Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sugar Nation

How would you like to read a book that upends a lot of today’s standard advice about diabetes and prediabetes? Not another one! Well, here it is. Jeff O’Connell has written a book for American sugar eaters of today. He is a fitness writer and bodybuilder who tells about sugar and prediabetes and their impact on his life. The subtitle of the book Sugar Nation gets to the core of his memoir: The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple way to Beat it.

O’Connell tells his story about discovering that he has prediabetes. His father died of diabetes.  O’Connell didn’t just take medication or give up, but rather did research about this disease that showed him where many Americans eat the American diet, get minimal exercise and get sick. The culprit is the huge amount of sugars and carbohydrates that we are eating combined with sedentary lifestyles. He shows that diabetes brings with it complications including heart disease, kidney shutdown, nerve damage, and amputations.

He says that we have the tools at our disposal to prevent and reverse the disease, but many people aren’t using them. He says that many doctors know little about diet and nutrition and focus on treatment rather than prevention. He presents interviews with and data from many doctors who work with diabetics. He takes us into the lives of people with diabetes who follow the standard medical advice and see their disease advance. He sees his diabetic father suffering at the end of his life.

The tools are low carbohydrate diets and fats, and keeping physically fit. Diet and exercise. He weaves his own story through much of what he presents, which makes it readable and easy to understand. There was a lot that he says he didn’t know at the beginning of the story, particularly “I didn’t know that the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to do the exact opposite of what the majority of mainstream weight-loss experts recommend.” (p. 3.) He says also, “What I did know? That my limbs, heart, and kidneys were worth a hell of a lot more to me than hamburger buns, French fries, and glazed doughnuts. So I changed my ways with a vengeance.” (p. 3.)

O’Connell gives information about reactive hypoglycemia, a condition that happens to some people who are normal weight or thin but have prediabetes. He is one of them. He says there is not a lot of good data about it. But it occurs in a lot of diabetic patients.

A lot is packed into this book It’s worth reading.

O’Connell, Jeff, Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America’s Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat it. 1st ed., Hyperion Books, 2010.