Customer Reviews: Ultraprevention
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on March 11, 2004
I give this book a low rating not because anything in it is bad per se, only that there is nothing all that great in it either. It is broken into three sections. The first two basically discuss their theory of disease along with anecdotes from their practice. While all of this is certainly interesting you're probably reading this book for its practical application to your life. So a story about someone's drug interaction and how the doctor's diagnosed it isn't particularly relevant unless you happen to have the same weird biochemistry that that patient had.
The third section contains the practical applications of everything they've talked about up to this point and this is where the disappointment sets in. I have two complaints:
One, in the previous two sections they mentioned numerous medical tests (e.g. checking homocystein levels or measuring metabolic performance) as being useful for diagnosing your overall health. Yet in this section there is no mention of these tests. Which ones should I ask my doctor to perform? How often should I have them performed?
Two, and this is the killer, nothing they have to say is new or different. Almost the same exact advice regarding diet and exercise is contained in my 10 year old copy of a book by the guy who did Abs of Steel. If you haven't paid *ANY* attention to health and diet literature over the past decade then what they have to say might be new to you and so the book is useful for that. But at this point you can pick up most diet and nutrition books that aren't focused on a single fad diet and they'll contain the same advice: exercise (both aerobic and resistance) regularly, watch out for foods with a high glycemic index, cut out sugars, caffeine, and alcohol, minimize your animal and large fish protein and fat consumption, avoid overly processed foods, eat lots of colorful vegetables high in antioxidants, get plenty of sleep, lower your stress, laugh, enjoy life.
Yes, their plan will make you healthier if you can follow it. But their plan isn't any different from what most health books have been suggesting for at least a decade and most people haven't been following their advice.
There is nothing *wrong* with this book and if you aren't familiar with modern diet, exercise, and nutrition advice it is a fine place to start. But if you are familiar with such things you won't find anything new in here that you can apply to your life.
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on November 29, 2003
My husband and I transformed our life through Ultraprevention. And we've completed only part of what is recommended so far. We are gradually continuing on the path because it works. As patients of doctors Liponis and Hyman, it is hard to overstate their genuine caring and desire to help their patients live as fully as possible. How terrific that everyone can try their program through this book, not just those fortunate enough to be able to go to Canyon Ranch. The most important points we've learned from our experience: 1) Take charge of your own health. You cannot count on today's harrassed, malpractice-threatened, inappropriately incented doctors to do it for you. Even those with the best of intentions are hamstrung by the system. 2) The smallest steps in the right direction can bring significant rewards. The program is not overwhelming and complex when you think of it incrementally. Just take one bite at a time -- it's not an all or nothing exercise.
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on January 14, 2004
If you'd like to get off your prescription medications, break free from fatigue, and experience true wellness, read Ultraprevention... then follow the six-week path to good health. Full of stories about real people, the book is interesting and engaging... an easy weekend read.
Authors Hyman and Liponis are both U.S.-trained physicians who write frankly about the strengths and weaknesses of our "health care" system. One is a cancer survivor, cured by the drugs and surgery of Western medicine, who was left wondering how he could ever have gotten so sick in the first place. The other had a knee that was deemed unfixable by Western medicine, but he found a cure through Chinese remedies. Both came out of their experiences determined to find a better approach for their patients.
After reading this book, I'm convinced that our "health care" system is really a "sick care" system, because of the way it isolates and treat illnesses rather than seeking to treat the root cause of our problems. Of course, we have a capitalist health care industry in which the profits come not from healing people, but from treating them. And we live in a quick-fix culture. And most of our food is tainted with pesticides, antibiotics, and artificial hormones. That can't be good. (As if all that disgusting information on mad cow disease isn't enough!)
So I'm changing the way I'm buying and preparing food (no more hydrogenated anything ever!), I've joined a gym, and I'm already feeling lots better. My 10-year-old son is off steroids, and continues to show great improvement with acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy. Many "chronic" conditions really can be cured, and this book is a great start to finding out how. There really is a better way!
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on September 19, 2003
I realize that's a big statement. It's a true one, however. Ultraprevention is a remarkable philosophy that can help you move from feeling so-so to terrific without an enormous amount of work. It's really more about a change in your attitude. The doctors feel that there are five forces that can destroy your health; they lucidly and concisely explain what each one is and then go on to tell you exactly what you need to do to overcome them. In the back of the book is an extensive list of possible changes you can make to ensure a disease-free life. Yes, it is a long list. But if you read the book carefully, you'll see that you don't have to adhere to each one. You decide. You pick what makes most sense for you. I doubt even the world's healthiest person could do all of it. Do what makes sense, and profit from it!
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on September 25, 2003
This book has made a huge difference in the way I look at health. This easy-to-read book makes me feel empowered to take my health into my own hands, as opposed to being at the mercy of doctors who may simiply put a band-aid on the problem. I find the book extremely helpful in defining how to go to the source of my health issues, and be proactive to reverse them. I now know how to eat healthily and adopt a lifestyle that will allow me to minimize my health issues and increase my longevity. This book has changed my life! Thank you Dr. Liponis and Dr. Hyman!
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on September 28, 2005
General Content: Ultraprevention ranks right up there with Dr. Andrew Weil's book as the most sensible and sound advice currently available on nutrition. Written by Mark Liponis and Mark Hyman, co-directors of medicine at Canyon Ranch, Ultraprevention preaches a straight forward approach to nutrition which utilizes the term "NCR". NCR stands for nutrient to calorie ratio. The authors advise to consume foods that have a high NCR (e.g., organics fruits and vegetables and plant proteins) and shun foods with a low NCR (e.g, "white" foods such as white flour and white bread, saturated fat from animal sources) or NCR (e.g., junk food).

