Monday, April 18, 2016

Check It Out

The Diabetes Reset: Avoid It. Control It. Even Reverse It.
George L. King, M.D.
New York: Workman Publishing Company, 2014
Main Stacks: Call Number: RC 662.18 K56 2014

 I’m a diabetic and the best recommendation I can give this book is that after looking at it for review purposes I purchased it! Dr. King promises “If you follow the evidence-based approaches in this book, you will begin seeing immediate improvements in your body’s ability to metabolize blood glucose – improvements that will continue to grow over time. At the same time you will also see remarkable improvements in your overall health.”

I didn’t buy this book because of these promises as I’m too much of a doubter to believe them and I’m not going to try to sell them to you. What I was sold on was the author’s writing style which made it easy to understand complex processes in the body, what causes and changes them, and why. I was also impressed by his practical suggestions for making changes.

While I’m not convinced that following his suggestions will reverse my diabetes I do think they (with the possible exception of the “Rural Asian Diet” - RAD) will help. The RAD plan is very controversial because of its rule that 70% of foods eaten should be high-fiber, complex carbs. However, King backs up his statements with recent studies, most of which were published between 2005 and 2014. For example, his bibliography for Strategy 1 (the RAD plan) cites 23 studies. Also, the author should be very credible as he’s the Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Joslin Diabetes Center and many of his arguments are based on studies done at the Center. In addition, he teaches at Harvard Medical and he won the 2015 American Diabetes Association’s award which recognizes “a leading scientist who has made outstanding contributions in the field of diabetes-related macrovascular complications and risk factors.”

In the beginning of his book King briefly discusses five blood tests diabetics should know about and the four “drivers of insulin resistance”. He then goes into much greater detail explaining his eight strategies for resetting diabetes: 1) the RAD plan which calls for an intake of 70% carbs, 15% protein, and 15% fat; 2) reducing body weight by 5% to 7%; 3) increasing the muscles’ glucose-absorbing ability; 4) activating the body’s “calorie-burning brown fat”; 5) maximizing the body’s “inflammation-fighting ability”; 6) getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night; 7) reducing any stress, anxiety, and/or depression one has; and 8) increasing the level of antioxidants in the body. These chapters explain very clearly why each strategy is important, debunk arguments against it, discuss studies which support it, and include helpful explanations on how to accomplish the goal. For example, in the chapter about the RAD diet there are meal plans, snack suggestions, charts giving the fiber, calorie, and fat content for various foods, and more. In the chapter on muscle glucose absorption the author describes how to create your own strength training routine. He discusses several resistance exercise options (weight machines, tubes, dumbbells, etc.) and gives illustrations and descriptions of exercises stating which muscles each works.

The second portion of the book starts with a self-quiz which will give the reader an idea of which risk factors may be affecting his or her ability to process glucose the most. Dr. King then presents a “Twelve Week Implementation Plan” which helps the reader gradually integrate all eight strategies into his/her life. For each week the author gives a detailed goal or goals and includes several pages where the reader can chart his progress. These include daily fat, fiber and calorie intake; minutes of aerobic activity; hours slept; etc.

Review by Sidney Laramie, SWC Librarian

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