October 7, 2013

The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. {Book Review}

As a nutritionist, I am always looking for healthy foods, recipes, books, tips and research.

I recently ran into “The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook” by Mark Hyman MD and was intrigued, so I decided to give it a try.

The book is divided into two parts, containing tips to make a shift into a healthier life style. The first part is about the basics of the program and tips to make it work; the second part consists of recipes for the basic plan, the advanced and the reintroduction plan, plus a bonus section of desserts.

Although I think the aim of the book (live a healthy life style) is totally valuable, I found good and not so good information on the pages of the book.

The Good:

Mark Hyman talks about the importance of prevention and how by giving a serious makeover to our kitchens we can really see an improvement in our health. I agree with him and his advice is true and relatable.

Several research papers have come to the conclusion that food is the root of many diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer.

He makes us notice how sometimes we make food selections based on convenience and that is not always a good thing. As the author puts it “Convenience is killing us” because the choices made based on what (in the moment) seems convenient, tends to not always be the healthiest.

Throughout the reading, we can learn a few good and handy tips on eating healthy for less. Some of these tips are as valuable as growing our own food.

Later on in the book, he addresses the issue of what society sees as “healthy individuals.” There are skinny people who don’t necessarily are healthy—that is an important note to take on account to take our health more seriously.

After giving an introduction of his program “The Blood Sugar Solution,” he offers recipes which people can accommodate throughout the whole program in case the reader wants to follow it. Each recipe has an overview of the preparation time, cooking time, level of difficulty, how many servings and an approximate budget. Such facts come in handy when we are trying to fit cooking with our daily activities and money availability.

The Bad:

When I talk about health issues, facts on anything related to my body or the incidence/prevalence of any issues, I like to know where that information is coming from. While I was reading the first section of the book, Hyman talks about statistic numbers on Diabetes and Obesity without mentioning the source or reference. He points out the raise in the incidence of pre-diabetes, and diabetes and although I don’t find it hard to believe, I would have liked to have seen the actual source of the facts.

The book is about a solution for the diabetes and obesity issue that is affecting more and more people every day. The solution he proposes is “The Blood Sugar” program. In order to enroll in the program he developed the “Diabesity quiz” (diabetes plus obesity.)

In the quiz, he includes questions that go from the everyday routine, to body measurements, eating habits and biochemical parameters—and I found some weaknesses in the quiz on which the book is based.

When a new tool is made to diagnose a certain health condition, the author needs to conduct several small trials to confirm the methods of collecting information, as well as confirm the information asked is the information needed.

I didn’t find evidence of such trials in the book for the development of Hyman’s Diabesity Quiz.

The results are based on a point scale; 1-7 points the person is considered to be a good fit for the Basic Plan and the severity of their problem is “Mild Diabesity.” If the reader scores 8+, they should follow the Advanced Plan and are considered to have a moderate-to-severe Diabesity.

It’s important to point out that based on his point scale, everyone would need the program. For example, one question includes the Body Mass Index (BMI); if it is higher than 30, the reader would score one point, and is therefore considered to have mild diabesity. However, this is not always true due to the fact that many healthy people who work out and have high muscle mass would get a high BMI but be healthy.

In my opinion, the management of health issues, such as weight control, is an individual process and if managed collectively, the preferred way would be to base the process on standardized techniques.

When Hyman talks about monitoring the progress once the reader joins the program, he talks about weekly measurements of waist, weight, etc. However when managing weight, weekly monitoring of certain measurements sometimes it can result in a more negative than a positive outcome.

Furthermore, he catalogs quality of foods in good and bad, where animal products are good but doubts the quality of vegetables. I also noticed a reliability on the glycemic index of foods as one of the main factor to lose weight and little to none emphasis on exercise. Although the glycemic index is one important tool for certain types of regulated diets, individualized exercise practices should always be a main factor in the process.

In the second section, at the end of each recipe he mentions the nutritional information. What’s missing is missing the source from which it was analyzed from. That is important because every tool has different methodologies and it is suitable for different people.

Would I recommend it?

I would recommend the book to those who are starting to make small changes towards a healthier life style. It will help them to understand more about the close relation of food and health.

However, they would need to take a close look at what they take in relation to their individualized condition.

Note: elephantjournal.com received these review items for free, in return for a guarantee that we would review said offering.  That said, we say what we want—good and bad, happy and sad.

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Ed: Bryonie Wise


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