Author’s diagnosed. Then, he defines ‘diabesity’ as a

Author’s
Background

Dr. Hyman published his book “The Blood Sugar
Solution” in February 2012 with the motivation to create a solution for the
current epidemics of diabetes and obesity. The program outline in the book is a
great source for losing weight, disease prevention, reversing diabetes and feel
great during the process. Dr. Hyman practices functional medicine at
Cleveland’s Clinics, he is a bestselling author, passionate health advocate,
speaker, researcher, and an active leader influencing new health policies in
the US and the world. Dr. Hyman’s affiliations are numerous and include:
Director of the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland’s Clinics,
chairman of the Board of Directors at the Institute of Functional Medicine,
medical director and founder of The UltraWellness Center at Lenox, MA, medical
editor of The Huffington Post online newspaper among others.  Dr. Hyman is a firm believer that addressing
the root cause of disease is the best way to transform our health care system
and help people get healthier.1

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Central
Theory of the Book

Dr. Hyman clearly discussed the alarming epidemic of
obesity and diabetes in the US, where more than 65% of the population is
overweight and by year 2020 one in two Americans will be diagnosed diabetic or
prediabetic. However, 90% of them will not diagnosed. Then, he defines
‘diabesity’ as a continuum concept of metabolic imbalances from mild insulin
resistance to full-blown, end stage diabetes: the single health challenge not
only for United States but for the entire world. Diabesity affects not only
overweight individuals because 40% of normal weight people are metabolically
fat or skinny fat. Diabesity is the leading cause of major chronic diseases
such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, autoimmune
disease, stroke, dementia, depression, infertility, sexual dysfunction, etc.
The solution to diabesity is not coming from conventional medicine approach where
the underlying cause of disease are not addressed and the treatment is only directed
to alleviate symptoms or identify risk factors. Diabesity, as many chronic
diseases, is a result of a direct interaction between our genes and its
environment. At the individual level, we should improve diet and lifestyle,
control stress, eliminate toxins/allergens and microbes – focusing in creating
health rather than handling one disease at a time. The Blood Sugar was created
with goal of taking our health back at individual, community and global levels.2(7-20)

Science
behind Book Central Theory

Each chapter of the book is supported by evidence from
diabetes and obesity statistics, to diabetes definition, treatment and
association with chronic diseases. The diabesity crisis is real and
conventional medicine is not part of the solution.2(392-410)

Obesity continues to grow in the US, more than one
third of adults Americans are obese. Obesity is associated with type 2
diabetes, stroke and heart disease and the annual medical cost for
obesity-related disease in 2008 was more than $145 billion. Obesity incidence
is the highest in non-Hispanic blacks (>48%) followed by Hispanics
(>42%). Although it affects also non-Hispanic whites, and non-Hispanics
Asians. Obesity among children and adolescents in our country is a critical
problem affecting more than 12 million in 2011-2014.3 The 2017 data
for national diabetes statistics report shows that almost 10% of the US
population have diabetes whereas more than 7 million are undiagnosed.
Prediabetes facts are even worse with more than 84 million adults considered prediabetic.4
Thus, clearly proving that the program outlined in this book is more prevalent
than ever.

A publication from the Emerging Risk Factors
Collaboration (cited in the book) analyzing the data from more than 820,000 participants
showed that diabetes increases the risk from vascular disease and death from
several cancers, infectious and neurodegenerative diseases. Diabetes reduces
life expectancy by 6 years on average and is strongly associated with death by
renal deficiency and digestive disorders. The study concluded that more effort
should be directed to prevent and understand diabetes.5 

A recent publication by Gonzalez at al. showed that
diabetes increases the incidence for colorectal cancer by several mechanisms in
their target organs (pancreas and colon) – epithelial cells injury,
inflammation activation through the Wnt/?-catenin pathways, etc. In addition,
diabetes and colon cancer result from poor dietary choices and environmental
factors.6  

