muscle and all other protein containing tissues, and it requires about 20% more calories for your body to break it down (compared to carbs or fat eaten).  Quinoa also contains some fiber, which helps you to feel full; and, it has a low glycemic index. Quinoa is also gluten free, making it a great choice for people who have Celiac disease.

Here is a great way to enjoy quinoa - trick your tastebuds into thinking that you are eating pizza, at a fraction of the calories and with a much greater nutritional punch!  I have modified this recipe to use two egg whites instead of an egg, and I have replaced the fat free mozza cheese with low fat, as fat free can be hard to find.  I have recalculated the nutritional info (below) based on these changes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch of salt
  • pasta or pizza sauce for dipping


DIRECTIONS:

1.  Cook quinoa as per package directions (exact cooking instructions vary depending on the type or brand of quinoa).

2.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl, except for the pasta/pizza sauce.

3.  Lightly spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.  Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture into each muffin tin.

4.  Bake for 15-20 minuts and let cool.



NUTRITIONAL INFO - note that this does NOT include the tomato/pizza sauce, as it totally depends which kind you choose.  I like Prego pasta sauce personally!

Makes 2 servings, with about 6 Pizza Bites per serving.

PER SERVING: approximately 290 cal, 32g carb, 19g protein, 9g fat


Thanks to my bestie Deb for pointing out this recipe!

Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen


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Calculate Your Salt Intake!

>> Wednesday, March 20, 2013







Ever wonder how much sugar you take in in a day?  Check out this great new online sodium calculator - you may be shocked by your results!

The calculator was developed by researchers from the University of Toronto, in collaboration with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.  It takes about 3 minutes to calculate your salt intake using this fantastic tool.  A series of questions are asked about how often you eat out, eat canned foods, processed foods, etc, and based on this information, it estimates your average daily sodium intake.

I was surprised by my own results - apparently I consume an average of 2800mg of sodium daily, exceeding the recommended maximum of 2300 mg per day.  I learned that a whopping 35% of my daily intake comes from eating out, even though it's only 1-2 times per week for lunch and 1-2 times per week for dinner.  One quarter of my salt intake comes from dips and sauces (here I enjoy soy sauce, ketchup or salsa about once a day).  Looks like I've got some work to do!

Have a go at this yourself - please share your results and thoughts using the comments link at the bottom of this post!

Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen

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Baseline Body Weight Does Not Predict Success of Bariatric Surgery

>> Monday, March 18, 2013






Currently, the critieria for who qualifies for bariatric surgery typically includes a body mass index (BMI) criterion - ie, a patient has to be at a certain body weight relative to their height to qualify for surgery.

A review of data to date on the landmark SOS trial was just published by L. Sj√∂strom, which I encourage anyone interested in this field to read.  They have now followed SOS study patients for 20 years - though it's noted that many patients have dropped out of the study follow up along the way, so we do have to take the results with a large grain of salt.

While there are many results in this study that are very worthy of discussing, what I wanted to point out today is that the SOS study showed a benefit of obesity surgery to decrease the risk of death, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, as well as a decreased risk of cancer in women. What is even more interesting is that the baseline BMI did NOT predict the effect of surgery on any of these endpoints.  (For those who download the article - see figure 7).  Interestingly, higher baseline insulin levels did predict favorable outcomes with regards to bariatric surgery decreasing the risk of death, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes (but not cancer).

This data therefore lends further evidence to the fact that BMI criteria should not be a fixed and fast rule for who qualifies for obesity surgery and who doesn't; looking at the whole patient and their metabolic profile (as always) is important!

Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen






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Complications Of Obesity - New Textbook

>> Wednesday, March 13, 2013




For a new online textbook entitled Complications of Obesity (editors Wieland Kiess and Arya Sharma), published in Best Practice & Research, Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, I was asked to contribute a chapter about the metabolic complications of obesity.   In this chapter, I focus on diabetes, prediabetes, gestational diabetes, the metabolic syndrome, and polycystic ovary syndrome.

The textbook as a whole covers topics written by colleagues from around the world about the societal impact of obesity (including weight discrimination and bullying), complications of obesity ranging from sleep apnea to cancer to mental health impact, with a third section focussing on management of obesity.   We sincerely hope that this is a collection of information that will be useful to the public and the health care profession!


Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen

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Burn and Earn - What Happens To The Freshman 15?

>> Monday, March 11, 2013






In follow up to last week's post about whether we should be paid to move (and if so, how), a new study just looked at what happens when first year college students get paid to go to the gym.

This American study randomly assigned 117 first year college students to receive pay for going to the gym, vs not receiving pay for their efforts.  Weekly pay for the paid group ranged between $10 to $38.75 USD, with higher pay each week if they were consistent in their attendance.

