Most helpful positive review
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Pleasantly Surprised--Good for Pre-Diabetics, GD, or Type 2
on November 24, 2009
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.
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.