The main approach to treat diabetes is lower blood
glucose. A study published by the NAVIGATOR Study Group (cited in the book) in
2010 treating diabetic individuals with nateglinide to control blood sugar did
not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or reduce the incidence of
diabetes.7 In addition, an intensive lowering of glucose
intervention in patients with type 2 diabetes as part of the ACCORD trial
concluded that this strategy is not recommended for these patients due to the
increased risk of mortality compared to standard therapy.8

The solution to diabesity should be directed to remove
the causes of imbalances and provide solutions that create balance. Lifestyle
choices and the environment influence gene expression leading to changes in
metabolism. Interventions directed to lifestyle changes could prevent 90% of
all heart disease.9 The approach proposed by Dr. Hyman in his book
include a 6-week program include: 1) boost your nutrition with whole foods, low
glycemic load, high fiber, high phytonutrient diet and eliminating sugar and
highly processed foods; 2) optimize metabolism with adequate supplements such
as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, chromium, and alpha lipoic acid; 3) relax
your mind with breathing exercise, mediation, yoga, and visualization; 4)
regular exercise that includes aerobic and strength; 5) live clean and green by
removing toxins, filtering your water and using environmentally friendly
cleaning products; 6) personalize approach addressing your unique imbalances;
7) social support and coaching from a physician, nurse, nutritionist team.2(189-286)

Personal
Opinion

I think the book is a great guide for anyone
interested in losing weight, reversing diabetes, preventing chronic diseases or
staying healthy considering the epidemic proportion of diabetes and obesity in
the US and the world. Dr. Hyman explains the myths linked to diabetes, the
failure of our current approach to chronic disease treatment, the role of food
and pharmaceutical industries on our nation’s health status. The book provides
a practical solution in a 6-week detailed program with recipes and shopping
lists. Each week of the program addresses a different topic: the foundation is
nutrition. I loved the message – ‘nutrition is information’ for your genes. The
combination of diet, exercise, stress control, toxins elimination, and social
support are key to a successful lifestyle change. Diet is a serious risk factor
for disease, common dietary chemicals influence gene expression (heterocyclic
amines in red and processed meats, nitrosamines in fried potatoes, gluten in
wheat, etc.), dietary influences depend on genetic individuality, and dietary
interventions addressing specific nutritional requirements can prevent or
reverse chronic diseases.10 Ornish et al. showed that a 3-month
intensive diet and lifestyle intervention in men modulate gene expression in
their prostate by downregulating  a set
of genes critical for tumor development.11  

I loved several key aspects on The Blood Sugar Solution: i) the comprehensive approach to identify
the root cause of body imbalances that clearly do not identify this book as
another fad diet; ii) it was written by a practicing functional medicine
physician with extensive professional experience on preventing and reversing chronic
diseases; iii) simple and evidence-based explanation on how body works and how
nutrition is the foundation of health; iv) there two intervention programs to
choose from: Basic- and Advance-Plan (may be seen more restrictive for some
people); v) there is no need to count calories, many people get discouraged
when recommendations are too strict in term of calories, food weight, etc.
Instead, Dr. Hyman recommends to incorporate a rainbow of colors when selecting
the whole foods to eat and checking the progress with blood tests and nutrition
questionnaires;  vi) wonderful recipes,
shopping list and online resources for support during the program; vii)
combination of nutrient-rich whole foods with fun exercises, outdoor
activities, restful sleep, love, and community support linked to a purpose and
meaning in life makes this book a must have for anyone wanting to create health
and enjoy a happy, long life.

I would recommend this book, without hesitation, to friends,
relatives, coworkers and future clients. First, they need to read the book
entirely – I volunteer for free consultation if needed. Second, follow the
basic plan first and enjoy the side effects of feeling great. Lastly, once the
program is completed, repeat and keep doing it. Ideally, individuals who decide
to follow Dr. Hyman’s program should get the right blood tests done based on
his recommendations to obtain a real picture of their health status.1(180-181)
In addition, staying connected with a health practitioner, get a support of family,
friends, neighbors, or an online support group will help tremendously on
successfully changing the dietary patterns and recover their health and energy.