Customer Reviews: Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes Without Drugs
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on November 3, 2007
My daughter's neurologist suggested a vegan diet when she had two possible MS episodes last year. She became a vegan and has had no subsequent episodes. I read about the benefits of being a vegan in Dr. Barnard's book and in Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman. I asked my diabetic husband if he would try it for three weeks; it has now been 10 months. He has lost 40 pounds and his A1C level has gone from 8.3 to 6.0, his doctor has taken him off Metformin, and his neuropathy is almost gone. I have lost 35 pounds and my blood pressure has gone from 140/90 to 110/75, my acid reflux is gone, and I feel great. Four of our friends have become vegans, and they are having similar results. We cook wonderful foods and never go hungry. There are great vegan recipes on the internet as well as some very good vegan cookbooks. We particularly enjoy ethnic vegan food (North African, Ethiopian, Thai, Mexican, Italian). We rarely eat tofu, but have many sources of the nutrients we need to be healthy. In addition, I buy organic or locally grown food almost entirely. I avoid foods with added salt, additives, preservatives, and, of course, things like trans-fats and high-fructose corn syrup - and processed foods, in general. I work more than full time, and I manage to shop and cook to keep our healthy lifestyle.
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on February 8, 2007
OK, so the diet is very much like the Dean Ornish program for reversing heart disease. A decade ago, I couldn't follow the diet, but it's funny what diabetes-related eye surgery, plus the wider availability of soy foods, can accomplish.

The basic message is simple: No animal fat or protein, eat all the low glycemic-index carbs you want, and reduce all fats as much as possible. The fat reduction has been the hard part for me, though my fat intake has been greatly reduced.

Results? In one month: Blood glucose average is now what my fasting glucose used to be. I have cut one of my meds in half. My medicated blood pressure is now within a very acceptable range. I have lost more than 10 pounds. I am happier, feel healthier, and I am not hungry all the time!

To make this program work, you need to commit to it. But, I have found this much easier than my Weight Watchers experience five years ago and don't really feel the urge to cheat on this diet.
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on March 8, 2010
Almost a year ago I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 64. I thought that I would escape its impact through a relatively reasonable lifestyle even though my father died of it at age 68 after having it for 25 years. The diagnosis hit me like a brick...there was no way I was going to suffer its possible diverse ramifications or food exchanges like my father endured.
A trip to the bookstore somehow allowed me to find this fantastic information. My A1C was 7.3 and glucose was at 183 when tested and after a week of reading the book carefully and spending a few weeks coming up to speed at the grocery store both my wife and I became vegan.
The results have been nothing short of astounding. Even the family doctor who was prepared to start me on a drug regimen is totally amazed as I progressively lost weight, lowered LDL and triglicerides and raised HDL. I have lost 25#, the A1C is now at 5.9 and feel better than I have since college age. I found everything he predicted to be the truth (which as we all know in todays' world is in short supply. We will continue to develop our cooking skills and look forward to even more success.

