Sugar Nation

by HEAB on August 22, 2011

Does Type 2 Diabetes run in your family? If not, I bet you at least know someone who has it. For me, it’s both, and that’s fairly common these days as one in three American adults has Type 2 diabetes or is prediabetic. Scary, huh? We’re eating too much and not moving enough. Sounds easy enough to fix, right? So, what’s the problem? Well, I read a book about it, and I’d like to share it with you.


In his book, Sugar Nation, Jeff O’Connell shares his own personal battle with diabetes, the very same disease that ultimately took his father’s life. Jeff, editor-in-chief at and former editor-in-chief at Muscle & Fitness and executive writer at Men’s Health, was told he was prediabetic in the fall of 2006. As a tall, lean, and physically fit young man, the diagnosis came as a surprise even though the symptoms had been present a while, and since then, Jeff has has discovered the importance of questioning conventional wisdom, especially when it comes to your health. In fact, by following some unconventional dietary advice and staying active, Jeff is beating the hereditary hand he was dealt.

After reading Sugar Nation, my mind was filled with questions, and Jeff kindly took the time to answer them. Following is our Q & A, and I believe it will give you a glimpse into what Jeff’s book is all about.

Heather: It shocks me that for the most part, today’s doctors do not 
promote a low carb lifestyle to combat theType 2 diabetes epidemic.
 In Sugar Nation, you mention the lack of long-term research regarding 
low-carb diets. Why do you think funding for low carb dietary
 projects has been so low since health care practitioners like Dr.
Elliott Proctor Joslin were using them to prevent the progression of 
diabetes almost a century ago?

Jeff: An assumption has persisted for half a century that low-fat diets are the healthy kind. That’s wrong, I believe, and particularly inappropriate for diabetics, but what’s happened is that every major diabetes clinical trial involving lifestyle changes—exercise, dietary change, and weight loss—has defaulted to a low-fat diet. Results from exercising and at least paying attention to diet inevitably surpass results from drug treatments or doing nothing, creating this false reinforcement of the wrong diet for diabetics.

I always found it maddening to attend diabetes conferences and listen to presentations on these clinical trials. I thought: Did you even debate or consider using a different dietary approach–especially the one, low carb, that seems inherently logical for those intolerant of carbs? I’m pretty sure the answer has always been no.

Much of the funding for diabetes research flows through the American Diabetes Association, an organization that seems particularly unwilling to question what I perceive to be a flawed paradigm for effective anti-diabetes diets. When I asked the ADA (the American Diabetes Association), they told me that of the approximately 4,000 research projects they’ve funded since 1970, about 26 have focused on carbohydrates. As I say in Sugar Nation, I’d be curious to know if slightly more than ½ half of 1 percent of the American Cancer Society’s research has focused on smoking cessation.

Heather: I have a hard time understanding why insurance companies refuse to
 pay for preventative medical treatments – like gym memberships, 
nutrition counseling, etc. when in the long run it would save them so 
much money. Do you think the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes will
 change this in the near future?

Jeff: It should, and I hope it will, although it hasn’t yet, so…. Diabetes develops over years, even decades, so there may be a sense that somebody else will be picking up the tab down the road. That’s penny-wise and pound-foolish, to be sure, but companies, especially public ones, measure their financial performance in quarterly increments.

I suspect this tendency to under-serve prevention also reflects the reality that the overwhelming power of lifestyle change isn’t fully understood or recognized by the ADA and other organizations. I’m sure this orientation influences the reimbursement practices and other decision-making of insurance companies.

Heather: Since no one can dispute the fact that physical activity can
 protect against Type 2 diabetes, why aren’t doctors and the ADA using
 exercise as their first line of defense?

Jeff: There isn’t a full appreciation for the power of exercise to beat back diabetes, and there’s an assumption that diabetics won’t exercise anyway. So instead of doing what’s called step therapy—giving lifestyle change, such as exercise, a chance to work before taking a more invasive approach with drugs—the ADA has, since 2006, recommended that metformin be introduced simultaneously with lifestyle change at the time of a diabetes diagnosis. The implicit message: You won’t exercise, and/or you need drugs.

