The Blood Sugar Solution, a new book by Dr. Hyman, touts the management of insulin resistance as the key to reversing our global epidemic of "diabesity". Fans of Gary Taubes will nod, as will paleo- and primal dieters; I will add that Dr. Hyman is not opposed to whole grains, so he will lose ground with the hard-core.
Here is a chat with Dr. Hyman:
You emphasize that good nutrition is one of the keys to UltraWellness. What are the staples of the modern diet that we typically eat but should avoid?
Sugars in any form whatsoever, all flour products (even gluten-free), all processed food and all gluten and dairy. Eliminating these foods from your diet is the basic foundation of the 6 week program laid out in my book. Once you avoid these foods, I promise you will discover a whole new world of mother nature’s magnificent food pantry that will delight your senses, stimulate your palate, and leave you feeling clear and healthy, not to mention automatically thinner.
We are all familiar with the modern day food pyramid and the new “my plate” but your approach to nutrition is different. Were you to create the perfect plate for your average American, what would it look like?
Composing the perfect meal is an essential life skill. When you put food on your plate it should look like this:
- On half of your plate, put low-starch vegetables. (You can refill this part as much as you want).
- On one quarter of your plate, put some protein (fish, chicken, eggs, shrimp, meat or beans).
- On the other quarter, add either ½ cup of whole grains (ideally brown or black rice or quinoa) or ½ cup of starchy vegetables such as sweet potato or winter squash.
8 Steps to Reversing Diabesity
In my new book, The Blood Sugar Solution, which comes out next February, I outline a comprehensive 8-week plan for overcoming diabesity in all its forms. Here is a sneak preview of the steps outlined in the book:
- Get the right tests. Most doctors focus on fasting blood sugar. This is actually a poor indicator of diabesity. The best test to tease out the condition is an insulin response test where insulin levels are measured fasting and then 1 and 2 hours after a glucose drink. Demand this test from your doctor.
- Get smart about nutrition. Despite the media hype and the seeming confusion amongst doctors, the basics of nutrition are extremely simply. Eliminate sugar and processed carbohydrates, include whole real foods like lean protein (chicken or fish), veggies, nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.
- Get the right supplements. There has recently been a frenzy of negative reports about supplements. Most of them are unfounded. Supplements are an essential part of treating diabesity. A good multivitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, and special blood sugar balancing nutrients like alpha lipoic acid, chromium polynicotinate, biotin, cinnamon, green tea catechins, and glucomannan should also be included.
- Get relaxed. Stress is a major unrecognized contributor to insulin resistance and blood sugar imbalance. Push your pause button every day with deep breathing, visualization, yoga, and other relaxation techniques.
- Get moving. Aside from changing your diet, exercise is probably the single best medication for diabesity. Walk for at least 30 minutes every day. For some, 30-60 minutes of more vigorous aerobic exercise 4-6 times a week may be necessary.
- Get clean and green. Environmental toxins also contribute to diabesity. Filter your water, look for green cleaning products, and avoid plastics when you can.
- Get personal. While the steps above will address 80 percent of the problems with diabesity, some may need to take additional steps to optimize key areas of their biology. Remember, the medicine of the future is personal medicine. Seek out your own biological imbalances and look for ways to address them.
- Get connected. Research is beginning to show that we get better more effectively when we get together. Invite your friends, families, and neighbors to change their diets and lifestyle along with you. Together we can all take back our health.
In support of point 8 I should note that Dr. Hyman has been working with Rick Warren, the Purpose Driven Pastor, on church sponsored community-supported weight loss for the past year, apparently with good results. The vision:
Warren would like the Daniel Plan to affect a billion people in the next decade, said Eastman. “He wants to transform health through faith-based communities,” she said. “Rick has crazy goals.”
“There will never be enough professionals — doctors, nurses and clinics — to care for all of the health needs in the world,” Warren wrote. “But there is a church in practically every village of the world, and volunteers ready and willing to be trained.”
Let's contrast that with this recent plea for Mommy and Daddy from Times food columnist Mark Bittman:
But as obesity and its consequences ravage our health care system, we struggle not only with our own diets but also with preventing our children from falling into the same traps. Last year a brigade of parents stood watch outside a corner store in North Philadelphia in an attempt to prevent their kids from buying junk food.
They’ve been called foot soldiers, but you might call them vigilantes. Vigilantism occurs when people believe the government isn’t doing its job. We need the government on our side. It must acknowledge the dangers caused by the most unhealthy aspects of our diet and figure out how to help us cope with them, because this is the biggest public health challenge facing the developed world.
While Mr. Bittman waits for Big Government, others have turned to an even higher power. Of course, most Upper East side liberals couldn't find a place of worship if they were standing in front of St. Patrick's...
WAITING FOR BIG BROTHER GOVERNMENT: Glenn had this link yesterday:
DIETS: The Importance of Portion Control. But is the solution really “changes in public policy?”
EVERYTHING NEW IS OLD AGAIN: Jack LaLanne was offering similar diet advice more than fifty years ago.
YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL A HARVARD MAN (BUT YOU CAN'T TELL HIM MUCH): For the elitists out there who could never take advice from Rick Warren, here is the Harvard Healthy Eating Pyramid. Exercise is the base, vegetables (yay!) and whole grains (boo!) are on the first level but otherwise, this looks a lot like the Hyman advice.