1,789 of 1,909 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! (Hardcover)
Let me cut right to the chase: Do I think this book is worth buying? Yes. With reservations. Before I get to them, though, let me tell you why this is such a valuable resource. Dr. Hyman understands that there are a myriad of factors that affect both our weight and our overall health. One of the things I find most helpful about this book is the focus on environmental factors such as pollution, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics in our food. Taken a step or two further he has nothing good to say about heavily processed food, and while there are processed foods that I genuinely enjoy like Nutella (which I will no longer eat because it contains palm oil, which is a whole other issue) I recognize they're not good for me, and I try to avoid anything that falls into this category. Fair enough, I say, it's relatively simple to cut much of the processed food out of your diet. You just have to make smarter choices and work a little harder.
It's also relatively easy to buy foods that are organic, rBGH-free, free of high fructose corn syrup and so forth (non-GMO foods are harder.) Relatively easy. Not simple, and certainly not cheap. If you make a commitment to avoiding these things, it takes some homework, and rebudgeting. But doing these two things are good starts.
Taking supplements because our diets will probably never provide the level of nutrients many of us need, that's a good start too. Again, quality supplements aren't cheap, and by now you're beginning to see that good health is a bigger commitment than you might imagine. It's not just about eating less and jogging for an hour each morning. Far from it. It's about making the choices I've mentioned, and as Dr. Hyman points out, it's about advocating for change in every aspect of life that affects our health. Big business isn't going to worry about whether we're fat and miserable, they're just going to keep shoveling cheap, sugary, salty food at us and watching their bottom line. Industry isn't going to clean up the air and water voluntarily because it costs them money. So part of taking control of your health is becoming an advocate for everyone's health.
Exercise is another important part of Dr. Hyman's program, and I can testify to the effectiveness of even a little exercise. It has improved my blood glucose dramatically and put a big dent in my depression. We have to move to be healthy. I hate to say it because I'm sedentary by nature, but there it is. We have to move.
Where I tend to disagree with Dr. Hyman is in the way he's structured his program. Now I have no argument with the idea that cutting out whole food groups will help pinpoint whether you have a problem with them. That's just common sense. What I do have a problem with is that you start the program by cutting out all sugar, including the so-called "healthy" sweeteners like honey, agave, stevia and all artificial ones; all gluten, all other flour products, even gluten free ones, all dairy, all processed foods, all grain, all starchy vegetables and all fruit except for 1/2 cup of berries a day. In fact, he says you should start by throwing out everything in these categories, just dump it. I say, I'm sorry, but who -- apart from someone in a blind panic about his or her health problems -- has the money to do that, not to mention the will power to wake up one morning knowing that you're going to spend at least six weeks eating virtually nothing but lean meat or fish, legumes and leafy vegetables? I can't. I can't afford it and I sure know that I'd maybe last two days on a regimen like that before I'd be running out for a burger or some cookies. To me it's like setting yourself up for failure and self-flagellation.
You do start adding foods back into your diet once you've... I guess de-toxed is the word. Not that I necessarily buy into detoxification diets, but hey, whatever, right? You add them in and you pay attention to how you feel as you do. And that makes a lot of sense in terms of discovering where your problems lie, if any -- there are group of questionnaires at the beginning of the book to help pinpoint where some of your problems may lie, and no matter what your score, Dr. Hyman says you need his plan. Well yeah; why would he say you don't right? So so you might well ask what is the point of all those questions? But I think they're valuable because they can show you where you really may be having problems. Sensibly, to me anyway, that's the place to start. By all means work the program, but work it in a targeted manner. There's so much in it that's good that you have to start feeling better if you do even part of what he recommends. If you can do it all, then wow! Go you! You're a star. But for most of us, that's simply not going to happen no matter how much we may want to do it.
Bottom line: This is a commonsense plan save for the fact that he doesn't seem to accept that human spirits are always willing, but the flesh is very, very weak in most cases. It's certainly a plan that's worth working with, but if you find it overwhelming, you'd be better off working at it slowly than giving up on it entirely.
ETA: I won't be monitoring this review any longer, and so can't answer questions about it. If you do have serious questions, please either buy the book or ask a professional. Neither I, nor the True Believers are actually qualified to answer medical questions.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-10 of 152 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 29, 2012 5:57:16 PM PST
Organic Girl says:
Tracy: I did it. It isn't hard. When you want your health back, 6-8 weeks is not hard. For people like me who are overweight, spending YEARS trying to lose weight is WORTH 6-8 weeks of resetting your fasting insulin levels. I had a mind shift about 6 weeks into this, where suddenly I was "sane" about food for the first time in my life. He isn't suggesting you give some of these things up forever (dairy, yes), but honestly, I feel better than I did when I was 35 (I'm 56) and I've lost almost 70 lbs. on his plan. This is much more than de-tox. It is resetting your fasting insulin levels to CHANGE how you respond to food, how your body utilizes what you eat and how your metabolism works. If you knew Hyman (I do, I'm one of his patients), you'd know he's passionate about health and never gives up. This book can change anyone's life who is willing to try it. If you think of it as a way to sanity instead of deprivation, it's much more doable.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 8:59:28 PM PST
Yes, I do know that he isn't asking us to give these things up forever, and I noted that in my review. And I also think that those who can do the program as it stands are are both well-disciplined and fortunate. But this book is going out into a far larger market, and the severity of the six weeks (and the high likelihood of failure) is likely to turn people off forever. Suggesting that there is a lot to be gained from following even parts of the program until you're able to work up to the full one is a way of trying to make the book appeal to a larger audience, which is what Dr Hyman deserves.