Many doctors say they’ll remove the drug treatment if lifestyle change works, but if it does work, they often assume the drug is part of the solution, even if it may not be doing a damn thing. And so they don’t remove it. From success through failure, the place of drugs in the diabetic’s regimen is assured.

Heather: With your reactive hypoglycemia, you are able to keep your blood 
sugar at more optimal levels by eating small frequent meals. Would 
you recommend this way of eating for everyone or only for those 
individuals with blood sugar issues? I ask because I know fans of the
 Primal or Paleo lifestyle promote intermittent fasting to keep insulin
 levels low. From what I understand, the premise is that chronic food 
intake causes spikes in insulin and to avoid this, it’s better not to 
eat as often, but for someone like you, a calorie laden meal only once
 or twice a day could cause a huge spike in your insulin levels 
followed by a low blood sugar crash.

Jeff: I think my approach is good not only for those with reactive hypoglycemia but also for those who are overweight, which is a pretty broad swath of the population. For those who are normal weight and have healthy glucose metabolism, I’d be loath to recommend that they do anything differently, since they’re healthy.

Remember, too, that while I’m eating frequently, I’m eating few carbs, and complex ones at that. So my hunch is that my insulin levels are chronically low despite these frequent small feedings. And if my insulin levels do rise in response to small, protein/fat-based meals, the rise is incremental rather than extraordinary. The research suggests that the latter is what causes arterial damage and other harmful consequences.

Heather: I often receive emails from girls who have been diagnosed with
 Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and I feel like it’s become a blanket 
diagnosis for doctors who cannot figure out why so many young women 
are suffering from amenorrhea and infertility issues. In Sugar
 Nation, you state that PCOS may offer clues to reactive hypoglycemia’s
 prevalence. Do you believe a high percentage of these women are
 simply pre-diabetic and might be able to reverse some of their PCOS 
symptoms with changes in diet and more physical activity?

Jeff: I think that’s very plausible. Those health practitioners I interviewed who seemed tuned in to insulin resistance and its effects almost all viewed PCOS at least in part as another manifestation of insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia. The assumption might be that strategies I use to deal effectively with reactive hypoglycemia could help women with their PCOS. Certainly seems like it would be worth a try if other approaches have failed.

Heather: According to Sugar Nation, you say that Type 2 Diabetes is on the
 rise because of 2 factors: decline in physical activity over the past 
century and an increase in the consumption of calories, particularly
 carbs. The lack of physical activity is obvious. We drive
 everywhere, we sit in front of computers, all day, etc. However, I’ve 
read different hypothesis regarding carb consumption. On my blog, I 
promote a low-sugar/whole foods approach to eating, but not 
necessarily low-carb. What about people with a healthy metabolism 
and normal insulin activity? How would you recommend they eat? Do
 you think everyone should keep carb intake to a minimum?

Jeff: I alluded to this before, but I would never suggest dietary changes to anyone with a healthy metabolism and normal insulin action. That would seem foolish and presumptuous. I do think that consuming a bunch of junk food and a ton of added sugars is almost always a bad idea, and that if you do that for long enough, that healthy glucose metabolism might turn on you. Otherwise, the dietary strategies outlined in my book are for those with insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance or at a high risk of developing them (e.g., those having family members with type-2 diabetes).

Heather: As I type this, I’m watching my 9-month old crawl around on the 
floor. I don’t want to be the parent banning birthday cake or pizza
 night and would prefer a more balanced approached to raising my 
daughter. What would be your advice to parents today regarding 
dietary choices for their kids, in an age where junk food is so 
readily available?

Jeff: I have no children, let alone kids clamoring to go to McDonald’s, so I’m not sure how much real-world cred I have on this subject. But it seems to me that you might compete with junk food by offering healthier alternatives that also taste great and have appealing textures. Edamame, for example, is like healthy popcorn, full of protein, fiber, and phytochemicals. Celery is boring alone but yummy when holding all-natural peanut butter or tuna fish. Those sorts of healthy snacks might keep kids from becoming ravenously hungry and overindulging in junk as well.

