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78 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've read a few of Bob Greene's other books, so I thought he'd basically be packaging the same info. I was pleasantly surprised (perhaps because one of his co-authors is a prominent endocrinologist). As a side note, I had insulin-dependent gestational diabetes for three pregnancies, which did not resolve after the last one (so I have type 2). I've kept my HbA1C <6% for the past two years (since diagnosis).

The first chapter does a really good job in explaining HbA1C, blood glucose monitors, and testing. There's a good chart which shows what a HbA1c translates into in terms of average blood glucose. The best part is that Bob acknowledges that testing strips are wicked expensive--and recommends focusing on a different meal each day for testing. Basically, you end up doing two testings per day rather than 5 or 6. So, Day 1 you might do your fasting a.m., and 2 hours after breakfast. Day 2, before and after lunch (2 hours post prandial). Day 3, before dinner and post-prandial. Etc. There's also a great chart on how to interpret your highs and lows (p. 46).

Like Bob's previous books, he believes in small changes. The difference is you won't have a month of getting ready/mental prep type stuff. You have diabetes (or are pre-diabetic)... your body really can't stand another month of sky rocketing blood glucose levels. Still, he starts out gentle. The basic diet plan is a carb controlled...looked at low-GI foods whenever possible. The first 4 weeks, phase one, you're supposed to focus on blood glucose testing (see above), watching carbs, and a gradual increase in exercise.

Food-wise, phase one, we're talking three meals and two or three snacks (depending on your calorie level). There are four calorie levels with corresponding carb levels: 1500 (144 g.), 1700 (154 g.), 2000 (191 g.), and 2250 (212 g.). Bob breaks the carb levels into meals and snacks so that you're not over-consuming at any one meal. Like Bob's other books, he's against night-time eating...so no eating two hours prior to bedtime (probably a good idea to help prevent a high a.m. fasting.) He also says cut out alcohol in phase one as well as sweetened beverages.

Exercise-wise, phase one and if you're a couch potato, he's hoping to get you moving. Something aerobic, 15 minutes, 3x/week ideally. Add 2 minutes each week until you hit 30 minutes. If you're already exercising, then you'll add strength training. One surprise is that it is recommended that you get a stress test if you're over 40 and diabetic. Period.

Phase two is about fine-tuning your diet. Increasing your exercise another notch (optional, but recommended), looking more at high quality food on your plate (low G.I., low refined, high quality protein, healthy fats), and adding vitamins.

The book also has chapters on diabetes drugs as well as drugs diabetics often take... including statins and ACE inhibitors.

The last part of the book includes some meal plans and recipes... as well as charts you can use to track carbs, blood sugar, etc.

Two negatives:
1) Limited info on resistance training. Bob describes his basic 8 exercises.. but there are no pictures. One is told to go to the [...]video website to learn how to use them. (May not be realistic for all readers of the book.)

2) Not that many recipes. I wonder how the other recipes from his books work with the plan. It would be nice to have a list of which recipes in his other books worked with the plan, how to modify them, etc.

Once again, I was really surprised. It's a well-done book. I'd recommend it for anybody just diagnosed with gestational diabetes, pre-diabetes, or Type 2. My favorite book for new Type 2's is "The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes" by Gretchen Becker. I think this book would be a good complement or could even stand on it's own. It's that well done.
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155 of 176 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes by Bob Greene is the latest in many books on diabetes and given the author's affiliation with Oprah Winfrey there is no doubt that this book will be a huge seller, probably even have a lovely life on the best-seller list.

This is unfortunate. In chapter one, the author discusses insulin as a medicine. Insulin is not a medicine. It is a hormone the body naturally produces. For diabetics and pre-diabetics either their pancreas is not producing enough or any insulin or the organs are not properly absorbing the insulin the body is producing which results in high glucose levels. Of course, this could be considered a syntactical oversight and something one could overlook.

In chapter two, the author erroneously suggests that a glucose level of 180 two hours after a meal is acceptable. This was true, once upon a time, but the American Diabetes Association has modified this number and lowered it to 150. If this book were a few years old, such a mistake could, and one could even argue should, be overlooked.

So given that the book is pretty much off to a poorly researched start, in spite of the collaborative efforts of John J Merendino, MD and Janis Jibrin, MS, RD, is there any merit in reading further?

