With so many diet books constantly flooding the market, it’s easy to obsessively try each or go to the other extreme and tune them all out. One new book worth a read, whether you follow the diet or not, is The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet by Dr. Mark Hyman (Little, Brown and Company, 2014). What makes this book different? It’s not about losing weight but rather about gaining health.
Mark Hyman, MD, chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center, is the author of eight other books, including the best-selling The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company, 2012), and a regular contributor to Natural Vitality Living.
His latest book is just what the title implies, a plan for a 10-day detox. But that detox is intended to reboot your system so that you can embark on a lifelong eating plan that Dr. Hyman believes is the healthiest diet you can follow. Weight loss will occur, he says, but that is just a happy side effect. Followers will also enjoy sustained energy and even a better mood.
Simply put, Dr. Hyman’s diet philosophy is “out with the bad and in with the good.” The “bad” is sugar, gluten, grains, dairy, beans, processed foods, certain oils, alcohol and caffeine. Why grains and beans, you ask? Because these carbs can quickly ramp up your blood sugar, and avoiding that is the key to this diet.
The book devotes many pages to discussing our addiction to sugar; most people can relate to that. Dr. Hyman then cites compelling research on the actual biological processes of sugar addiction—those areas of our brain that light up when we munch an Oreo, for example.
Sugar, and anything that turns into sugar, like grains, is your No.1 enemy, according to Dr. Hyman. Hence the no beans and grains. Artificial sweeteners are also off the list, because research shows that they actually make you crave more sugar over time.
You’ll find the book delivers much more than a diet plan. The first part is dedicated to an explanation of the nature of food addiction. A powerful study is cited from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showing that higher-glycemic foods are addictive in the same way as heroin and cocaine. Studies such as these certainly compel the reader to ditch sugar from one’s diet.
The lengthy preparation for the detox may frighten some with its thoroughness. But as Dr. Hyman says, “Many people spend more time planning parties and vacations than planning their health.” Touché.
Dr. Hyman first encourages readers to wean off sugar, alcohol, coffee and artificial sweeteners. Going cold turkey on the detox and withdrawing from these items is too rough on the body, he says.
The next prep phrase is to rid the kitchen of all unacceptable foods (pasta sauce with sugar—trash it). Then fill the kitchen with the good healthy stuff.
Also included are interactive activities, such as a Toxicity Questionnaire and Do I Have Diabesity? quiz.
The 10-Day Detox section of the book provides meticulous details of each day on the diet. If there’s one thing the book doesn’t lack, it’s attention to details. You’ll find recipes and meal plans galore.
Dr. Hyman prescribes a thorough supplement regimen to follow as well. One key supplement he highlights is magnesium. It turns out that magnesium—an essential mineral often seriously lacking in today’s diets—plays a key part in controlling blood sugar levels. “Magnesium plays an important role in modulating the hormones that maintain normal blood sugar balance,” says Dr. Hyman. He further points to studies demonstrating an inverse relationship between magnesium intake and risk of diabetes.
10-Day Detox Diet doesn’t forget the emotional component of changing eating habits. On Dr. Hyman’s website you’ll find a community support forum 10daydetox.com/resources for individuals participating in the cleanse. In addition, he stresses daily journaling, exercise and other tools to help you succeed.
As thorough as the book is in cleanse preparation, diet rules and menus, it is just as detailed in transitioning off the cleanse. Dr. Hyman’s goal with the 10-Day Detox is to reboot your body so that you can more easily follow an eating regimen that adheres to the same primary principles.
The diet in this book is complex. It will take determination to see it through, but many people report wild success after following it. If you only read the book and don’t do the cleanse, you will certainly find yourself looking at sugar differently and hopefully consuming less.