Monday, June 21, 2010

The Diabetes DTOUR Diet by Barbara Quinn

The Diabetes DTOURDiet:  The Revolutionary New Food Cure by Barbara Quinn and the editors of Prevention magazine is a diet and exercise program which is designed to encourage those who pre-diabetes to turn their health and life around.  Hence, the odd choice to misspell detour in the title. 

In spite of this titular insult to the reader’s intelligence, the book is full of good advice and inspirational stories.  Because this book is mostly designed for the pre-diabetic, there are no numbers.  In other words, when discussing exercise, there are no specific precautionary recommendations beyond “consult with your doctor.”  If you have diabetes and do not know what your glucose levels should be before you exercise, it behooves you to have this information before you begin.  And I actually want to commend the author and editors for not putting the numbers out there because ongoing research changes.  Better to go to the American Diabetes Association for the most updated guidelines than risk putting into print numbers that may not hold up over time. 

The recipes in the book are good.  The ones we tried we found to be both tasty and good.  What’s more the menu plan is very well designed.  My husband has diabetes and has a diabetic team that includes a nutritionist.  His meal plan is not very different from the one recommended in this book (although is daily caloric intake is higher because he is trying to gain weight).  We found the food fulfilling and definitely wanted to enjoy some of the recipes a second and even a third time. 

Before I began reading this book I was already doing about 2 hours of exercise a day so the recommendations in this book to “increase” activity made me chuckle.  However, a I realize that many people do not exercise at all and the exercise plan outlined in this book is good.  It may be a bit aggressive for someone who is leading a very sedentary life and lifestyle.  Of course, the book recommends seeing a doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. 

And, the truth is, the book is full of basic advice.  There’s not much new here at all.  Portion control.  More fiber.  Omega-3.  Walking is a good cardio exercise.  Don’t forget to build muscle.  Drink water.  Get enough sleep.  It’s all here and nicely laid out but nothing really new under the sun.  If you haven’t heard all of this before, you must be living under a rock somewhere.   

Still, I think this is the best diet book—whether you have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or not—that I have come across.  Because of the way in which the menu plan spreads out the carbohydrates throughout the day, the person following this plan is definitely less likely to experience the roller coaster ride that the typical American diet causes to the glucose levels.  The sugar highs will be gone but so will the energy crashes that inevitably follow.  And don’t think for a moment that this diet is about deprivation.  There is no food denied so long as you choose to eat portions that are healthy rather then indulgent.   

Ultimately, when I read a “diet” book I figure I am going to lose weight or eat better or something.  And let’s face it, the typical person diagnosed as pre-diabetic is far less active than I am and probably more overweight.  I definitely ate more while following this diet.  I exercised as much and occasionally more, not because of the recommendations in the book but because . . . I want to lose weight.  So did I?  Did I lose weight during the weeks of following the DTOUR diet?

No. 

Oh well.

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