THE pH MIRACLE FOR DIABETES

The pH Miracle for Diabetes
by Robert O. Young, PhD, and Shelley Redford Young
Warner Books
© 2004

All persons who are diabetic, whether Type 1 or Type 2, or pre-diabetics (“impaired fasting glucose”, meaning, BG readings from 110 – 126) like me, want to lead normal lives, eat “normal” things, be lethargic, and go about their business without regard to their BG readings. To place ourselves in such an arena, we all want a magic pill which will make us fit in with the lifestyles of 5/6th of the U.S. population. Unfortunately, no one has found such a pill, even though more and more books are written about the virtues of more and more pills, and new and improved dietary supplements.

If you read my book review of The Diabetes Improvement Plan, you might understand my frustration with finding the magic pill. Perhaps if we looked at the problem from a different vantage, we might gain an understanding of aspects of organic chemistry and biochemistry, which will lead us to a possible solution. Dr. Young thinks he has the answer, and this book was compiled to shed some light on a possible solution.

Before I review this book, I must first give you a mini-review of The Acid Alkaline Food Guide, by Dr. Susan E. Brown and Larry Trivieri, Jr., Squareone Publishers, © 2006. This book gives a much more concise and better description of what pH balance is, how it affects your health, and the possible consequences of not keeping ones system “in balance”. pH means “potential for hydrogen”, a term used in chemistry, which indicates whether a solution, fluid or compound is acidic, alkaline, or neutral. pH can be measured in our bodies by testing saliva and urine or blood (pH strips are available for the first 2 tests), and if we have a heavy concentration of hydrogen in our systems, we are “acid based”. The scale goes from 0 to 14; to be healthy, we should have slightly alkaline, oxygen-rich arterial blood (7.365 to 7.45 is ideal) – a reading of 7.0 is neutral. 

Oxygen rich systems (alkaline based) neutralize formation of acids which might prove to be harmful. To help us stay in the neutral zone, our bodies use calcium and protein from bones, and possibly other places, to pump more alkaline to our systems in order to neutralize formation of acids, so as to keep us in balance. After the passage of time, if we fail to keep our systems in balance, and we become acid based, our bone formation will be reduced, calcium will be lost in our urine (leading to kidney stone formation), proteins will breakdown causing our muscles to waste away, our systems will be unable to repair cells, tissues and organs fully, our systems will age at an accelerated pace, more free radicals will be produced, we will be subject to increased fluid retention, and so forth.

The American diet is centered around foods that create acid-base systems. Dr. Brown lists about 70 pages of foods we eat, and rates them according to whether the food is alkaline-forming or acid-forming. The first time I read through the list, I determined that I could not eat any food without running the risk of forming more acids in my system. To remedy this, Dr. Young would have me become a vegetarian, but Dr. Brown has an easier solution: eat more dark green vegetables than any other food group. She doesn’t require me to give up meat or eggs or nuts, so long as 2/3rd of my plate contains foods that are alkaline-forming (such as kale, collard greens, asparagus, snap green beans, etc.). 

Dr. Brown explains the basis for her conclusions. Our bodies have 3 methods of getting rid of unwanted “poisons”, or acid forming chemicals, all of which are filtered through our bodies: 

First, our lungs supply our bodies with much needed oxygen (as we breathe in), and dispel (exhale) carbon dioxide (the “burned” waste from our system – an inference might be made that aerobic exercise helps cleanse our system, because it requires lots of heavy breathing, which gives us a double dose of oxygen; in turn the CO2  expels the oxidized stuff we don’t need); 

Second, our kidneys filter unwanted sugars, and other waste products which we don’t need (we rid our systems through urine – a preventative measure we can take is to drink lots of pure, and hopefully ionized or ozone rich water, which will keep our kidneys healthy, as well as supply needed oxygen to our systems); and 

Third, our skin filters out other things, through our perspiration (which is also produced through exercise).