One of my favorite parts of this audiobook is that they included a very helpful booklet which summarizes the main points of the book (why don't more publishers do this?!). It provides a great way to review the book and is great for leaving around your kitchen or taking to the grocery store. The only thing that I wasn't 100% thrilled with in Ultraprevention was that the authors mentioned so many things that are bad for you without acknowledging the fact that worrying too much about the food you're eating can actually be counterproductive as the stress can worsen your health.

That's minor however and overall this is an excellent book to listen to if you're interested in making improvements to your diet. Couple that with a wonderfully useful guidebook to review and you have a winner here.

Audio-Specific Content: I listened to the abridged version (3 cassettes, approximately 4.5 hours) of this book. It is read by the authors and well done. The abridgement seemed OK but given how much I enjoyed the content of this title, I'm seriously considering picking up the book to see what, if anything, I missed. Overall, this was an excellent title and the helpful review booklet was a huge plus for me.
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on December 26, 2008
This is truly a great book that I think just about everybody should read. However, like another review said, it's nothing new. The advice for healthy living has been around for decades in the natural healing (read books by Norman Walker, Dr. Richard Schulze, Bernard Jensen) community and probably for thousands of years for practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's funny how the medical community acts as if nothing is real until a doctor or scientist claims to have discovered it. Which leads me to my number one criticism of this book (which you could argue is not really a fault of the book at all).

What in the world do they teach people in med school? I'm dumbfounded by how completely clueless some of the doctors are in the anecdotal stories in the book. Don't get me wrong, for trauma surgery and other such emergencies the modern medical profession is truly amazing. However, for degenerative disease they are worse than useless. The book states that the 3rd leading cause of death in the US is medical treatment. I would also say this is a little unfair to the medical profession because most people who get to the point of needing such treatment have already dug 90% of their own grave through poor lifestyle choices.

Having said all that, I think this is a great book because it describes in detail what's wrong with the current mostly drug based approach to treating disease and also tells you what to do about it. It also has a message of recommending that YOU take responsibility for your own health instead of just handing all your power over to your doctor, preacher, favorite health guru, etc. and expecting to magically get well. The authors of this book are doing a great thing with their practice and also by spreading the word about healthy living and for this I am grateful. I'll probably even buy a couple more copies of this book to give as gifts to people I know who need it.
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on September 17, 2003
What a fabulous book, and filled with easy to understand tips and advice you can immediately put to use. These 2 doc's make more sense than the US mint. And from their stories, they are living examples that you can survive cancer and chronic fatigue. I really like the list of "ten tests your doctor should be doing" and their whole philosophy that good health is more than just the absence of disease. Their six week plan seems do-able, and their stories about patients ring so true that I'm willing to give their plan a try. So phooey on SouthBeach and to heck with Atkins! Let common sense, good nutrition and reasonable exercise save my life and yours. The book is easy reading... and be sure to give it to a friend or loved one when you're done with it.
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on November 29, 2003
Notice how the previous review, "This book could also kill you", begins. "If this book is meant to persuade you to stop taking important medications..." It is obvious that this person hasn't read the book. The reviewer is speculating what the book might say. How about actually reading the book before posting your prejudices, friend? Doctors Hyman and Liponis were on the TODAY show today and had a lengthy segment in which to give a clear overview of the book. They were able to discuss their previous illnesses and why there is a problem with treating symptoms without regard for discovering and treating the cause. This is the reality of pharmeceutically indoctrinated doctors. Many will be offended by this message. In a real sense, there is a religious war being waged against complimentary practitioners by conventional doctors who cherish their beliefs and don't want to be confused facts that threaten establishment thinking. This is precisely what happened to Dr. Atkins, once branded a quack, and why it took sooooo long to eke out the gains in credibility his findings deserve. It is now being assimiliated into the mainstream because the facts can no longer be refuted. But make no mistake, he had a religious war on his hands, which is always the case when you go against the establishment powers-that-be.
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on January 22, 2004
This is a special book because it has extensive information about a variety of causes for health problems, and how to correct the situation. It tells you how to make changes to prevent problems. It tells you how to get tests performed to see where you are at with certain risk factors--this was particularly useful because some assessments are not "traditional" enough for the average doctor to immediately know how to get the test done and you'll need to know what labs do them. The food lists are excellent, to let you know what is best, next best, least good.... A ton of useful information from reputable authors, about health issues that are important but often undervalued by mainstream. A very interesting and useful book. Also highly recommended with this book is "Effortless Wellbeing: The Missing Ingredients for Authentic Wellness" by Evan Finer. Effortless Wellbeing will provide a concise program of mental and physical exercises, and some potent principles, to help you further your overall wellness.
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