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on June 25, 2010
This book will change your life if you follow it and really want to get and have your diabetes under control and maybe reverse it. We haven't got that far yet. My husband has been following the program for 1 1/2 months. He's had type 2 diabetes for 6 years and been insilin dependant for 5 of the 6 years. He told his Dr and Endocrinologist from day 1 that this was to hard for him to deal with, that he couldn't do it, couldn't count carbs, etc. etc. he worked a rotating shift schedule so he'd always be off balance. This was an excuse, he was in denial. His A1C was never under '12' and the highest was 13.5 His daily blood sugars were always close to 300 and sometime over 400! The man felt miserable all the time. When he finaly hit rock bottom. He saw Dr. Barnard's program on PBS about 2 months ago, bought his book and started following it. After only 2 weeks following the book I'm so happy to tell you his blood sugar was down below 200 on a regular basis. It's been about 6 weeks now, his blood sugars are around 120, he feels so much better, like night and day. Weekly faxes in a glucose log to his doctor who's reduced the amount of insulin he needs twice already and he's made the decision to go Vegan. I thought it could never happen to a man who every Tuesday ate Popeye's Fried Chicken,took left overs to work for a few days. Ate Ice Cream every night, snacked on Potato Chips daily!! Anything he shouldn't eat he did. He was commiting suicide by diet slowly over the years. Since reading this book and following the program he's eating better everyday & everyday he eat's better he feels better and doesn't crave or have any interest or miss any of the old food he use to put in his body. If this stubborn hard headed man can make this much of a change I think anyone can, if they want to. He now cuts and prepares all the veg's he's going to eat and is finding enjoyment in it. Never thought I'd see the day from a man that never set foot in the kitchen before except to go to the frig! Dr. Barnard's Program was a Godsend.
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on October 5, 2010
We bought this book back in Feb. 2010. My father has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes twenty years ago. About 4 years ago he got lymphoma, two different types. After going through treatments for the cancer, the diabetes went completely out of control. His fasting blood sugars were 230-250 range. He was on Metformin and Glyburide. Finally his doctor said Insulin would be next, and someone suggested this book. He failed Atkin's. Not sure if it was a compliance issue or if the diabetes was too far gone.
It took three weeks to see any difference in his fasting blood sugars. He took his blood sugar at least four times a day. After three weeks, he tested one morning and his blood sugar, fasting, had finally dropped to 150's. A month later 120's. At that time, his day time blood sugars were 150 to 200.
Three months out, his fasting blood sugars dropped to the 120s. His day time sugars no longer went past 160, 170.
Six months out, his fasting is 95-100. His daytime 120-140. The other day, he had a fasting blood sugar of 70.
He has been off Metformin since the fourth month. His glyburide has been cut to half pill twice a day. His attending is considering cutting that one altogether. When I sit down and review his book, I see a downward trend in the blood sugar, from the third week on. It just slowly came into normal range.
He eats everything that the book allows:
Sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans. Fruit. He makes his own bread with whole wheat flour. He oatmeal everyday. He puts raisins in his bread and eats it toasted with no butter. He did not appear to be over weight when he started but he has lost about 15 pounds.
This diet has really been a life saver. If you are dealing with diabetes, give this an honest chance. Very easy to follow and you will not be hungry.
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on March 30, 2007
I bought my diabetic husband this book for his birthday. He read the book cover to cover in 3 days and radically changed his diet (not difficult for me since I'm already a vegetarian). He has lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks and is FINALLY committed to making the kind of changes that will help him live longer. His diabetes has been under control for quite some time, but on Dr. Barnard's new diet, he feels younger, healthier, stronger, and, most importantly, OPTIMISTIC after reading Dr. Barnard's book. Just one note of caution, we have modified the diet a bit since eating all that soy can cause some issues with thyroid medication and hormone levels. We recommend that you speak with your doctor before starting the diet.
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on December 14, 2007
The premise of this book is that animal products and especially animals fats inhibit our cells capability to absorb the sugar in our blood streams. Insulin is no longer effective at causing the cell doors to open and absorb the sugars--they are blocked by the sludge caused by fats and especially animal fats. Barnard has based much of this theory on research studies on mice that shows animal products/fat inhibits cells from absorbing sugar. I did some research and there have been more recent studies to support this theory since the book was written. Normally insulin causes the GLUT4 transporters to come to the surface of our cells and allow the sugar in our blood streams to be absorbed. But, for people who are insulin resistant, it takes more and more insulin to get the GLUT4s to come to the surface and cause the cells to absorb sugar. Barnard believes that animal products inhibit the GLUT4 transporters from functioning correctly and therefore the sugar stays in the bloodstream without being absorbed by our cells. His program is aimed at eliminating the fats that bind the cells from opening up to absorb the sugar and the primary way he suggests to do this is to eliminate all animal products and thereby get the fat out of our cells and make them more effective at operating normally and absorbing the sugar. The small amount of research that support this theory and the testimonies I have read encourages me that this is an approach worth pursuing. I also hope that it can direct scientists to find cures to eliminate the fat build up in our cells and allow GLUT4 to perform properly.

His explanation of this theory is very good and if the rest of the book was as good, I would give it 5 stars. But, in other ways the book is out of date and also not fully balanced in approach. It is outdated, because GI (Glycemic Index) does not include the fiber content of foods. GI is based on the sugar levels in the food by itself, not in our bodies. In the last decade the GL (Glycemic Load) has been favored because it includes the fiber in foods and provides a more accurate measurement. GLs have been determined by measuring the blood sugar levels of people who have eaten the one specific food at frequent intervals to determine how the food changes sugar levels. The results of lots of people who have been tested are then averaged and then the GL for each food was calculated. Since the GL is based on how bodies respond to the actual food, which includes the slowing down of sugar build up because of the fiber content, it is much more accurate than looking at the GI which is based on the sugar only and not how our bodies process and generate sugar from the food. To overcome this I have used the GL instead of GI and this has actually allowed some other fruits to be included in the diet and eliminate some others. A very good book on this is "The Glycemic-Load Diet" by Rob Thompson.