During the chapter on Phase One, Greene (and/or one of his "experts") says that it is safe to exercise unless your glucose level is 300 or higher. According to the American Diabetes Association, it is safe to exercise if your level is 250 or lower. (You can exercise if your glucose levels are lower than 300 but above 250 if you check your ketone levels, something that is not mentioned in the book at all.) That is a 50 point difference which anyone with diabetes can tell you is not an insignificant mistake.

I commend Greene for outlining a conservative approach to increasing the daily exercise. Adding two minutes of aerobic/cardio exercise per week while adding one or two strength training exercises per activity level is gradual enough that most people following his suggestion are not only likely to experience success but unlikely to cause themselves injury.

But really . . . as I was reading I kept jumping back to how messed up it is the book says 300 is the upper limit when it is actually only 250. Any one of the mistakes I have pointed out would be merely a nuisance or a slight carelessness. Perhaps even a publisher's oversight. However, this is already one too many and we have more than one erroneous piece of information being presented as professional advice. I can only pray that anyone who reads this book has the sense to listen to their diabetes team, to the American Diabetes Association, and to their own common sense and the messages of their own body. This book should not be the "go to" resource for anyone with diabetes and/or pre-diabetes.

The Mayo Clinic has come out with a wonderful book, Mayo Clinic on Managing Diabetes, with unsurprisingly superior medical advice than this book has. It does not, however, have recipes or online charts and resources for you to use, which Bob Greene's book offers. Of course, all of these free resources are also available through the American Diabetes Association. And if you choose to use the ADA resources, you won't have to worry about the offer to get additional help from Oprah's personal trainer for less than $3 per week with the "click here to learn more" encouragement.

This is what worries me the most because Bob Greene is Oprah's personal trainer and so many people will immediately think that because Greene works with Oprah that somehow anything and everything he says is accurate. Given the complications that come with diabetes if it is not properly managed, this book and its inevitable best-selling popularity scares me.

However, I digress. Phase One focuses on how carbohydrates impact glucose levels, on increasing your activity level, and on a few other essential details including possible medications (once again mistakenly saying that insulin is a medication!) someone with diabetes may have. In Phase Two the dietary focus shifts over to proteins and fats. The fact that beans are often considered a protein is mentioned but the truth is somewhat buried in the content and I was surprised that the author did not take the time to highlight more clearly that although beans are a protein they impact the body the way a carbohydrate does. In other words, for a diabetic or pre-diabetic person, beans are not a protein but should be counted as a carbohydrate; more specifically beans are considered starch exchange rather than a meat exchange. Given how unhappy I already was with the book at this point, let me state for the record that although this very important information is not given the focus it requires and frankly deserves, I am not going to begrudge Greene and/or the publishers for not choosing to emphasize this point.

Phase Two also addresses the introduction/use of dietary supplements like multi-vitamins. The information is not unlike what can be found on the ADA website or in most other nutrition/diet books. Ie. The best offense is a well-balanced diet; supplements may help but are not the answer nor will they make up for unhealthy eating habits, etc. Phase Three builds upon the suggestions made in Parts One and Two and there is good practical advice for the reader on how to avoid discouragement and offering a list of healthcare professionals that the diabetic will need including some that might be needed. Again, information one can easily find elsewhere.

The next chapter, "Drugs Used to Treat Diabetes and Prevent Complications," unfortunately lumps insulin as a medication. At this point, I was neither surprised nor disappointed by this nonsense. Early in the chapter Greene states "people tend to lump diabetes medicines into two categories, pills or insulin" and never does he correct this statement. Forget altogether the argument that insulin is a naturally produced hormone in the body (like estrogen and testosterone), diabetes medicine is usually "lumped" in two ways: medicines that help the body produce insulin and medicines that help the body absorb insulin. So let's add this to the increasing list of mistakes this book makes and move on.

Last but not least, the book concludes with meal plans and some recipes. I want to commend Greene for not focusing solely on the diabetic who is trying to lose weight. Too many diabetes resource focus so much on losing weight which makes it difficult and frustrating for the diabetic who is trying to lose weight to find the necessary information that will support the individual's individual needs. Soy milk seems to be the dairy choice for Greene and the fact that Silk Soy Milk carries the Best Life seal I suppose explains this emphasis. There are arguments for drinking soy milk, obviously, but there are also reasons why some people, especially some women, might prefer to avoid soy milk. That this is never mentioned in the book is unfortunate. Greene explains how grilling meats releases carcinogens back in Phase Two so I don't know why the same concern isn't expressed regarding the consumption of soy milk. It behooves the reader to be educated but, given that this book is supposed to be a trusted resource for the reader, it would be nice to see the author being as forthcoming about products with his company's stamp of approval as he is with those products that don't have it.