With this background in mind, we can have a better understanding of what Dr. Young advocates in his book. He noticed the correlation between acid based systems and diabetes, and concluded that if our systems are neutral, or slightly alkaline, our blood sugars would be “normal”. As I have been checking my pH balance every morning, which I do before checking my BG reading, I can generally predict what my BG readings will be. If my system measures 7.0, which is neutral, my BG readings are pretty good (98 to 107). If my pH balance is 6.5, my BG readings will be higher (113, 114).

Although Dr. Young’s book does not explain the chemistry involved in the process, he nonetheless makes a very persuasive argument that by eating lots of green vegetables, anddrinking pure water mixed with green powder (the “green drink”), diabetics can improve their BG readings. Throughout the book, there are very interesting testimonials, given by both Type1 and Type 2 diabeticsall of them reported a marked improvement in their BG readings – once they began drinking green drinks, stopped drinking carbonated beverages, and changingtheir eating habits.

The “green drink” is simply a mixture of oxygenated water (which can be produced with an ozone machine, or by adding sodium chlorite drops to pure water) and a teaspoon of green drink powder (which is nothing more than powdered vegetables). I usually have two drinks a day, instead of an extra cup of coffee in the morning and a Diet Coke in the afternoon (which I have now given up).

Dr. Young also requires us to exercise. He prefers aerobic exercise to anaerobic exercise. I have no quarrel with his observations, especially since I have a better understanding of the benefits of having more oxygen pumped through my lungs. Oxidation is a good thing as far as I am concerned, because it neutralizes unwanted hydrogen ions and other viruses. As a side note, I have switched from the treadmill to an elliptical trainer, which gives me a better, complete body workout in less time.

Half of Dr. Young’s book consists of recipes, which are all vegetarian in nature. We have not tried any of them, for a number of reasons. First, Dr. Young assumes that food budgets are unlimited, even for those of us who do not live in California. Thus, we cannot eat avocados three or four times a day. Second, the ingredients used in the recipes (even by California standards) are very expensive. 

As I am writing this review, I can report that my pH readings do bear some correlation with my BG readings. When my pH is 6.5, my BG readings are a bit higher than when my pH is 7.0 or higher. Because of the changed variables (new exercise regimen, taking 2 green drinks a day, watching my intake of fatty foods, eating more green vegetables), I cannot isolate one component as causing the improvement in my BG readings.

It would be wonderful to learn that an adjustment to our diets could rid us of the need for insulin, metformin, Avandia, and other such drugs.  None of the books I have reviewed suggest that we will remain idle – all of the authors want us to exercise regularly (which may turn out to be the most important component of all – a recent report indicated that the best preventative for Alzheimer’s Disease was to do 3 hours of aerobic exercise a week ­– oxygen is needed in your brain, you know). 

Dr. Young’s book is worth owning. Before you purchase this recommended book, I suggest that you consider reading other resources on ph balances. 

FINAL THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

You are the only one who can control your blood glucose level.  I may have seen more people with diabetic complications than you have, I may be a bit more zealous about BG levels than others.  I don’t want to be driven by fear, but if I have a choice in changing my life style, so as to avoid kidney failure or having to use dialysis, I would prefer to make life style changes now, before it is too late. 

I hope the information in these book reviews is of help to you.  There are other books written, which are probably as good as the ones reviewed in this article. I am also certain there are other over-the-counter drugs, which are not mentioned in any of these books, which help diabetics (such as cinnamon; a teaspoon a day, taken in pill form,  has worked wonders for me; I am surprised that it was not mentioned in any of these books).  

If I have done nothing more than stimulate your desire to learn more about diabetes, then I am pleased to have done that.  I wish you best success in dealing with your continued good health.

THE DIABETES IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

The Diabetes Improvement Program
by Patrick Quinllin, PhD
The Leader Co.
© 1999

Because I ordered this book from health food resources, I had high hopes that this might disclose the missing link to normalizing blood sugars. The subtitle of the book is a “Doctor’s handbook for using foods andsupplements to slow and reverse the complications of diabetes.”  Based on this subtitle, I assumethe book was written by a physician. It was not. It is written by a Ph.D., who re-prints lots of information he has accumulated from other resources; he compiles these resources into what I regard as a meaningless list of nutritional supplements that might be taken, in the hope that BG readings might go down.