Sugar Nation definitely put things in perspective for me when it comes to sugar intake and activity level. Thankfully, I love being active, fitting in walks whenever I can and practicing yoga, and I’ve been anti-sugar ever since I lost weight. Yes, I do enjoy sugar on occasion, but I feel so much better when I avoid it. Plus, sugar and excess insulin in the body are my family’s enemies. We could all benefit from learning how to control our blood sugar, especially those of you that have family members with Type-2 diabetes, or if you have insulin sensitivity issues of your own. Let’s think positive about beating diabetes. Just like Jeff says, beating back diabetes isn’t about deprivation; it’s about enrichment. In truth, you’re asked to give up nothing that matters in life. So true Jeff. Thanks for sharing your story and wisdom with us and for for inspiring this morning’s breakfast…


Jeff’s Cinnamon Frambled Eggs (1/2 fried, 1/2 scrambled)

For the recipe, you’ll have to read the book OR for a chance to win a copy, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite sugar-free snack. Mine? Baker’s unsweetened chocolate or a spoonful of nut butter. 🙂

Edited to Add: The giveaway is over, and the winner is Courtney.  Courtney, I will email you for your address. Thanks to all of those who entered, and if you’d like to order a copy of Sugar Nation, I’ve added it to my Amazon Store.

Disclaimer: Although I did receive a free PDF copy of Sugar Nation, I was in no way reimbursed financially for this review.


LarryW October 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Ok, I was told I have diabetes 3 months ago. Last week during the three month checkup I was givin the following readings from my labs.

Dropped 31 lbs
A1c dropped from 6.6 to 5.7
Mean glucose from 136 to 105
Cholesterol from 230 to 141
Blood pressure from 145/78 to 120/66

Diet = all meats including saturated fats, no trans fats. Veggies and fruits.
Still using sugar in my coffee. I may stop that, I don’t know yet. But I still keep my carbs below 100mg per day. The reason I don’t worry about red meat and saturated fats is there has never been a definitive correlation between saturated fats and heart disease. I have read and read study after study and the link is not there.

Exercise 4 days per week 3+ hours per day doing 80 minutes of treadmill per session and nearly 2 hours of weight training. I am 62 years old.

Carbs are the enemy of the diabetic not fat. There are people all over the world who have much higher saturated fat intake than Americans, such as the Masai, Samburu, and Fulani tribes of Africa who’s saturated fat intake is 5 times that of ours. They Eat raw milk, a lot of red meat and drink cows blood yet they have low body fat, and heart disease and diabetes are unheard of there. Don’t believe someone because they have letters behind their names. Do your own research. Study up on these things yourself. Don’t take anyone’s word for anything. There are other studies out there that prove the opposite. There is even doubt now that cholesterol is bad for you. But that’s another subject for another time. 🙂

HEAB October 10, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Agree, agree, AGREE! 🙂
Congrats on your numbers – they’re looking good. Sounds like you’re on a good path.

PolkaDotMommy August 25, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Nuts… usually almonds but peanuts will do in a pinch… peanuts w/ unsweetened raisins even better. Or just simply a piece of fruit… maybe with almond butter.

As a PCOS’er and child/grandchild/great grandchild of Type 2 diabetics, I know only too well that I have to get things under control now…

Emily Elizabeth @ Kisses for Breakfast August 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Thank you Heather for this book recommendation and for posting your q&a. I have the same worry about my 16 month old – I don’t want her to be the weird/deprived kid at the lunch table, but I certainly don’t feel right about feeding her lunchables and Tang either (do they even make Tang anymore?). I hope to have the energy to be creative enough to continuously work on coming up with neat options that other kids will be envious of. 🙂

My favorite snacks all include avocados and/or coconut.

HEAB August 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm

You will be super creative and all the other kids will be begging to come over for oat bran and Greek yogurt mudslide parfaits. 🙂

My best friend used to obsessed with the Tang juice boxes, but they stopped making them years ago. Not sure if they still make the powder mix or not. Blech.

Stephanie August 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Would love to read this book!

I love celery and natural nut butter and a sugar free snack.

Also, how about Bakers dipped in nut butter? YUM!

HEAB August 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm

How ’bout it? Yum indeed. 🙂

Jen August 25, 2011 at 11:17 am

My favorite snack is cherry tomatoes. I pop them in my mouth like candy and nothing could make me happier. I know there are some natural sugars in them, but hopefully those aren’t too bad for me?! Honestly, I’ve only very recently started trying to become more aware of my sugar intake, and I’m not really totally into it yet — only kind of cursorily aware of it.

