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David's Book Rack

Current Books on Diabetes Reviewed

By David Mendosa

Last Modified On: November 16, 2004

Diabetes for Dummies
By Alan L. Rubin, M.D.
IDG Books Worldwide
September 1999
371 pages
ISBN: 0-7645-5154-X
$19.99

‘Leap from the valley of diabetes ignorance…’

The "praise" page of Diabetes for Dummies reads, "As one of the country's leading endocrinologists, Alan Rubin could be expected to know a lot about diabetes. But the surprising thing about his new book is how well he says it, and his support of the glycemic index shows in particular that he is current with the latest thinking on how to deal with diabetes."

This blurb summarizes the way I feel about the book—because I wrote the blurb after reading unbound galley proofs.

Dr. Rubin does bring impeccable credentials to writing this important new book about diabetes. For the past quarter of a century he has been in private practice in endocrinology and metabolism in San Francisco. During that period he has also taught at the University of California Medical Center.

However, few experts on diabetes can communicate their knowledge as well as Dr. Rubin has. Two who come to mind—June Biermann and Barbara Toohey, the editors-in-chief of DiabetesWebSite.com—share my enthusiasm for Dr. Rubin's book. In their own blurb for the book, they write, "This lively and lucid tell-it-all guide will provide you with the information you need to leap from the valley of diabetes ignorance to the peaks of understanding."

That this book is intended as a reference makes its readability even more exceptional. Dr. Rubin notes that he doesn't expect us to read it all the way through like a novel, although that's what I found myself doing.

Yes to Diabetes Diet Plan
Dr. Rubin covers all the bases about diabetes, but what found me saying "yes" to myself the most was his chapter on Diabetes Diet Plan. He faces up to the biggest issue. "If there were a more controversial area in nutrition for the diabetic person than carbohydrates, I would like to know about it," Dr. Rubin writes. "You are free to disagree with me and use whatever level of carbohydrate you like as long as it helps to promote a lower blood glucose without increasing blood fats or weight."

Likewise, he recognizes that "all carbohydrates are not alike in the degree to which they raise the blood glucose." The glycemic index was created to quantify these differences. If only all endocrinologists could be that open-minded.

Whether you have just been diagnosed or have an M.D., here's one of the first books about diabetes to buy and read. Yes, it takes humility to admit that you are a dummy. But as June and Barbara say in their blurb, "When it comes to diabetes, almost everyone is a dummy, including, alas, a number of health care professionals." Dr. Rubin, fortunately, is not one of them. 


This article appeared originally on the DiabetesWebSite.com, which is no longer on-line.


Update

When the first edition of this book came out in September 1999, I included it my list of the 17 best books about diabetes. The second edition, just published by Wiley, is even better.

The author is Dr. Alan L. Rubin, an endocrinologist practicing in San Francisco. In the five years since he published the first edition of this book there have been huge advances in every phase of diabetes from diagnosis to diet. The second edition has all this and more. Some of the highlights to be found in this great book include:

  • The newest blood glucose meters: the Accu-Chek Compact, the Ascensia Elite Diabetes Care System, the ExacTech RSG, GlucoWatch G2 Biographer, Hypoguard Advance, MiniMed Continuous Glucose Monitoring System, One Touch Ultra, Prestige LX, and others. Inexplicably, however, the book fails to mention my current favorite meters, TheraSense’s FreeStyle and FreeStyle Flash.

  • The latest medications and combinations of medications including Glucovance, Glucophage XR, Glyset, Starlix, Avandamet as well as the latest information on Actos and Avandia. New insulins like NovoLog, Humalog, and Lantus. Using the old medications like Glucotrol, Micronase, and Glucophage to better control diabetes.

  • Latest information on using Viagra and two newer drugs — Levitra and Cialis — to treat erectile dysfunction in men who have diabetes.

  • The epidemic of type 2 diabetes in obese children and how to prevent it.

  • Revisions in the diet for diabetes, the glycemic index, recommended calories and forbidden calories along with discussions of Atkins, South Beach, and other diets.

  • The new 10,000 step exercise plan for diabetes with comments on other kinds of exercise and how exercise can prevent diabetes.

  • New ideas about the psychology of diabetes including humorous stories from the thousands of people who have written to the author.

  • New information on diabetes in Asians, African-Americans, and Hispanics, and the epidemic of obesity sweeping the world.

  • New information on low blood glucose, plus how to avoid it and treat it when it occurs.

  • New data on prevention of long-term complications like blindness and kidney failure.

  • New advice for women who have diabetes and are pregnant or are postmenopausal, and those who wants to prevent pregnancy.

  • New recommendations for the elderly population with diabetes.

  • The revolution in providing insurance for and hiring people with diabetes.

  • Cutting-edge information on future products and treatments that look promising.

  • Hisses for products and treatments that rip off people with diabetes.

  • Revisions of the websites (including mine) that provide the latest information on every aspect of diabetes.

The person who owns the first edition will want to be up-to-date and the person who has not bought the book yet will quickly decide there is a vast amount of information available in a readable, funny, and very positive form in the new second edition of Diabetes For Dummies. This 386-page softback book is available from fine bookstores everywhere for $21.99. Highly recommended.


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