Dr. Quinlan ploughs though much of the same ground that other nutritionists advocate,  and the book left me with the impression that he had no particular solution for diabetics. The list of nutritional supplements is a shotgunapproach to the question we all want answered, viz., what specific supplement can I take to lower my BG readings? His answer is, “read the list and figure out for yourself what supplements you should take. Who knows, one of them might work?”

For my money, this book is a waste of time reading and a waste of money purchasing. 

THE SOUTH BEACH DIET

THE SOUTH BEACH DIET 
by Arthur Agatston, M.D.
published by Rodale
©2003

This book is not written for diabetes, but neither was Atkins Diet Book.  However, this one has information that is very helpful for diabetes.  There is even a chapter in the book written for diabetics, “Is It Diabetes Yet?”  

To some extent, this book develops phase 2 of the Atkins Diet.  Dr. Agatston, who is a cardiologist, believes there is a correlation between a healthy heart and a good diet.  He explains in easy to understand terms the concepts covered in other books, but probably says it in less words.  For example, he explains the glycemic index as follows:   “As we have seen, the equation behind most obesity is simple:  The faster the sugars and starches you eat are processed, and absorbed into your blood stream, the fatter you get.  Therefore, anything that speeds the process by which your body digests carbohydrates is bad for your diet, and anything that slows it down is good.  Digestion is simply the action of your stomach breaking food down into its components; anything that keeps food intact longer is beneficial for people trying to loose weight.”  

The South Beach Diet requires that you eat no carbohydrates for 2 weeks. The purpose of this phase of the diet is to enhance insulin sensitivity (and decrease insulin resistance).  After that time period, Dr. Agatston advocates keeping carbohydrate intake to a minimum following the rule, “if the food is white, don’t eat it”.  Translated, this means no white bread, no white potatoes, no products containing white refined flour, and the like.  

There are meal plans given in the book, and some fairly sophisticated recipes developed by chefs in the Miami Beach community.  

Although the book is 310 pages, it read much more quickly than its length (probably because the textural material was only 107 pages). 

When people ask me what sort of diet I am on, I always tell them I am on the South Beach Diet.  Obviously, I am not on the South Beach Diet, but it does not have the negative ring of the Atkins Diet (which some violently oppose).  This book promotes good health, and certainly can cause a person to lose weight. There is nothing in the book that could be construed as being harmful to diabetics and I thought it was worth reviewing. 

DR. BERNSTEIN’S DIABETES SOLUTION

DR. BERNSTEIN’S DIABETES SOLUTION 
by Richard K. Bernstein, M.D.
published by Little, Brown & Co.
©2003

Some books have great opening lines.  Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities begins “It was the best of times, it was the worse of times …”.  Herman Melville’s  Moby Dick is in that same category: “Call me Ishmael”.  Dr. Bernstein’s book also begins with a classic line: “You’re the only person who can be responsible for normalizing your blood sugars”.  This sentence sets the tone for the rest of the book, and Dr. Bernstein, who is a Type 1 diabetic, loads the book with very useful data, techniques, recipes, and suggestions.

Dr. Bernstein was an engineer who had Type 1 diabetes; he was not satisfied with the information his physician was telling him, so he started experimenting on himself, and learned there was a correlation between what he ate and his blood glucose level.  He developed his own diet, and used techniques to control BG levels, but the medical profession did not endorse what he was proposing.  To gain credibility, and while he was in his 40’s, he attended Medical School, and now devotes his practice to treating diabetic patients.

The book begins with 30 pages of testimonies by his patients, all of whom were surprised at the improvement in their conditions, and some even reversed diabetic complications.  These testimonies are very good reading.

