If you're aging prematurely, getting fatter, feeling sluggish, and watching your blood pressure and cholesterol sneak upwards, you may have "Syndrome X," claim the authors, who say that up to 60 million North Americans have it. "Syndrome X is primarily a nutritional disease caused by eating the wrong foods," they write. The mysterious-sounding "Syndrome X" refers to a group of health problems including insulin resistance ("the inability to properly deal with dietary carbohydrates such as sugars"), plus at least one additional problem, such as abnormal blood fats (elevated cholesterol or triglycerides), overweight, and/or high blood pressure. Insulin resistance is "a diet-caused hormonal logjam that interferes with your body's ability to efficiently burn the food you eat." According to the authors, you probably have this problem, and if you do, eating processed carbohydrates are the root of it. Pastries, pastas, breakfast cereals, soft drinks--these refined carbos are the enemy. The book warns you that you probably suffer from insulin resistance (please get a blood test instead of relying on the admittedly unscientific questionnaire in the book, which makes everyone suspect who eats cereal or drinks fruit juice). Then the authors jump on the high-protein, low carb bandwagon. You can eat three eggs for breakfast, roast duck for lunch, and salmon for dinner, and snack on chicken slices.
It seems odd that if the problem is refined carbs that the solution is high protein and low carbs. The authors admit that most unrefined, or complex, carbohydrates do not have the excessive glucose- and insulin-stimulating effect of refined carbs, so why not recommend high-quality, unrefined carbohydrates (which are preferred over high-protein diets by the American Dietetic Association)? Consumers can't tell the difference, the authors say. So rather than educate them to the difference, let them eat meat. Go figure.
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From Library Journal
Syndrome X is a metabolic disorder that interferes with the body's ability to use insulin to move glucose into cells. It causes insulin resistance or diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension and results in obesity and heart disease. Stanford University researcher Reaven and his coauthors clearly explain what the syndrome is; its impact on the body, especially the heart and circulatory system, is well described. Reaven describes his reasonable six-step program of diagnosis, diet, weight loss, physical activity, healthy lifestyle habits, and medical intervention for control of the disease. An excellent book on a disease that is becoming more common in the American population. Challem, a columnist for Natural Health, and coauthors Burt Berkson, M.D., and health journalist Melissa Diane Smith, call Syndrome X a nutritional disease, caused by a diet high in refined carbohydrates, that can be treated through nutrition and exercise. They falsely imply that most people over age 35 are physically and mentally sluggish owing to this syndrome and warn against using drugs for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes. Their recommended diet program is high in protein, with moderate carbohydrate intake. Supplements such as chromium, zinc, and alpha lipoic acid are recommended. Unfortunately, the authors' scare tactics are unnecessary, and the medical information is faulty. Not recommended; get Reaven's book instead.-Janet M. Schneider, James A. Haley Veterans Hosp., Tampa, FL
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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