The recipes are good. I tried a few and didn't hate them, didn't love them, didn't feel the need to share them in my blog. I was disappointed that the soup recipes all included beans. I would have liked a recipe that was free from starches (a hearty vegetable soup perhaps) or even high in protein (egg-drop soup). Of course, the book is not trying to present an exhaustive collection of possible recipes. There is just enough for someone to make gradual changes to their daily fair. No need to completely overhaul the diet although the reader can choose to follow the proscribed menu plan to begin the necessary lifestyle changes.

I realize that some people may think I am being nit-picky about a few mistakes but when there are resources available that do not have these mistakes, resources that offer the same advice, I don't understand why this book contains any mistakes nor why it should become a resource upon which anyone would rely. For anyone considering buying this book, please reconsider. Read resources that will not compromise your health or well-being. Living with diabetes is hard enough without thinking something is safe when it is not or thinking you are doing the right thing when you are not. This book . . . it could have been better and it should have been better and, although there is some merit in the content, there is not enough for me to say this book is a better choice than any of the others I have already read. For a basic overview of diabetes, how glucose and insulin work in the body, and the complications of diabetes if it is not well managed, I highly recommend the Mayo-Clinic book. For the most up-to-date information on diabetes and diabetes research, you can't go wrong reading the ADA website. If you want delicious recipes that will help you maintain healthy glucose levels and possibly help you lose weight if that is your goal, check out DLife, a weekly program that airs on CNBC Sundays at 7pm; the website offers the videos so those without cable can enjoy the educational resources.

Like I said, there are other, better, resources out there. Like I also said, odds are that because Bob Greene is Oprah Winfrey's personal trainer, this book will inevitably be a best-seller. It's unfortunate. I hope that those who are newly diagnosed with diabetes will not choose this book as a primary resource. Anyone who has had the disease and is already educated about the disease, the debatable merit of this book will be too quickly apparent and the book just as quickly tossed aside.

Full Disclosure:

Following is a list of what I learned from reading this book in no particular order.

1) What to do when blood glucose drops too low--how to respond responsibly without overshooting and pushing the too low glucose into the too high range.
2) Neuropathy may be caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Now, this either suggests that I have done a good job educating myself about this disease or it suggests that this book doesn't offer much in the way of necessary information. I think it is more the former than the latter, especially in light of my finding any mistakes, let alone more than one. I hope that more people will be able to see through the glamour of endorsement through to the truth of this resource's so-called merit. Thank goodness, there are other far more reliable resources available.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My wife has T2 diabetes and we have done some research and mostly followed the rules of our doctor and nutritionist when planning our lifestyle with diabetes. When I picked this book up I spent time researching other reviews and authors so I was not going into a critical topic for so many people completely blind. What I found were many different reviews, some raving, others highly critical. The most well thought out and educated reviews tended to be critical. Our own doctor had only heard of the author in passing and did not recommend him. I entered into the text then with a grain of salt but wanting to give it a fair shake.

For the most part this book taught us what our doctor taught us about exercise and diet, though some of the numbers did not match up. For instance, our doctor wants my wife's blood sugar to be 100-110 one hour after eating. The text says a much higher number is acceptable. Other educated reviewers have suggested that this number is not in line with current standards either.

His recommendations to slowly increase physical activity (and thereby making a plan you are more likely to stick with are reasonable and well thought out. Suggestions on how to watch carb intake as well as sugar intake are in line with what our doctor tells us, and his various examples of meal plans are reasonable - many books on diabetes recommend meal plans that are out of the ordinary of what most people will regularly make and eat as part of their diet - they are either too fancy for every meal, or too expensive. This text is much more reasonable in its approach to creating meal plans and isn't far off to what we do.

He also strongly urges patients with diabetes to carefully track and monitor their sugar levels according to their doctors instructions which is a sound recommendation.

Overall, this is okay as a companion book, but there are better texts out there, and never trust in a book over what your doctor tells you to do.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 2, 2009
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I do not have a sugar problem, but some of my relatives have Type II diabetes. My wife avoided gestational diabetes with our first child, and so far she's okay with the second child. Of course my relatives living with diabtes ate without thinking and rarely excercised. I did not know that Bob Greene is involved with the Best Life plan. However, I have seen the best life on certain foods I buy.