Although Dr. Bernstein believes his is the only book written which deals with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (and he certainly covers both types in greater depth than other books), he does something no other author attempts, and that is, he analyzes the most important aspects of treating diabetes. For example, his advice on exercise goes into great detail: he prefers anaerobic exercise, over aerobic exercise.  He keeps meticulous level records of his BG readings, and gives practical advice on how to use spring activated finger stick devises to draw blood (he also believes in re-using lances until they become dull).  He is the only author who advises against using alcohol to sterilize your hands (washing your hands is much better). The book is chock full of things that never occurred to me, such as the timing of insulin injections, or the types of insulin to use.  He comments on oral medications, and gives advice on the ones that are preferred as opposed to the ones that should be avoided.  He delves into vitamins and mineral supplements, and how to create customized meal plans.  He even lists food emporiums that sell products that are low in carbohydrates, which are otherwise difficult to find.  

Dr. Bernstein does not believe in eating carbohydrates, and at one point in the book states that he has not had a piece of fruit since 1970.  Toward the end of the book, he gives 50 pages of recipes for foods low in carbs, which range from turnip mashed potatoes, to cabbage cole slaw, to French brand toast.  

The book being reviewed is the second edition. The first edition, written in 1997, was so brutal to my way of thinking, that after I finished it, I felt shell shocked.  His approach was that of a maverick, and he expected his patients to make severe adjustments to their diets.  Now that I have read his most recent version, which does not strike me as being as being as severe as the 1997 version, I understand his primary concern, which is, that his diabetic patients do not develop diabetic complications.  He wants his patients to have BG levels of 85.  At this point in my life, that seems to be beyond my reach.  However, using the Atkins Net Carb approach, I have brought my BG levels down considerably.

His book will remain a classic, and the principles he pioneered will continue to have far reaching effects on those of us who have diabetes.  We all owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Bernstein, his research, his life, and certainly, his philosophy as reflected in this book.

PREDIABETES

PREDIABETES
What You Need to Know To Keep Diabetes Away
by Gretchen Becker
published by Marlowe & Company
©2004

Gretchen Banker’s second book, in my review of popular titles, is a much easier read than her first book. The purpose of this book is to alert the public at large, and pre-diabetics in particular, to change their lifestyles, in order to avoid contracting diabetes. 

There are 50 short chapters in the book, which contain the same message throughout, but in a different format: Exercise and watch your diet. Each of the chapters contain useful information. Had the book been written in a different format, it would probably be dull reading. However, because the chapters are so short, the 200 page book can be read in a very short time. 

The resources listed in the back of the book are good, of and I appreciate her mentioning a website for the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. This web site, http://www.joslin.org/main.html, is a very good internet based resource, which contains up-to-date information.

The book will not help diabetics reverse their condition. However, the advice is good, and the information can be adapted to those of us who have type 2 diabetes. You will not waste your resources by purchasing this book.  

THE FIRST YEAR: TYPE 2 DIABETES

THE FIRST YEAR: TYPE 2 DIABETES
by Gretchen Becker
published by Marlowe & Company
© 2001

I bought this book because of its title, and it is, indeed, a 12 month guide for Type 2 diabetics, during the first year. The author is a professional writer by trade, and she has done lots of research in preparing this book.  Although the book is designed to be read during each month of the first year of being a diabetic, suffice to say I read ahead of her schedule.  

To some extent, the book asks the sort of questions a diabetic would want to ask his or her doctor or nutritionist:  What do I do if I take a trip or go on a vacation?  Did I do something wrong which caused the diabetes? What about taking vitamins and minerals and herbs?  

Ms. Becker gave me two tips, which I will mention in this review:  First, there are web sites dealing with diabetes.  The best site is one by David Mendosa, formerly Rick Mendosa (he recently decided to revert to his Jewish heritage and use David as his first name).  The site is www.mendosa.com. Each month he publishes an article on a host of topics, and his has good hot-links to other diabetes sites.  He even wrote a chapter in the Becker book.

The second tip deals with exercise:  since exercise lowers BG levels, the question must be asked, when is the best time to exercise?  Ms. Becker believes exercise should be done 40 minutes after eating breakfast. Until I read that suggestion, I had been doing my exercise before breakfast, I switched regimens, and have stuck with her program.  It has worked well for me, and I suppose would work for others.