Kathleen August 25, 2011 at 6:31 am

Fruit and mozzarella cheese:).

Thank you so much for introducing this topic. I have had reactive hypoglycemia for years but it has only recently been diagnosed. I suffered from amennorhea and unexplained infertility. I learned that it was all related to my imbalanced sugar levels. I have been sugar free for 10 days now and have been limiting my carbs to only sprouted grains and roasted rice which apparently changes the utilitzation of the grain to a protein. I want to keep up the no sugar diet for the rest of my life except for maybe a few times a year. Diabetes runs in my family and my family members who have it aren’t overweight. I realize that now at 26 if I change my eating habits to include less carbs and no sugar, I can change my fate. I was quickly heading to a diabetic future as hypoglycemia is often times a pre-diabetic condition. This article reinforces my views and inspires me to keep going.

HEAB August 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

That interesting about the rice – hadn’t heard that, but maybe that’s how they make rice protein powder (which I love!)? Glad you were able to take something away from this post – I think you’re on a good path. 🙂

Candy @ Healthy in Candy Land August 25, 2011 at 1:40 am

I already own the book (and did a review and giveaway too) so don’t include me in the running to win, but I just wanted to tell you what a great job you did on the review and Q & A. It puts mine to shame! 🙂 This book truly opened my eyes and taught me so much. Even though I don’t have any pre/diabetic risk factors, it gave me the kick in the rear I needed to finally quit sugar once and for all, and I am feeling so much better. I think I lost a few pounds too–bonus!

HEAB August 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Thank you Candy, and any review that spreads the word on Jeff’s book is a good one in my opinion. His journey needs to be shared as I know it will help others out there. 🙂

meghan @ struggle muffins August 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Love love love this! Thank you for this Heather, great post!

Kath (My Funny Little Life) August 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Wow. Wow wow wow! Thank you so much for this! I don’t have diabetes, but my blood sugar levels are very instable, and I know I’m carb-sensitive. My overall ennergy levels and well-being have improved incredibly since I’ve started a low-carb Paleo diet. I never want to abandon that again!

My favorite sugar-free snacks … Well, nut butters are great. I also love tea with almond milk a great deal, or a green smoothie made from spinach, a piece of fruit (okay, that contains sugar, but in a very natural state), almond milk, and rice protein powder. Roasted chicken or turkey I marinates with lemon leaves or other things before. Sometimes, I like a hot chocolate made from unsweetened cocoa powder, hot water, and almond milk. Thus, rather simple things. But I really like it that way. 🙂

HEAB August 26, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I so love keeping my food simple – I just feel better when I eat that way. Also love cocoa powder + almond milk. One of my favs in the winter! Glad you’re feeling good!

katherine d. August 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

green monster smoothie

katherinedibello (at) gmail(dot) com

Hayley August 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Hard boiled egg whites and almond butter!
Just not together ; )

Abbey August 24, 2011 at 11:53 am

Wonderful post Heather–thank you! Since Type 2 runs in my family (mother and grandmother), I am quite vigilant of my sugar consumption. Thank goodness I was raised as an athlete on a diet of very few processed foods, so I hope that helps ward off the disease as I continue to follow the same eating and exercise principles (now into my mid-20s). However, due to my milk and gluten allergies, I love fresh fruit/veggies and nuts/nut butters for snacks…yum!

HEAB August 26, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I know your diet and exercise will help you now and in the future. No doubt in my mind. 🙂

Lauren @ WWoB August 24, 2011 at 11:50 am

Awesome post, and I love the debate going on up at the top.
Fave sugar free snack is currently deviled eggs, snap peas, and homemade bars.

HEAB August 24, 2011 at 12:56 pm

Don’t get me started on my love of deviled eggs. Have you ever tried making them with hummus instead of mayo? Maybe we’ve discussed this? For some reason, I think we have. 🙂

Gloria August 24, 2011 at 10:57 am

Hey Heather, thanks for this great Q&A! I obstain from sugar because of the health risks, but also because my body does not handle addictive substances well and the crash I get is not worth the high (this includes chocolate. *tear*). That being said… I still allow myself some unsweetened baker’s chocolate from time to time. Do you know if 100% cacao, unsweetened chocolate chips exist or do I have to keep hacking at the bars every time I want chips? Thanks 🙂 And amen to hummus being sugar free!!