That being said, this is a robust 'bible' of the who, what, when, where, how and why. I must be honest, I am familiar with how to help reduce my risk for diabetes. In the past, I have read up on low glycemic foods. But I wanted to drill down more into the diet and science behind it. Of course having a meal plan is great too. Despite my background knowledge, I still found his charts and plan to be great. This is a roadmap that we can all learn from.

As a sidebar, you should Google Steven Burd of Safeway supermarkets. Read how they cut their healthcare costs based on lifestyle changes. Notice what he said about diabetes.

Update... My mother-in-law tried to take the book from me. She's not at risk, but knows way too many people with Typee II diabetes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The concerns I have about books like this is that diabetes is an overwhelming illness that, when it strikes, can feel like you've been kicked to the ground.

Upon initial diagnosis, the #1 thing that is emphasized is dietary changes. During this initial, you're in a state of shock and you don't really care how the pancreas works and what your cells do, etc. You simply want to gain control of your eating, take your meds, and get your blood sugar numbers down. That by itself could take someone weeks or months to master. While this book does cover that, it was just too overwhelming to dive into.

Something I really wasn't able to find is how to manage the ups and downs. For example, how one medicine - perhaps steroids - can bounce your sugar levels all over the place. Yet another medicine for Diabetes - like Actos - can completely turn the sugar levels around in some people. And what happens if you have Type II diabetes, nothing seems to be working, and you have to consider the path of insulin?

I certainly think that anyone who is predisposed to get diabetes genetically or is overweight should read this book. Had my doctor's been more pressing with me about insisting that I lose weight - not just saying in passing "you really should lose weight," - I don't think I'd be in the situation I'm in now.

The book is large and I would have rather seen elimination of the recipes because there are tons and tons or books out there and you're really better off going to a dietician to get a meal plan created just for you. My main issue is that less text and more graphics and action steps would be helpful. This is another book that caters to a higher level of reader...and it's going to miss the mark for someone who has poor reading skills.

One final note: I think if anyone but Oprah's "Bob Greene" had written it, it really wouldn't be a big hit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 19, 2009
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I took my time with this book as it is a bundle of information. It is a college level textbook worth of good sound information. I am suffering with Metabolic Syndrome and do not want to progress into pre-diabetes or diabetes! With this plan I now have hope that I can take charge of this and change my future for the better.

You learn how the body breaks down foods for energy and storage. How the body handles glucose and the effects of too much or too little. Everything is laid out in a fashion that is easy for the everyday non medical person to understand. There are many charts that help you understand what right portions are. What foods to eat and what to avoid.

I especialy like how Bob Greene is so encouraging. He realizes that many of us are at an activity level of 0 or 1 and fear what extreme exercise will do to us. He lets you start out one step at a time and encourages you that it is fine. Small changes add up to bigger results.

You will be encourgaged to check you glucose daily if you are not already. My doctor had wanted me to start this on my last visit but Medicare will not pay for the supplies unless you are already diabetic. Man I don't want to be diabetic, I want to take action so I won't be. I found that right here on Amazon and in stores you can buy glucose meters and strips, lancets, everything you need. Much more reasonable here! I have mine on order and have already started in to Phase one of the program. There is also no pressure at each phase, if you cannot say yes to the questions that qualify you to move on no sweat, you stay a few more weeks. It's all about a new healthy way of life.

Most impressive is the calorie limits he has set. Finally someone has it right. Never go under 1500 a day! You end up hungry and blowing the plan and slowing your metabolism not increasing it. I myself fit into the 1700 calorie plan. Yipee.

There are of course many tasty recipes in the book as well as log charts you can copy to keep track of your numbers. You can also download them from his website. I am sure any doctor will be most grateful when you bring in the records you will learn to keep. Most of all he also makes the point over and over. WORK WITH A DOCTOR. You need to be under frequent medical care.

What have you got to lose? If it's weight you will on this plan. You will gain better health and a wealth of knowledge you can share with others who may not know what serious shape they are in.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle. Even if you don't have metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, or diabetes now. You can avoid it with this lifestyle. Good luck to everyone and God Bless.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 14, 2009
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I picked up this book because two of my friends have diabetes and unless I lose weight and exercise my doctor thinks I am a very likely candidate for it as well. This book offered me the best explanation of what diabetes and pre-diabetes is and how to prevent pre-diabetes and better live with diabetes. It also offered me a practical guide on how to prepare foods for my friends who have the disease and what to eat so I won't come down with the disease.