Each chapter in the book is divided into sections: the first section of the chapter is subtitled “Living”, which deals with the everyday problems diabetics encounter, such as depression.  The second part of each chapter is subtitled “Learning”, and consists of an in depth analysis of topics of interest; most of these “learning” sections give an in-depth treatment of the topic covered in the “living” section.  

I liked the chapter written on “Diet Wars”.  As you can tell by all of these book reviews,  there are firmly held beliefs that one diet is better than another.  Ms. Becker calls these diverging opinions “diet wars”.  The most important thing to remember, I suppose, is to find a diet that works for you.  What works for another may not fit your situation.  The important thing is to have some sort of diet regimen, and to exercise. 

This book contains very good and useful information, and would probably sell more copies if the title were changed, because the information given is useful whether you are in your first or tenth year of being a Type 2 diabetic.  

DEFEATING DIABETES

DEFEATING DIABETES
by Brenda Davis & Tom Barnard
published by Healthy Living Publications
© 2003

This book is written by some Canadian vegetarians, and the authors advocate becoming vegetarians, as a means of controlling diabetes.  The information given in the book is probably useful, but I am not convinced that diabetics need to give up meat in order to control their blood glucose levels.  

In terms of technical information, the book delivers many helpful tables:  one lists foods that have high fiber content, such as green peas, all bran cereal, raspberries, blackberries, black-eyed peas and so forth.  In addition, there are menus which are based on different calorie diets, such as 1500 calorie diets, 1800–2100 calories, and so forth.  The authors have added several pages of recipes, as well as suggestions for nutritional supplements.  

The basic problem with a vegetarian diet is getting enough protein.  The authors discuss this problem and give standard solutions, such as increased consumption of soybeans.  Since we are carnivorous beings, our chemistry can digest meat and meat products, which supply not only protein, but also certain fats.  Proteins help produce strong bones, muscles, and red blood cells.  

Had I known this book was going to be a pitch for becoming a vegetarian, I would not have bought it.  That said, there is good nutritional information contained in the book, and I appreciate the efforts these authors have made towards convincing me to be a vegetarian.  Vegetables are good for us, and do cause our systems to shift from being acid based to becoming alkaline based (thus achieving a better PH balance).  There is some evidence that persons with acid based systems are more susceptible to certain types of cancer, and from a nutritional point of view, vegetables are indispensable.  However, meats are also important to our diets.

The $14.95 price might be worth the book’s 279 pages of information. However, I would place this one in the same category as the American Diabetes Association Guide, which should not be at the top of the list of books to buy.  

REVERSING DIABETES

REVERSING DIABETES
by Julian Whitaker, M.D.
Published by Warner Books 
© 2001

Dr. Whitaker has written a good book.  He operates a wellness center in California, and has treated diabetics for many years.  He advocates diet, exercise and nutritional supplements, as necessary tools for treating diabetes.  Unlike other books written on this topic, however, this one is well written. Dr. Whitaker’s encouraging style of writing engenders hope in the hearts of all diabetics.

Dr. Whitaker covers the downside of taking prescribed oral medications. He discourages using Sulfonamide drugs, because they stimulate insulin production (which can cause the pancreas not to manufacture needed beta cells). There are adverse side effects to Sulfonamide drugs, including gastrointestinal upset, headaches, dizziness, and other symptoms of hypoglycemia.  These drugs can cause hypothyroidism, skin rashes, severe allergic reactions, problems in the cornea of the eye, water retention, elevated blood pressure and increased stomach acid secretion.  In addition, they can have damaging effects on the cardiovascular system.   Dr. Whitaker also expresses concern about the effectiveness of Metformin (Glucophage), a medication which improves insulin sensitivity, improves cholesterol levels and ratios, decreases triglyceride levels, and to a slight degree, decreases blood pressure, as well as promoting modest weight loss. Its negative side effects include gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal upset. The drug may also interfere with absorption of folic acid and Vitamin B12.  Patients with kidney or liver disease, cardiac or respiratory problems, severe infections or alcoholic abuse are at an increased risk and, according to Dr. Whitaker, should avoid the drug. 

