cristina-sutter-logo
Image not available

Cristina Sutter will tell you how to eat to get the results you want. Cristina makes eating right a simple, fun and rewarding journey.

Need Answers?

Image not available

• Vancouver Canucks, 11 years
• Strength And Conditioning Coach
• University of Waterloo

-Roger Takahashi

Image not available Image not available

"She was instrumental in setting up our nutrition information for our off-season manual. Great results. An expert in her field."

Image not available

• Paralympic Athlete
• Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame
• Registered Dietitian

-Jennifer Krempien

Image not available Image not available

"Cristina was creative in modifying performance nutrition strategies (for our athletes') daily training environment and competition."

Image not available

• Program Director
• Regional Technical Coach
• Interim Provincial Coach

-Mike Flegel

Image not available Image not available

"Cristina does an exceptional job of providing information on how to fuel the body to enhance recovery and maximize performance."

Image not available

• Simon Fraser Aquatics AAA BC Swimmer

-Patty and Miranda Andersen

Image not available Image not available

“You have a wonderful demeanor with kids - a true teacher. Miranda was very pleased with the consultation (as was Mom)."

Image not available

• National Heavyweight Rower
• Varsity Rowing at UBC
• Varsity Rowing at Queens University

-Nathalie Maurer

Image not available Image not available

“I just weighed myself this morning and I am down 15lbs... it has been an amazing transformation for me."

Agave Syrup: Natural Sweetener Raises Risk of Heart Disease and Diabetes

Is sugar by another name, still sugar?  New natural sweeteners are hitting the shelves, each claiming to have health benefits, but are they really better than regular sugar?  Agave syrup is the latest in a long line of natural sweeteners like brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, honey, and stevia that would have us believe that they are good for us.

agavesyrupAgave Syrup comes from the agave cactus, the same plant that makes tequila.  This sweet nectar has a low glycemic index, so it doesn't spike your blood sugar, making it diabetic friendly.  But agave syrup is very high in fructose, much more so that even high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  You probably already know that HFCS is the cheap sweetener added to processed foods like pop, bars and junk cereals and it is thought to be responsible for the rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes.  What?  Yes you heard right, fructose is the key ingredient in HFCS that is implicated in disease and agave syrup is loaded with it.  

Sweeteners with high fructose content like Agave Syrup, HFCS and fruit juice concentrate raise our cholesterol more than regular sugar and may even build up insulin resistance, a stepping stone on the path towards type 2 diabetes. These high fructose sweeteners do not signal normal fullness through the hormones insulin and leptin, which can lead to overeating and eventually packing on more pounds.  To add insult to injury, they store the extra fat near your vital organs, instead of under the skin, and this internal or “visceral fat” puts us at higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.  This is why having large amounts of sugars that are high in fructose, like agave and high-fructose corn syrup can be so harmful.

Sweeteners low in fructose like honey, coconut sugar and brown rice syrup may be better choices.  Honey is less processed than table sugar and it does have vitamin C, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components.  Beware, honey does have more calories than table sugar and it is way sweeter, so a little goes a long way.  Coconut sugar also has some vitamins and minerals, like phosphorus, calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin C and B and has small amounts of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Looking next at brown rice syrup, it is also less refined than table sugar so it has some fiber. While honey, coconut sugar and brown rice syrup may have some nutrients that sugar doesn't, they still add extra Calories that most of us cannot afford. 

Stevia is a natural sweetener that has zero calories and does not cause a spike in your blood glucose. This makes it attractive for people with diabetes and those of us watching our weight.  However, since it is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, it trains your taste buds to crave sweet foods.  And a word of caution: It was only approved by Health Canada to be added to some foods in November 2012, so we do not know all of its long-term health effects yet.

At the end of the day, keep in mind that sugar is addictive and most of us have too much of it.  If you find yourself snacking on sweet yogurt, granola bars and muffins, you are probably hooked.  The more you have, the more you want.  Try to limit added sugars and sweeteners and retrain your tastebuds, so that your body can recognize the natural sweetness in foods. Although some natural sweeteners may have a few extra vitamins, all sugars and sweeteners should be consumed in moderation. Watch out for added sugars disguised under different names on an ingredient list such as corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, glucose-fructose, invert sugar, malt, rice syrup, sucrose etc.   Sweetened foods are usually high in Calories, low in nutrients and if they replace healthy meals and snacks, we end up missing important foods that we need to stay healthy.  

To Gel or Not to Gel for Your Run?