Four criteria are important to me when I pick up a health book like this. I want it to be up to date when it comes to information, I want to explain things in a thorough but understandable fashion, I want it to be interesting enough to finish and I want it to give me practical advice on what to do to prevent or address my health problem. This book successfully addresses all the criteria.

The book has seven chapters all which lead to the next. All flow well together as a whole. The chapters are thorough so while I will attempt to summarize them I know I am leaving things out.

Chapter one looks at diabetes and pre-diabetes. It looks at everything from the causes of the disease to how it is diagnosed and talks about how both are managed. People with Pre-diabetes can, in many cases, stop the disease with simple lifestyle changes. The chapter leads directly to the second, third and fourth chapters.

Chapter two is titled "Phase One: Taking Control of Your Blood Sugar". It looks at ways of measuring blood sugar as well as ways of controlling blood sugar through eating and exercise. It explores foods that are good to eat and examines subjects like artificial sweeteners and when to eat what food.

Chapter three is titled "Phase Two: Fine Tuning Your Diet". It is a chapter that is good for anyone who wants to understand nutrition and how it affects the sugar levels in your body as well as what foods are less likely to lead to weight gain. It looks at carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It talks about vitamins and different types of grains. It is thorough but easy to understand.

Chapter four is titled "Phase Three: Living Your Best Life". It gives practical advice about working with your doctor. It also addresses concerns about the disease such as depression or concerns that a person can't control their diet. Most importantly, it lets the reader know that diabetes will not ruin your life.

Chapter Five looks at the drugs used to treat diabetes. It looks at cost, how the drugs work and what side effects may occur from them.

Chapter Six looks at Diabetes Friendly Meal Plans and is full of recipes that even non-diabetics can enjoy. It has some great easy recipes.

The book has three appendixes that include a diabetes management log, a list of carbohydrate counts and a 12-week fitness plan. There is also a book index and a recipe index.

I don't have diabetes and if I learn from this book I will not get it. When my diabetic friends come over I will now be able to offer them meals and treats that will be good for them as well as myself. I will be lending this book to them so they can learn from it as well.

This is a great book for those who care about someone with diabetes, for those leading a lifestyle that may lead to diabetes or I imagine for those who have diabetes (since I don't I can't say definitely.)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2010
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been an RN for over 20 years and I have to say this is one of the best diabetic books writtenfor adults with the disease I have read. It is mulitlayered in the sense that you can read it and follow the plan for the diet and excercise and get results of having more stable blood sugar results. And you can also keep the book and use it as a resource about your diabetes and how it effects your body under all sorts of conditions. If you are feeling well it has information on how to make day to day choices. If you are feeling ill it explains how illness can effect your blood sugars and how your blood sugar effects your immunity. This is a book that is very accurate in the diet, exercise, physiology, and medical information it provides. The author has written a valuble resource for people with diabetes.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon November 29, 2009
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A reference book for onset diabetes is one of the best reads you can have on your bookshelf. This is now such a widespread disease, that knowledge on it's symptoms should be at arms reach. Bob Greene does a good job on sorting out these symptoms and advising on diet, exercise, supplements, needed sleep and drugs. He covers these topics with clear explanations and suggestions.

He has included recipes and a appendix on Carbohydrate counts which are well thought out and established requirements for the system. There is always more to learn about Diabetes and I learned quite a bit from this book. I will reach for this reference over and over again for insight and advice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I am not personally diabetic, although I do have pre-diabetic markers that make this an important subject to me. It's unfortunate that Bob Greene has been elevated to the level of "expert" in the United States because he doesn't seem to have a proper understanding of how to manage this disease in the slightest. While I appreciate he doesn't totally vilify fat and protein, he's still fearful of fat by promoting "lean protein" and only the monounsaturated fats while tee-totally ignoring the benefits to blood sugar and satiety that come from consuming healthy saturated fats. Diabetes is much too important to flippantly throw around ideas that people sadly will embrace because of Oprah's endorsement of Greene. Be skeptical and don't buy everything you read in this book. For better resources on how to control diabetes, read Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars and Atkins Diabetes Revolution LP : The Groundbreaking Approach to Preventing and Controlling Type 2 Diabetes.
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