Dr. Whitaker does not like the Thiazolidinedoines drugs, which is a newer class of insulin sensitizing drugs.  These drugs can cause serious liver damage.  In addition, they can cause a person to gain weight, and the newest of the drugs, Rosiglitazone (Avandia) and Pioglitazone (Actos), can create liver toxicity, and quoting Dr. Whitaker, “I strongly suggest you avoid this class of drugs”.  

The last oral medication he mentions is Acarbose, known as Precose, which slows absorbing glucose into the blood stream.  However, it causes numerous gastrointestinal problems.  Whitaker cites a Japanese study that reports 57% of the patients taking Acarbose  reported liver dysfunction, and two died.  

From Whitaker’s vantage point, there are alternatives to using prescription medications. 

Whitaker first advocates sensible diets. He recognizes that all carbohydrates are not created equal.  As you know by now, carbohydrates are found in plants, whereas meat and eggs contain only protein and fat.  Dairy products do have some carbohydrate, but in controlling a diet, use of low glycemic carbohydrates improves the release of sugar into your blood.  In a nutshell, by eating low glycemic carbs, such as green vegetables, tomatoes, beans and peas, pasta, apples, berries, citrus fruit, and oatmeal, the sugar side of carbohydrates is kept to a minimum.  Diabetics can eat, in moderation, stone ground whole wheat bread, rye crackers, brown rice, sweet potatoes, grapes, new potatoes, whole wheat tortillas and kiwi, but should avoid high glycemic foods such as bagels, white bread, rice cakes, pretzels, most cold cereals, white rice, white potatoes, pineapple, dates and ripe bananas.  Whitaker also mentions that “the judicious use of alcohol actually improves insulin sensitivity”.  In addition, he is a strong advocate of exercise, because it clears the blood of glucose.

Dr. Whitaker is a strong believer in nutritional supplements, and believes Vanadium and Chromium are the two most effective means of helping a diabetic. Whitaker has formulated his own brand of nutritional supplements, and I have taken some of them.  Although I do not take his supplements any more, which contain strong doses of Vanadium and Chromium, when I took these supplements, I noticed a positive impact on my BG levels.  According to Whitaker, Vanadium mimics the action of insulin, and Chromium improves the uptake of glucose into the cells.  In addition, Whitaker advocates taking Magnesium, Anti-oxidants, and essential fatty acids.  He also suggests daily supplements of Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and others. 

Whitaker gives several recipes used at his wellness center, and I can personally attest that these are tasty, healthy foods;  as a matter of fact, we ordered Whitaker’s cookbook, which has wonderful recipes.  We have never been disappointed with one of his suggestions for meals.  

If my budget only permitted the purchase of one book, this 435 page book would be it. 

THE NEW GLUCOSE REVOLUTION

THE NEW GLUCOSE REVOLUTION: THE AUTHORITATIVE GUIDE TO THE GLYCEMIC INDEX
by Jennie Brand-Miller, Thomas M.S. Wolever, Kaye Foster-Powell, and Stephen Colagiuri
© 2003

For reasons that are not clear to me, the American Diabetes Association has never embraced  the concept of Glycemic Index. The glycemic index is a phrase which describes how carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels. In most things in life, timing is very important.  This principle certainly applies to diabetics, because certain carbohydrates turn into glucose more rapidly than others, and we must learn to deal with carbs which are digested too quickly (such as white potatoes and white bread). As the authors of this book state on page 23, “foods with a high glycemic index value contain carbohydrates that cause a dramatic rise in blood glucose levels, while foods with a low glycemic index value contain carbohydrates with much less impact.”

To rephrase what was said in the first paragraph: blood sugar levels can be controlled by mixing foods that have a high glycemic index with those that have a lower glycemic index.  To achieve this goal, the authors suggest eating fruit at every meal, eating vegetables with lunch and dinner, and eating foods which contain lots of fiber.  

