The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! by Mark Hyman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 stars but only if you take out and/or discount everything he says about supplements.
Regarding Hyman's assertion that we all need supplements - I realize that there are people out there who are "metabolically" sick, so that an individual who is diabetic and taking insulin is completely different than someone who is trying to take a more proactive approach to avoiding lifestyle diseases. And while some of these people might benefit from taking supplements, to simply take these "drugs" which do impact our bodies much the same way more traditional pharmaceuticals do, seems irresponsible at best and maybe dangerous at worst. I get that he is a doctor, and maybe under his care with specific testing and monitoring these supplements offer patients a better alternative to the conventional treatment of diseases like diabetes, but to encourage people to blindly take a virtual cocktail of supplements sort of feels like hypocrisy on Hyman's part.
I also do not accept that we all need supplements. That's just an alarmist you better buy my product and pop this pill or else. There is tons of research out there to support that supplements are not only not necessary for health but could even be detrimental to it.
Supplements aside, Hyman's book offers a lot of insight into the role that lifestyle plays in promoting health or disease and highlights some solid strategies for making better choices.
He promotes a whole foods, plant-based diet, regular exercise, stress-management, and good sleep. In my mind and experience both personal and professional, these really are the four pillars of good health. He also advocates for personalized medicine/functional medicine, which is a emerging branch of medicine that focuses on promoting health as a means of preventing and curing disease as opposed to simply treating disease without addressing the underlying causes behind it. This is an idea many practitioners embrace, even if managed care has limited their ability to successfully practice it with their own patients. It's the difference between what's ideal and what is practical based on the restraints that many medical professionals are forced to work against.
Perhaps the greatest strength of Hyman's book is that it asserts that we can both prevent and cure disease by the choices we make. Just because you have a family history of Type 2 diabetes or even Type 2 diabetes doesn't mean that you are destined to a life on insulin. There is a tremendous amount of research to support this notion. Better health, optimal health, really is within our control, most of the time. And if we hope to get a handle on non-communicable diseases (aka preventable diseases) we need a paradigm shift in how we approach disease...both in treatment and prevention.