...that is the question

gel-fullSo you’re training for your first half marathon and you’re going to need some fuel on your long runs. Gone are the days of just grabbing a swig of Gatorade at the rest stops. Now there are gels, gummies and bars alongside the sport drinks. What’s a runner to choose?

If you are running for over an hour, you will need to eat, drink or suck fuel in the form of carbohydrate starting at the 45minute mark. Eat too early and your body starts burning more sugar instead of fat, eat too late and your legs turn to spaghetti as your blood sugar drops, otherwise known as “hitting the wall”.

Try to consume about 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour, starting at the 45minute mark. Of course, goes without saying, we need to drink early and drink regularly, about ½-1 cup of water every 15-20minutes on our runs, to stay hydrated. Drink too little, or too late and your run will end abruptly with a muscle cramp or side stitch.

Gels, bars, gummies and sport drinks are all specially formulated for endurance sport, using an easily digestible form of carbohydrate. When we are running, our blood goes to our muscles leaving our digestive system on standby. Some stomachs are more sensitive than others, but this is not the time to try to digest a candy bar, slurpee or a pack of Skittles.  Regrettably, if you have tried this your run would have ended abruptly in a bathroom stall.

When we take a gel, bar or gummies, we must drink our water with it or we may need an urgent bathroom stop too... more on “runners trots” another day. Sport drinks are an easy solution since they cover our exact need for fluid and fuel together.

To be sure, it takes lots of trial and error to test our perfect fuel and fluid combination for those long runs. Fortunately, training for the long Sunday morning runs is quite the best part of running I think. Happy running.

FODMAP Diet Provides Relief for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

FODMAP Diet Treats IBS

bowelDo you suffer from frequent stomach cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea or sometimes constipation?  

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, is a common digestive disorder that causes these uncomfortable symptoms.  We don’t know what causes this functional disorder; there is no sign of any abnormality in the bowel of people with IBS, they just have a hypersensitive gut.  Until recently, the treatment for IBS has been a lot of sensible, albeit somewhat vague, lifestyle and diet recommendations with more than a fair bit of trial and error to figure out what foods are not well tolerated.   

A study of the low FODMAP diet published in The Journal of Gastroenterology last month, provided strong evidence that 70% of people with IBS felt better on the low FODMAP diet, compared with a typical Western diet.  The study proved that the FODMAP diet reduced digestive symptoms by 50% in people living with IBS.

Of course, the general lifestyle recommendations for IBS are still important: stress, alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, greasy foods, chocolate and fizzy drinks are all triggers for a sensitive gut.  Also, you may need to focus on foods with soluble or insoluble fibre, depending on whether you tend to have IBS with diarrhea or constipation.  Once you’ve figured out these basics and you want to go the extra mile to get significant relief, you can try the FODMAP diet for IBS, which takes the guesswork out of finding the “safe” and “offending” foods.

FODMAP stands for the names of five fermentable sugars that are poorly absorbed by people with IBS, causing abdominal pain, gas, bloating and diarrhea.  Foods high in FODMAP include certain fruits and vegetables, rye, wheat, dairy, legumes, fructose and sugar alcohols. The FODMAP diet explains the somewhat arbitrary nature of IBS food sensitivities, such as why bananas and oranges are fine, but apples and cherries wreak havoc on the IBS gut.  The idea is that you only eat foods that are low in FODMAP and must avoid the foods that contain these fermentable sugars and the result is: symptom relief within a matter of weeks.

Unfortunately, this diet is not simple and not necessarily nutritious because many ‘forbidden’ high FODMAP foods happen to be common, healthy foods like apples for example.  For these reasons, it is important to work with a dietitian when starting the FODMAP diet, you will appreciate a diet coach to make your diet nutritious and keep you motivated.

Book an Appointment with Cristina today

Want to book an appointment with Cristina immediately? Click here, or call 604-558-1250 during business hours. 8AM - 6PM, Monday - Friday (Closed for lunch from 12-1)
Full Name(*)
Please type your full name.

E-mail(*)
Invalid email address.

Phone Number(*)
Invalid Input

How may I help you?
Invalid Input

How should I contact you?(*)

Latest News

  • Vancouver Sun article: Tips to Avoid the Discomforts of Running

    Discomforts of running include stitch and urgent bathroom stops.In this week's Vancouver Sun article, I give readers tips to ensure a happy gut while running. SunRun training now well underway, you may have experienced the aches and pains of a stitch or the discomforts of having to make an urgent bathroom stop along your jog. These can be avoided by having the right foods at the right time and avoiding certain foods and drinks before your run.  Read more...