As I indicated earlier, our personal trainer at the health club introduced us to the concept of the glycemic index. I was surprised to learn that personal trainers check their blood sugar levels, to make certain they do not fall into hypoglycemia (not having enough glucose in your blood stream).  Our trainer, Ryan, said his blood sugar is normally between 75 and 85.  He has done workouts, which has sapped his system of needed sugar, and he has experienced hypoglycemia (which can occur during or after vigorous exercise; it can also occur before meals or when insulin is peaking ­or when you are asleep ­– if untreated, you can lapse into unconsciousness, have seizures, and go into a coma). As a side note, the symptoms of hypoglycemia include weakness, fatigue, rapid heartbeat, shaking and sweating, dizziness and impaired vision, hunger, headache, loss of coordination, nausea, nightmares, irritability, anger and confusion.  Hypoglycemia is serious, and should not be ignored. 

Our trainer works with people who are trying to lose weight, as well as build up their muscle tone, and he has advocated using the glycemic index in eating for several years.  As the Atkins books state, the more sugar in your blood, the hungrier you will be.  A technique to keep blood sugar stable is to eat carbs which are slowly digested, or to eat other foods which retard the glycemic effect of carbs. 

If there is any fault with the approach used by these authors, it is this:  It flies in face of the approach used by the Atkins Diet, and to some extent, the South Beach Diet.  The authors of this book seem a bit unconcerned about the total carbohydrate intake per day. As I have reviewed my own personal records, I learned that my BG levels are more easily controlled if I keep my net carbs under 100 per day.  The authors of this book are not troubled by persons who have carbohydrate intakes as high as 250 (they make no reference to net carbs; in the early days of my diabetic diet, my carbohydrate intake was approximately 200 per day, but is much less today, because I don’t want to exercise two times a day as a means of keeping my BG levels in check). 

The book contains some specimen meals, recipes, and also pages and pages of charts, giving the glycemic index of various foods. Since the book is written by non-U.S. authors, the foods listed are not necessarily available in the United States grocery stores.  Even the foods listed in my palm pilot program (which was apparently written by non-U.S. authors) have a “foreign” theme to them; but my palm pilot program gives me enough information, so that I can tell the fiber content of the carbohydrates (which the Glycemic book does not).

Since this book was written primarily for dieters, it will be of more benefit to them than Type 2 diabetics.  To the extent that the Atkins books do not explain the glycemic index in depth, this book does.  I regard this 345 page book as a useful resource in my diabetic library.  

DIABETES TYPE 2: COMPLETE FOOD MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

DIABETES TYPE 2: COMPLETE FOOD MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
by Sherri Shafer, R.D., C.D.E.
© 2001

This book was the first one we read about the diabetic diet, and after we returned our copy to the library, we decided to buy one for future reference.  In terms of giving general information about types of foods, sugar, and other useful information, the book is an excellent resource.  The author explains how to read food labels, (which are placed on literally every item in the food store, except for fresh fruits and vegetables and meats), and also presents in very easy to understand terms, the types of carbohydrates (sugars, starches and fats), the types of sugars (glucose, fructose, and galactose), and the American Diabetes Association “Carbohydrate Exchange” chart.  Interestingly, the American Diabetes Association did not explain its own “exchange” program very well in its Diabetes Guide.  

One of the surprises in this book deals with alcohol, and I quote from page 271 “I’ll jump to the punch line on this one:  It’s okay to include a moderate amount of alcohol, if your diabetes is well controlled and you don’t have any other reasons that you should abstain.”   The concept is this:  “when the liver is breaking down alcohol, it can’t make new glucose in response to low blood sugar (it takes about 1 – 1 1/2 hours to metabolize one drink). So if you take insulin or any diabetes pills that can cause low blood sugar, alcohol poses a special risk to you.” In other words, alcohol can cause hypoglycemia, which is a condition of having too little sugar in your blood.  

The book has sections on exercise, alternative therapies, (such as plants and herbs that have a positive effect upon a diabetic), advice dealing with cholesterol, diabetes during pregnancy, diabetes during the golden years, childhood diabetes, tension, and other topics which are of interest to a diabetic. 

Except for the concept of net carbs (dealt with by Atkins), the principles in this 350 page book are sound and in my opinion should be considered as a means of regulating BG levels.