Men's Health writer O'Connell (LL Cool J's Platinum Workout) delivers a smart, personally inspired health wakeup call in no uncertain terms: our excessive consumption of carbohydrates is killing us and wrecking our health-care system. Diabetes has reached "global pandemic" proportions, he argues, especially among youth; and while this "invisible disease" has been studied intensively since the role of insulin in regulating the body's sugar was understood by the 1920s (type 1 diabetes means the pancreas can no longer produce insulin, while type 2, the most prevalent today, means the body makes too much and systems begin failing), the message that the latter is entirely preventable due to a closely watched low-carb, high-protein diet has been obscured and downright denied. After witnessing the slow, agonizing death of his father from diabetes, O'Connell, too, got the "tap on the shoulder" when he was diagnosed with prediabetes and subsequently informed himself on how to radically alter his diet and lifestyle. What he learned, mystifyingly, was that most official organizations, like the American Diabetes Association (ADA), and doctors still prescribe a low-fat, high-carb diet and a host of drugs with perilous side effects. In his well-researched, reasoned work, O'Connell flips this myth and offers sage, usable advice in choosing foods, exercising, and challenging this stealthy killer. (Aug.)
Journalist, editor in chief of Bodybuilding.com, and fitness buff O'Connell was shocked to learn of his prediabetes diagnosis in 2006. Knowing that his father had lost a leg to diabetes, O'Connell set out to learn what research has shown as medical best practices and why diabetes is at epidemic proportions in the United States. He warns that doctors do not do enough to prepare and support patients for necessary lifestyle changes and are too quick to simply prescribe drugs. Nutrition, and especially the sugar that permeates the American diet, is targeted as the primary culprit in chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart and kidney disease, and stroke. McConnell weaves information from medical experts and clinical research studies into his story of personal challenges and his journey to better health. VERDICT An engrossing, well-written narrative that has major relevance to all consumers. O'Connell questions many established guidelines and bases his own logical assertions on research. A thought-provoking title; highly recommended for all consumer-health collections.—Janet M. Schneider, James A. Haley Veterans Hosp., Tampa
"[S]ugar has enslaved us," writes health journalist O'Connell. "As a result, America's most preventable disease, type-2 diabetes, has taken over."
When the author discovered that he was pre-diabetic in the fall of 2006, he was stunned. However, he knew that had no desire to become like his father, whose own untreated case of diabetes had led to a leg amputation and a "torturous demise." Though lean and physically fit, O'Connell quickly realized that he was eating and drinkingan over-abundance of sugars and their carbohydrate kin, found in fast foods and, less obviously, "healthy" ones like yogurt, pasta, Gatorade and whole wheat bread.The author's timely and readable account of his four-year personal journey to recovery explores diabetes as a metabolic, endocrine and vascular disorder. Through exhaustive research, O'Connell unveils the ignorance and misinformation clouding this complex disease. Processed foods along with high-stress lifestyles, he writes, have created the conditions for diabetes—even among those not otherwise prone to it. Not one to shy away from controversy, the author highlights the disturbingly close and collusive relationship among health-care professionals, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and drug manufacturers, illustrating how no-nonsense, drug-free approaches to combating the disease have taken a back seat to money-making concerns. Most importantly, O'Connell offers practical suggestions for disease management, including the diet and fitness strategies that helped him regain control of his own life.
Excellent reading for diabetics and anyone interested in understanding and/or managing diabetes.