The "Real-Life Guide to Diabetes" just published by the ADA is definitely something new. It almost looks a little like my daughters' favorite "Smart Girls' Guide" series, or those kids science books all chock full colorful images, highlighted quotes and pop-out boxes to grab your attention in bunches of little "content bites."
So it's fun to look at, as well as fun to read, which is definitely something new in the world of diabetes literature. It also is actually chock-full of some very useful information, mostly geared towards people with type 2 diabetes.
The authors happen to be two of my favorite figures in the diabetes community: Hope Warshaw and Joy Pape, both certified diabetes educators with loads of experience and personal passion around this disease. For a fresh approach to the old diabetes-patient-guidebook trick, they set out provide "practical answers to your diabetes problems," in a bold-and-colorful-tips, tricks-and-tools format. Mission accomplished. A full one-third of the book is a section titled "When Life Happens" that talks about all the stuff in life that inevitably gets in the way of maintaining a perfect diabetic regimen.
"It's a day-to-day balancing act between making the behavior changes necessary to stay healthy and accomplishing the long to-do lists of daily life," the authors write in press statement about the book. "There will be days when managing diabetes will be more center stage, and days where your other commitments will not allow you to be as on-track with your self-care plan." Kudos for starting their book with both feet on the ground here. A far cry from the traditional approach to D-books, no?
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* By the Numbers boxes - which list recommended levels for glucose readings, hours of exercise, daily intake of vitamins, etc.
* Pssst sections - offering brief hints and tips, including where to find resources online for many things
* Wonder? sections - that give practical answers to frequently-wondered-about questions, for example:
"What should my main focus be when it comes to fats and my health?" (hint: fat should be just 25-30% of your total calorie intake)
or... "If you're an adult diagnosed with diabetes, how you tell if it's type 1 or type 2?" (hint: ask your doctor for a C-peptide test, to find out how much insulin your pancreas is really making)
or... "Why is 'Sugars' on the Nutrition Facts label plural?" (good question. hint: there are two basic types of sugars, one-unit and two-unit - both raise your BG!)
This book is published by the American Diabetes Association, and sticks to that organization's recommendations, including those on carbohydrate intake. Some of you might be outraged to see that one Wonder hint recommends that Americans stick to eating about 50% of their calories from carbs. The authors mention blood glucose-lowering medications, but don't mention restricting carbohydrates for better BG control at all. So much for notion of the ADA embracing low-carb diets for people with diabetes! Otherwise it's a very bold, and colorful and yes -- useful -- handbook.
[ADA, March 2009, 288 pages, $15.56 on Amazon.com]