A second concern I have about his program is that he suggests many prepared frozen and packaged meals and packaged soups. But there is no consideration for the sodium these products contain. Amy is a brand he often suggests and when I looked in the store at some of their products, I found one meal would contain close to or more than the recommended daily allowances for sodium. Just one of Amy's soups have 1200-1600 mg of Sodium and the serving of some of the frozen meals recommended have just as much sodium. Too much sodium, more water retention equals higher blood pressure and more stress on our hearts that can cause them to thicken like any other muscle. If you make more meals this is not a problem, but I am reading carefully the labels on frozen foods and pre-prepared foods and find very, very few that allow me to stay under the 2000-2500 mgs of Sodium guidelines recommended per day.

The last weakness in my opinion is that the information on supplements that have been researched and found to help the GLUT4 transporter to function better does not include many of the better ones being used to help reduce peoples blood sugars. Among these are the trace mineral Vanadium and herbs like Banaba which have helped dramatically reduce blood sugars in many people are not even included. To get a better treatment on supplements I would recommend Dr. Julian Whitaker's book, "Reversing Diabetes: Reduce or Even Eliminate Your Dependence on Insulin or Oral Drugs." It was written 5 years before this book came out, so I was surprised to find the supplement section lacking. Together these books should provide a balanced and holistic approach for a person to help reverse their diabetes.

Update August 2011:
The book "Death to Diabetes" is one of the best about reversing diabetes. I found that one of the most important things to do is to exercise about two hours after eating your last meal each day. This is because your sugar levels stay in a good range for 10 to 12 hours each day in contrast to potentially being high for hours when your sleeping. I fully realized the importance of this by taking a lot of sugar level reading at the end of the day and after exercising and came to the conclusion that these are the most important sugar level blood tests to take each day. Taking a reading after exercise helped me to learn just how long I need to exercise to get my sugar in tolerance until the next morning. The morning blood sugar test is no where even close to being as important in my opinion since movement of large muscles is what uses the most sugar and when your sleeping there is not much muscle movement.

Exercising after dinner in conjunction with diet changes has reduced my a1C to the 5.5 to 5.9 range since 2008 (before this on meds it was in the 6.3 to 7.3 range for a couple of years). I have also found by doing this that other side effects I had from diabetes have gone away or been reduced. For example the peripheral neuropathy has reduced dramatically so I no longer feel any burning and only slight discomfort; plus other things that were out of tolerance like testosterone levels are now in the middle of the normal range.

Most doctors have been taught it is impossible to reverse diabetes and want to put patients on meds right away to first reduce sugar produced by liver (Metformin) and next to increase the insulin production, to finally insulin injection. I was on two meds for close to three years and then did some research and learned that the meds cause Type II diabetics to produce more insulin and thus make there cells more and more resistant to insulin and then a lot of bad things begin to happen to organs, arteries, etc. From what I studied it is my opinion that sugar is not the problem, but only a CHEAP means to measure how the insulin in our bodies is processing the sugar. The main problem in my opinion from my research is the excess insulin which is hard to measure. In fact insulin is estimated using a C-Pep test using a correlation between it an insulin to determine how the pancreas is producing insulin. I encourage anyone who reads this to do their own research and learn how to make the changes needed to avoid the ever spiraling road to worsening health caused by diabetes and even the meds used to treat the disease. My doctor thought I was crazy to try the program I developed, but after a year he started to accept what happened saying, "sometimes approaches like what you took work, but more often than not they do not." It takes a lot of determination to make these kinds of life changes and after sharing my approach with some people I have found that the people who do not get results usually are not committed to doing the program. I have a 7 foot tall friend who is very disciplined who went on the program and went from 315 LBs to 245 LBs in 4 months and has had normal a1C tests ever since.

