No Sugar Solution

In my quest to cut back on the amount of processed or refined sugar in my own diet, I came across the book “The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!”  The title is a mouthful, but I found the book to be very helpful.

The author, Mark Hyman, MD takes an approach as a physician that is really a breath of fresh air. Rather than prescribing medications as a first line of defense, he actually aims to get to the bottom of ailments, symptoms, and disease causes by working with patients in a collaborative approach to improving overall health.  The author doesn’t waste time on telling the reader things they already know i.e. refined sugars are terrible and a major contributor to our health problems.  What he does explain is the role sugar plays in inflammation and disease.

There were two things I walked away with from this book.  The first, was a set of tools presented that allow the reader to take inventories of their own health. For example, you can answer a series of statements (yes or no) as to whether or not you are experiencing signs or symptoms that may be due to a nutritional or other deficiency.  Some of his inventories assess nutritional habits as well as whether or not you are deficient in vitamin D, or if your thyroid is operating properly.  He also allows the reader to assess magnesium, sleep, stress, and several other potential culprits.  I really like this feature as a first line approach to zeroing in on what might be an underlying problem. He certainly doesn’t try to pass them off as a replacement for medical advice, but rather a place to determine if their are any red flags.  I have already used these with some of my personal training clients as a means to raise some questions with their healthcare providers.

The second thing I took away was the notion that not all clinical tests and lab results should be taken so literally.  In other words, if your lab results come back within “normal”, but just barely, and you are exhibiting multiple signs and symptoms listed on an inventory – is it possible that maybe you are deficient in that area?  The author feels that working, communicating and collaborating with patients, while getting them to take ownership over their choices, is the approach necessary to address disease.

I really appreciated the number of resources the author provides including websites, organizations, and professional experts in the field.  There is even a large section of the book  focusing on an “action” plan for phasing out sugar and implement healthy recipes that have minimal or no sugar.  Overall, the underlying theme that I was most impressed with is the author stressing the point that the reader/consumer must take a proactive role in their own health, not only in their lifestyle choices but also as an advocate for themselves when working their healthcare provider. Disease prevention and management is an active process that we cannot rely on someone else to achieve for us.  For this reason, you may consider this book a useful tool when working with your clients or patients.  I have.

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