Dr. Gourmet's Health & Nutrition Bites

Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.

If you've been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (a-fib), your doctor has likely told you to avoid caffeine. As I noted back in 2010, "it has never been truly clear whether caffeine has really had any real role in atrial fibrillation." That Health and Nutrition Bite reported on an observational study that looked at people's intake of caffeine and whether those who consumed more caffeine were at higher risk of a-fib: they were not. As an observational study, however, it can only look at association and must be interpreted with caution.

Not long ago I responded to an Ask Dr. Gourmet question regarding caffeine and the risk of atrial fibrillation (a-fib): "Caffeine probably does not cause a-fib but if one has had AFib attacks will Caffeine bring on another attack?"

I said at the time that while there had been no association shown, "the only way for us to know for certain would be to perform a randomized, prospective trial where one group with atrial fibrillation drinks coffee and the other doesn't. Comparing the two would offer us definitive evidence." Here's the good news: a study just published in JAMA Internal Medicine (doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.6374) accomplishes exactly that. Caffeine safe for those with A-fib »

Did You Know?

Our online meal planner is absolutely free! With The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan you can create customized two-week meal plans for just yourself or your entire family, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Includes printable shopping lists for each week, so you can save time and money by doing all of your grocery shopping at once. Create plans for people with GERD / Acid Reflux, Lactose Intolerance, Gluten allergies, or those who take Coumadin (warfarin). All plans are appropriate for those with Type 2 Diabetes, as well. Find out why.

Planning is the key to a healthy diet and a healthy weight, and The Dr. Gourmet Diet Plan makes eating well and eating healthy easy. Find out more!

Lose Weight

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Use our FREE interactive meal planner and reach your goal of healthy, permanent weight loss.

The Mediterranean Diet

Shrimp Taco Salad
What is a Mediterranean Diet? Find out how familiar foods are part of this healthy style of eating.

Ask Dr. Gourmet

Have a question about food or nutrition? Dr. Harlan answers your questions. Ask Dr. Gourmet.

Eat Healthy

It's easier than you think to eat well and eat healthy. Find out how to make eating healthy part of your life.

Healthy Recipes

Delicious, healthy recipes that taste great? Yes! Try an easy, healthy recipe from Dr. Gourmet today.


Learn how to make the most out of your exercise with easy-to-follow exercise videos and training plans.

Learn to Eat for My Condition

Zucchini SoupCoumadin (warfarin) Diet

This guide will help you manage your Vitamin K intake while still eating great food. Lists of foods that are high (and low) in Vitamin K, Coumadin-safe recipes and more! Coumadin (warfarin) Diet Information | Get the book! The Coumadin Diet and Cookbook (paperback: $19.95 + s/h) (PDF: $14.95)

Shrimp ScampiGERD / Acid Reflux / Heartburn Diet

This five-step guide to reducing the burn comes with easy tummy tips and delicious recipes to help you manage your reflux. Managing Your GERD / Acid Reflux / Heartburn Get the book! The Dr. Gourmet Diet for People with GERD / Acid Reflux: (paperback: $19.95 + s/h) (PDF: $14.95)

Glass of MilkLactose Intolerance Diet

It's not unusual to have difficulty digesting lactose and needing to avoid foods containing cheese or milk. This index will help guide you to Dr. Gourmet recipes you'll safely enjoy. Lactose Intolerant Recipe Guide and More Information

FishDiabetes Diet

What is the best diet for those with diabetes? A Mediterranean Diet! For diabetics, eating well is THE key to controlling blood sugar. For those with Type 2 diabetes, The Mediterranean Diet seems to help you control your diabetes better, without medication. The Best Diabetes Diet


Fast Food Guide

Burger and Fries

What are the healthiest choices at fast food restaurants? We've compiled a list: Fast Food Guide

Food Reviews

TV Dinner

We've reviewed frozen meals and convenience foods so you can eat well and eat healthy.

News You Can Use

the ingredients for a healthy fish soup

Health and nutrition news and what it means for you. Health and Nutrition Bites.

The How and Why of Eating Healthy

Place Setting

Simple, straightforward articles on eating healthy in the real world. The How and Why of Eating Healthy.

A Healthy Pregnancy

a breastfeeding baby

Pregnant or planning to be? Diet tips, do's and don'ts for your pregnancy. A Healthy Pregnancy

Healthy Eating for Kids

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Healthy snack ideas and diet guide for the children in your life. Healthy Eating for Kids and Young Adults


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Featured Recipes

Fusilli with Sausage and Spinach

Sausage gets a bad rap. It's like almost any ingredient: it can be made bad but also too much of a good thing isn't always good. Using great quality, flavorful sausage in this recipe is a good example. An ounce, cooked slowly to enhance the flavor, goes a long way and is even better with the combined flavors of spinach, mustard and parmesan.

Use a good quality Italian flavored sausage for this dish. Of the national brands, Applegate farms is a good choice, with no preservatives and a bit lower sodium. Use what you need and freeze the rest.

Fusilli with Bacon and Arugula

This recipe is well balanced with the umami of bacon and parmesan, sweetness of the peppers and sharpness from the arugula and scallions. It has a bit more sodium than I generally like in Dr. Gourmet recipes, but you may be able to find lower sodium bacon in your market.

Adding a bit of ground fennel seed while cooking the bacon adds a great depth of flavor: it tastes like Autumn.

Penne with Shrimp and Mustard Sauce

Penne with Shrimp and Mustard Sauce recipe from Dr. Gourmet

Onions, mustard, shrimp, pasta, creamy sauce – all in about 20 minutes. Simple.

Roasted Squash Tacos

Roasted Squash Tacos

When you mix together the wet rub, use a large mixing bowl. The rub will be very sticky because of the thickness of the molasses. Use a rubber spatula to mix because it will help blend the spice ingredients and then when you add the cut squash a bit of the moisture will help. Fold the squash until it is well coated.