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Preventing diabesity, one person at a time: #Wellness book review

The Blood Sugar Solution gets you moving, with quizzes, a comprehensive wellness plan and a focus on creating health rather than treating disease.

books Updated: May 21, 2017 08:42 IST
Madhusree Ghosh
Madhusree Ghosh
Hindustan Times
The issue of diabesity is global and the root causes are common across the board. So, everyone, as Hyman puts it, has the power to become a part of a movement to “take back our health”.(iStock photo)
The Blood Sugar Solution
  • By Dr Mark Hyman
  • Publisher: Hachette
  • Price: Rs 399 (Paperback)

Are you interested in the social, political and economic factors driving obesity? Do you need to lose weight, fix your blood pressure or improve your diet? If you answered yes to even one of the above (and let’s be honest, chances are the answer is yes to at least two), then Dr Mark Hyman’s The Blood Sugar Solution will likely be of interest to you.

What’s interesting about the book is that it takes a critical look not just at how we eat and why, but also at how the resultant problems are treated by our healthcare providers.

Using case studies and practical tips, Dr Hyman starts out by explaining why he considers diabesity an epidemic, why it’s important to act now — on an individual and community level — and what forms that action ought to take.

A first step is debunking myths that persist even today, about obesity and diabetes. Take, for example, the idea that diabetes is genetic.

“What many people don’t realize is that our genes are affected by our environment… In truth, diabetes is almost entirely induced by environmental and lifestyle factors,” Dr Hyman says. “While there are some predisposing genes, those genes get turned on (or “expressed”) only under conditions of poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, stress or environmental toxins.”

His solutions take a holistic route. The focus, Dr Hyman says, should be on creating health rather than treating disease; disease, he reminds you, goes away as a side-effect of getting healthy.

If you restore balance to your insulin levels naturally, you end up treating not only obesity and diabetes but also cut your risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, high blood pressure, depression.

While discussing solutions, he engages readers in what he calls ‘The UltraWellness Quiz’, sets of questions sprinkled through the book that aim to uncover the true source of your health issues and start you on the road to health and vitality.

This road leads to what he calls ‘The Six-Week Action Plan’. From outlining what food items to avoid and what to eat in Week 1, to tips on how to relax your mind and body, exercise smartly and finally personalise the programme, the Plan aims to help you ease the unique imbalances that exist at the individual level.

Be warned, there are no cheat days in Dr Hyman’s Plan. “When the programme is over, you may want to go out and celebrate by indulging in your favourite food — pizza, chocolate cupcakes, a beer, or a few glasses of chardonnay. This is a temptation you should resist,” he says. Because after being on a diet like this, overloading the system with what he terms ‘bad food’ can cause severe reactions.

Some of the specifics of the problems and solutions may not relatable to Indians since the author has written the book primarily for an American audience, based on research conducted in America. But given that the issue is global and the root causes common across the board, everyone, as Hyman puts it, has the power to become a part of a movement to “take back our health”.

First Published: May 19, 2017 18:25 IST