The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It
Journalistic journey in reversing pre-diabetes
Jeff O’Connell, a slender, athletic writer for a men’s health magazine, is diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Seeing his estranged father waste away from the disease, O’Connell sets out to find a cure for his condition and is confronted with a health care system incapable of advising him on preventing diabetes.
Part biography, part exposé, O’Connell chronicles his search for the cause and treatment of pre-diabetes by interviewing countless medical experts and government agencies. The advice consistently given is, “Eat more carbohydrates and less fat, and manage your blood sugar with drugs,” advice that is counterintuitive for a disease that is caused by blood sugar dysregulation and does nothing to reverse it. Unfortunately, the book repeats this theme chapter after chapter, the monotony broken only by personal accounts of the author’s own health issues.
O’Connell rightly contends that high-carbohydrate diets and lack of physical exercise are causative factors in the development of diabetes. And he hammers home the message that if you rely on government-sanctioned advice for managing diabetes, you can look forward to progressive deterioration, limb amputation, heart and kidney disease and death.
He also raises two very important issues: first, that he suffers from reactive hypoglycemia (the high ups and severe downs of blood sugar), which he feels is common among high-carb eaters and a precursor to diabetes; secondly, that the A1C upon which doctors rely so heavily is skewed by this reactive hypoglycemia. The A1C test basically measures the average of fluctuating blood sugar, so someone with reactive hypoglycemia may average out to have an acceptable A1C score showing they are not diabetic, which would be false.
Overall, I found the book very dry and annoyingly repetitive, and halfway through I just didn’t want to read any more. If you enjoy journalism, biographies and personal anecdotes, you may enjoy this book. But if you’re looking for something more on science and biology, I recommend Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
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