Top critical review
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Value depends on your needs and knowledge
on June 2, 2012
Review of Beyond Sugar Shock by Connie Bennett.
1) Attractive cover grabs the attention of sugar lovers. I mean, there are cupcakes on there. Yummy!
2) As a nurse, I felt the book offered an excellent overview of the medical signs and symptoms related to hyperinsulinemia and the resulting hypoglycemia--what most are now calling prediabetes. The list of symptoms found on pages 3 and 4 gives one the idea of how metabolically pervasive carbohydrates are to the human body. The irritability and food panic is recognizable to anyone with hypoglycemia. "I need food now!" Bennett hits on the diseases caused by sugar on page 7. Blindness should have been an addition here.
3) All of chapter 3 is information based on science and medicine. The problem here, as I noted throughout the book, is that the author frowns upon so many foods---dairy, grains, artificial sweeteners, salts, high-fat meats, processed foods, etcetera---that one is left wondering what remains to actually eat.
4) The Sweet Success Stories told by real sugar addicts are the highlight of the book. I identified with several of these people.
5) I enjoyed the quiz in chapter two; however, some of the questions focused too much on candy and not on the other carbs we so love: pasta, bread, cereal...
6) Tips like using a journal and employing question words--who, what, where, when, why, and how--would come in handy for most folks trying to make drastic changes.
7) The book offers great information on hidden sugars in foods as well as on various forms of exercise. Go Zumba!
8) Helpful section on portion sizes begins on page 193. Sadly many foods are not discussed at all. What about replacements for salad dressings that are no longer recommended?
9) Fair price for the content.
1) Not consistently realistic for people on a limited budget. Throughout the text the author recommends organic foods including grass-fed, free-range meats. In one section, she offers the contact information for a company that ships these approved foods. Let's just say they were out of my budget.
2) Full of shameless self-promotion. How many times do we have to read about the websites, Facebook page, and blog? Six week courses as well as other paid programs and services are mentioned a few times starting on page 9. Page 74 again suggests hiring a health or life coach. It all sounds kind of hokey--and expensive--to me. Also, depending on the website for much of the books content, like the shopping list for example, is not fair to the high percentage of the population that lacks internet access.
3) The book somewhat mirrors the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet): all dessert and no entrée. Perhaps the fact that I was expecting something different colored my perception; however, I feel as if the bulk of the book is mushy, mind game junk that most people have tried before--you know, think yourself thin concepts.
4) Too many acronyms and sweet words. The book comes across as corny. Perhaps that's the point though so as not to scare people away with too much science and medical jargon. If I have to show any more mirror love or repeat any more affirmation, I'm going to puke.
5) Readers should speak to their doctors and do some research on bursting before replacing regular exercise with these workout frenzies.
6) The meal plan and recipes section was shorter than I expected after reading so many chapters on emotional support. Where is the nitty-gritty information sugar addicts need to change their lives? What do I buy? What do I do with it? What things can I eat?
7) The resources section was definitely hit or miss. Some treasures are hidden there as well as some nonsense. The author discusses earthing or grounding, practices meant to protect a person from electromagnetic fields. This is considered pseudoscience at best. The author writes, "As I write this, I'm grounded by a pink band on my wrist that's delivering the earth's recuperative energies to me" (234). Seriously? Much of the resources are more advertisement than anything. Another recommended company is VibesUP who offers "...items designed to neutralize and release your toxic energy and reconnect you to Mother Nature's natural electrical energy" (237). I thought we just decided electrical fields were bad? And the essential oils recommendation...too hippie for me.
Conclusion: If you are okay with a focus more on life change instead of hard and fast diet rules, this book is for you. I recommend anyone unfamiliar with the damages of sugar overload read the book. If you are already familiar and are looking for more than mental preparation and support such as actual dietary advice, cooking techniques, and making food choices, then this book may not be what you need.