Sometimes you have to prioritize. That's just a fact of life.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 2:25:43 AM PST
Tracy, what is amazing when you try this out is, that you realize you don't have those cravings for junk any longer! You also can do this, everyone in the 'far larger market' can do this. It is your perspective that this may not work for others and you. If you can afford a burger you can afford this. All the best!
Posted on Mar 1, 2012 6:30:10 AM PST
Greg Bulmash says:
When you consider that insulin (without insurance) can run as high as $500-600 a month, your economic argument fails. I went from $500 a month of insulin to $0 in 3 weeks by going on a restrictive diet (not this one, but similar). A Rotisserie chicken a couple of peppers, some celery, and greens will run you $12 to make a chicken salad that provides 5-6 servings. $2.40 a person a meal is around what you'd get on food stamps. If you cook the chicken yourself or buy inexpensive cuts like the thigh, you can bring the cost down even farther.
And I'll tell you this, when your insulin need starts dropping so fast and you stop having to give yourself 4 shots a day, this diet is EASY to stick to, because every tempting cheat food comes with the question "is this food worth taking a shot for?"
Another way of putting it is that I was spending $500 a month on medicine to keep the food I was eating from killing me. The obvious solution that I fought against for years was that I had to figure out which foods were killing me and stop eating them, no matter how cheap, convenient, or tasty they were.
As for giving up everything, that's just common systems engineering (and your body *is* a system) or debugging. You remove every possible source of the problem, then start adding them back in one at a time to see when the system breaks.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 9:18:57 AM PST
There are always exceptions, Greg. I never said it was impossible to do. I said that I can't afford to just toss out all the food in the house that is unacceptable and replace it with the things that are, and a lot of other people are probably in the same boat. Your argument pre-supposes that everyone who uses this book is an insulin-dependent diabetic, which is, of course, false. This book is aimed at EVERYONE as I have pointed out several times, and not everyone has a reality that allows for wholesale change overnight.
I'm happy to know this works for you. Keep up the good work. With luck, we'll all get to a point where we can accomplish what we need to accomplish. But not all of us will do it in the same way.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 9:19:56 AM PST
Milo, buying a burger for $3 is vastly different from throwing out hundreds of dollars of food in your pantry. Glad this is working for you.
Posted on Mar 1, 2012 9:44:58 AM PST
Concerned Cit says:
"I sure know that I'd maybe last two days on a regimen like that before I'd be running out for a burger or some cookies".
Sounds like a self preset-fail before even beginng the six to eight weeks.
Best wishes though,
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2012 9:59:53 AM PST
I'm sixty. I think I know my limitations pretty well by now, Nic. Thanks for trying to tell me otherwise, though.
Posted on Mar 1, 2012 11:28:11 PM PST
I have been on the Junger's and Lipman's versions of this for first three weeks and then it turned in to 3 months, because it felt so amazing to be without sugar and all the "whites". I highly highly recommend for you to just give it a try, a little go and see how you feel. The first days aren't of course easy but it really pays back in the end. And now my body works in a totally different way. No more 4pm cravings and my moods are so much better and wake up at 6am with full of energy (and I live in the northern Scandinavia and it is dark in the winter).
Posted on Mar 2, 2012 3:45:17 PM PST
Michelle K says:
Loved the review Tracy
I agree with Tracy, although I also know some people do have the will power to do this, especially if they have support systems in place or like Organic Girl, she's got him in her corner.
I went on the Candida diet years ago & sugar is the hardest thing to give up over everything else. That's when I started eating healthy, but that still didn't help me. For years I've eaten mainly fresh steamed veggies, salads, my brown rice, corn pasta, soba noodles, etc. I had eliminated all dairy, but I found the organic cheddar cheese didn't upset me.
Sugar is off & on, sometimes crave, other times I don't & when I eat some deserts, it really kills me. Even if I eat fruit it affects me which is a real bummer. Some fruits go straight to my head.
I'm no longer a huge fruit eater, way more a veggie eater which I love.
During the Candida diet, I also had the ND student cheering me on & it was still hard & I only lasted 3 months before I caved in & started eating ice cream (it was summer time & the twistys were too enticing, but yes, when I eat the ice cream, I feel sick to my stomach).
Last year when a holistic practitioner told me I'd have to give up gluten, I freaked & bowed out. Most gluten free products SUCK IMO. I'm a real foodie, so it's hard for me to eat cardboard.
Unfortunately I moved last year to Panama where they have a terrible diet & eat white everything (you have no idea, it's disgusting), plus the veggies where I am are GROSS (to think I moved here thinking the produce was fantastic & cheap).
Getting my brown rice is really hard & very expensive, but from what I'm hearing, you can't eat that either since you have to eliminate all carbs right?
Money is tight now, so I have been buying their fonda food which of course includes their white rice.
I'll be moving to another province soon where the good veggies supposedly lie , so hopefully then I can get back to eating my veggies, although some veggies they just don't have. I'll try to give up the carbs & see if I can swing this for 6 weeks.
Have a good one everyone : )