After 3 months, they found that 63% of students in the paid group met their attendance goals at the gym, with only 13% of students who were not getting paid meeting those goals.  However, weight increased in both groups, with no difference in the amount of weight gained in each group.  Both groups gained about 1kg (just over 2 lb) during the three months of the study, which is a typical rate of weight gain during the the first year in college (contrary to the popular belief of the Freshman 15,  the average university student gains only a few pounds in the first year).

So what does this teach us?  Well, besides showing that cash is a strong incentive (money talks!), it is worthwhile to consider why both groups gained weight, and the same amount of weight at that.  The study didn't monitor what type of exercise was done at the gym - they just had to be there for 30 minutes.   So if a person goes to the gym and stretches for 30 minutes, there won't be much calorie burn.  Secondly, while exercise is important for overall health and weight maintenance, weight management is 90% about the food intake, and 10% about the exercise.  So if a student walked for 30 minutes on a treadmill (burning about 150 calories), and picked up a Kit Kat from the vending machine at the front door (about 260 calories), the balance is still in favor of weight gain.

There are some interesting online/app sites that use cash incentives to help motivate gym attendance, where you pay if you don't meet your gym attendance goals, and you get paid if you do (the amount of money paid by those who don't attend is divvied up to those who do).  If any of my readers has tried this, I would love to hear your feedback!

Thanks to the Canadian Obesity Network and the Obesity + Alert system for the heads' up on this study!

Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen










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Should We Be Paid To Move?

>> Thursday, March 7, 2013








There's been a lot of discussion as to how our society can be changed to encourage more active living, and a recent review focuses on various ways to encourage active living that result in either financial savings, or even pay the person, to follow the more active plan.


I'd like to poll my readers about some strategies that have been looked at in research trials (as discussed in this review) - please comment on this blog post at the bottom to tell me what you think would work or what wouldn't:


1.  Would you cycle to work more often if you were paid, let's say, $5 per day by your employer, to do it?

2.  If public transport was subsizided, would you use it more often? (you'd be walking to and from public transport locations, thereby increasing exercise)

3.  If a $2 toll booth was installed on the road between your home and work, would you opt for a bicycle, the bus, or walking instead? This was done in Stockholm, Sweden, and resulted in 25% less car journeys.

4.  What if you were paid not to use a car park? In California, this resulted in a whopping 39% increase in active communting.

5.  If bicycles were free in your city, would you use them more often?  This is true in some cities, including the city I love and once called home, Copenhagen, Denmark (pictured above) - check out the CityBike system!


At the end of the day, we need to change our society to promote a more active lifestyle - the question is how to do it.....


Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen








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Roasted Cabbage Wedges

>> Monday, March 4, 2013






Here's a great idea for a side veggie dish, right from the kitchens of Martha Stewart!  I have cut back the oil in this recipe -  Martha's 3 tablespoons isn't necessary.  In fact, many recipes out there call for much more oil than is actually needed to give flavor and texture.  Olive oil contains healthy fats, yes - but remember that one tablespoon of any kind of oil contains about 135 calories.  Thus, for a typical middle aged woman who doesn't exercise and is trying to lose weight, who needs to limit intake to about 1200 calories per day in order to lose about a pound a week, one tablespoon of oil is more than 10% of the day's calorie total - and you haven't eaten anything yet. (You can calculate your calorie requirements to maintain or lose weight in the right hand column here).


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium head of green cabbage, cut into 1 inch thick rounds
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste (minimum salt if you have high blood pressure)
  • 1 tsp caraway or fennel seeds

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with non stick spray.  Place cabbage round slices in a single layer on the sheet, and brush with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.  Season with caraway or fennel seeds and pepper/salt.  Roast until cabbage is tender and edges are golden, about 40-45 minutes. 

Makes 5 servings. 

PER SERVING:  about 65 calories, 10g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 2g fat


Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen





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New Bariatric Page on DrSue.ca !

>> Friday, March 1, 2013



As my regular readers know, since the inception of www.drsue.ca four years ago, I have posted a number of articles about bariatric surgery.  It's become a bit cumbersome to find these articles these days, as they have gotten somewhat buried in the website (though any topic is searchable by using the box near the top right of the main page).  I decided to fix this problem by dedicating a whole section of my blog to this topic.  At the top of drsue.ca , simply click on the tab titled BARIATRICS , and you will find all of my writings about bariatric surgery here.

Enjoy!

Dr Sue Pedersen www.drsue.ca © 2013 

Follow me on Twitter for daily tips! @drsuepedersen

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A HEARTFELT WELCOME!

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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