As a research scientist my theory to explain this is based on the fact that most cells are re-newed every 18-24 months (except brain cells) and since the cells are created from amino acids and proteins based on RNA and DNA synthesis (which is always the same) they are initially created as normal cells. If these new cells are allowed to develop in a low insulin environment the GLUT-4 transporters will not develop a resistance to insulin and effectively respond to sugar levels/demand in a normal fashion. This highlights the importance of making life changes that emphasize a diet based on low gylcemic loads and doing appropriate exercise after dinner every day.
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on March 21, 2010
The reviewers who blame the author for not mentioning exercising in his book are absolutely wrong. Of course exercising is good for one's overall health but it is completely outside of the scope of this book. The author specifically talks about ways of reversing diabetes with a proper diet instead of using drugs. There is a whole range of other positive things that you can do to improve your overall health but this book is not an encyclopedia of natural health but a program for reversing diabetes.

And what an interesting and effective program that is! This is a book about a great healthy nutritional plan not necessarily for diabetics only. It is a surprisingly easy plan to follow as it never makes you hungry but you will end up with a lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol level, and also lower body weight. The recipes are tasty and they don't result in the feeling of meat deprivation, which is a good prerequisite for keep the diet for a long term, hopefully for life...

Dr. Barnard in a respectable American scientist. His book is well researched and his system is scientifically proven to bring good results. Yet as the same time, the book is free of doctor's jargon and is easy to read.

But Dr. Barnard is not alone in his approach to treating diabetes. In the book Cure th e Incurable, a renowned Russian scientist writes the following in the chapter about diabetes:

"Thirty or forty years ago, when we didn't have today's abundance of highly processed refined food, deli products, (...) diabetes was a rare disease. People who got it were usually advanced in years and their pancreas wasn't efficient any longer due to old age. (...) We know that our digestive system, if fed natural non-processed food, can produce all hormones necessary for our body. It means that we can get rid of diabetes by putting some efforts into our diet..."

For those who would like to read more about not only the ways of treating diabetes but also other so called "incurable" diseases, and for ways of keeping the body fit and healthy in a natural way, in addition to above mentioned book I also suggest reading Live 150 - Your Body Maintenance Handbook.
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on May 12, 2007
Great Program with scientific evidence that will help most all diabetics. Have been on this program for 5 weeks. Within the first week my blood glucose levels dropped 15-20 points. In the last four weeks I have maintained within 80-110 on my morning checks. Have used many of the recipes and amazingly am not hungry at all. I have eliminated the nightly dosage of Metformin. My goal is to eliminate all medications. The American Diabetes Association should rethink their diet plans.
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on January 7, 2008
My wife and I have been telling our friends and family that developing diabetes is about the best thing that has ever happened to me, health-wise. Five months ago, I was in poor shape, primarily because of the type work I do (mediation counseling for stepfamilies via the internet and in office sessions). I ate when I got a chance and hardly exercised at all. Then my doctor told me, after a routine blood test, that my cholesterol was twice what it should be and my blood glucose was almost three times where it should be - I had diabetes, he said, get ready for a life of blood checks, medication, and strict diets.

Well, I rebelled and went in search of a way to beat diabetes. I read several books on how to "reverse" the condition, and one in particular, "Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes," spoke so convincingly about the power of diet to correct my body's problems, that I decided to jump on the program wholeheartedly. My doctor reluctantly said he'd let me try it for six weeks to see if it did any good.

At my six-week check up my doctor said (literally) "Wow! I can't believe how much improvement you've made."

Here's the program in three steps:
1) cut out all animal products completely - all meat, milk, cheese, eggs, chicken, fish, etc. Everything. The reason is that cholesterol only comes from animal sources. When you cut out the meat, you cut out the cholesterol.
2) cut down on all oils as much as possible, including extra virgin olive oil.
3) eat a diet heavy in low glycemic index foods - these are foods that are dense in structure so they break down slowly in your stomach and ease into your system.

I thought quitting meat would be hard, but I like to eat, so I dived into alternatives - such as tofu, pasta, vegetables, etc, and I've gotten caught up in experimenting with new options. I quit just eating either chicken or fish or a hamburger at each meal and really got creative. I eat four to five times per day - I stay full! and we were both surprised at how fast I've lost so much weight.

Now, after a full five months, all my numbers are in the "good" range, I feel great, my wife says I look lots better, and I have so much energy I dont' know what to do with it all! And I've lead several other diabetes sufferers to the same program with the same results. I'll never go back.
(BTW, my doctor started the program, too!)
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