Two colleagues of the late Dr. Robert Atkins take on the obesity epidemic's deadly twin: type 2 diabetes. Dr. Mary Vernon and Jacqueline Eberstein, RN, adapt the carb-cutting, fat-allowing Atkins nutritional approach as a preemptive strike against this fast-growing killer. Diabetes--defined here as a condition in which glucose or blood sugar is above the normal range--is viewed as a preventable problem. "What we hope we have created in this book is a realistic and practical guide to wiping out type 2, one person at a time." Since obesity is the major risk factor for diabetes, they begin with the "fat lie" (i.e., the belief that fat causes obesity) to voice the Atkins mantra: low fat means high carbs and high carbs are broken down into sugar. With a convincing mix of essay/picture testimonials, clinical studies, quizzes, checklists, and menu planners and recipes, Vernon and Eberstein make the case for diet and lifestyle changes to alter the metabolism of those at risk for diabetes. They have done a yeoman's job of translating Atkins's medical nutrition advice into a step-by-step program. One can quibble about their missionary zeal or the omnipresent eggs in the breakfast sample menus. At times, the scientific data are overly detailed or hidden within a quiz. Thankfully, there is a spot-on summary of the book's paradigm-busting ideas in the appendix. -- Barbara Mackoff
From Publishers Weekly
Having been marketed to millions as a weight-loss solution, the Atkins diet is now presented as a means of preventing type 2 diabetes, a disease whose rates are skyrocketing, thanks to the prevalence of risk factors such as obesity and high lipid and blood sugar levels. The authors clearly outline their interpretation of the path to diabetes, arguing that carbs cause blood sugar spikes, triggering the release of more insulin—the hormone that regulates blood sugar—than the cells need. Blood sugar ends up stored as fat and the body's cells start responding more slowly to the insulin, which leads to elevated blood sugar levels. But the tone the authors adopt when touting their low-carb, high-protein, high-fat approach may arouse some skepticism and even fear. "In the end, only you can decide what's best for your health," they warn. "You can choose the Atkins approach and improve your health, or you can choose the ADA [American Diabetes Association] approach and descend into more and more medications and poor health." While studies now demonstrate low-carb dieting can lead to weight loss and cholesterol control over the short term, experts tend to agree that diets that demonize one food group aren't easy to stick to over the long haul. Still, the work includes valuable nutritional information and sounds a needed alarm about the diabetes epidemic.
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