HEAB August 24, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Oh gosh, if I only could get my hands on some unsweetened chocolate chips, I’d be in heaven. I think we’ll both be hacking for a while. I do love unsweetened carob chips, but they contain sugar from dairy.

Leanne August 24, 2011 at 8:29 am

Hummus – I will dip pretty much anything in it – pita chips, veggies, crackers…the Tribe brand is a favorite, but I am planning on branching out and making my own soon….

Becky August 24, 2011 at 6:57 am

I would LOVE to read this book ! My dad is diabetic and we think my grandma was an undiagnosed diabetic as well. You have introduced me to Bakers in a whole new way! (Thank you!!) I remember my mom using it to bake with all the time and one time I must have wanted a bite and she quickly explained that it wasn’t that kind of candy bar, that it was for baking only and with no sugar in it, it would taste awful to just bite into it. WELL. I’ve always had it in my kitchen TO BAKE WITH- until I found your blog. Now, it goes in my oatmeal more mornings than not ! In fact , I had it yesterday with an oatmeal/oatbran combination . So I have to say BAKERS is my favorite sugar free snack (and new discovery!).

HEAB August 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Your comment made me happy. Growing up, the thought of eating the unsweetened stuff never even crossed my mind – just like your mom said, it was for baking only. What were we thinking?!? 😉

Marie-Helene August 23, 2011 at 11:00 pm

My favorite sugar-free snack is definitly chocolate protein ice cream with a touch of stevia. But kobacha with a nut butter sauce is not too far behind…. mmmm….

HEAB August 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Were we separated at birth? 😉

Marie-Helene August 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm

🙂 couple of things in common… I have happily been on a gluten-free sugar-free whole foods diet for about 4 years now. And I have discovered kabocha on your blog… love it! Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration! And i love your photos. 🙂

Marie-Helene August 24, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Oh, and also dairy-free.

s August 23, 2011 at 9:08 pm

my favorite sugar-free snack is peanut butter + carrots/celery. or, complex carbs like bread and multigrain hot cereal. or string cheese! there are so many, although i do have a bit of sugar daily, and i eat a lot of fruit. still, too much sugar makes gives me a sugar rush but then i feel sick 30 mins – an hr later, so i try to go a higher-fat higher-protein (but still some carbohydrates) route when it comes to snacking. 🙂

Bekah August 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Strawberries! Especially since I live in California. The nearby strawberry fields in Oxnard even smell delicious when driving past.

Donna August 23, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I’m another nut lover especially with apples!

EllenE August 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Let’s not listen to the doctors and scientists who are trained in these fields. Let’s listen to some random editor spout off what worked for him and take it as fact instead.
Please don’t. There may be some truth to his statements, but I dislike the disparaging tone he conveys to those performing ACTUAL research concerning diabetes and HFD. Just because this way happens to work for him, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone, or even anyone.

Jeff O'Connell August 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Yes, I would implore people to speak and listen closely to as many doctors, diabetes researchers, professors, educators, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, and other metabolic experts as is humanly possible. I interviewed 150 to 200 of them across the full spectrum of treatment approaches, as well as pouring through at least 500 studies.

I also gained valuable insight by traveling throughout North America, from the Mississippi Delta to coastal British Columbia to the Amish country and all parts in between, listening to the real-world experiences of patients like me. Sugar Nation summarizes my own treatment path based on what I learned. Others may find different paths that lead them to a similar place of health and wellness. I wish that for everyone.

It takes time–the book became the focus of my life for a year and a half–but for those of us with prediabetes or diabetes, this is life-and-death stuff. I found it well worth the effort.

esther August 23, 2011 at 7:15 pm

a spoonful of coconut butter, yum!

Alisa August 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm

Wow, this looks fantastic Heather. Husband and I are actually on a sugar-free diet right now and I could use some motivation from a book like this!

Kate August 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I love veggies & hummus!

Sarah August 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm

I love to eat a low sugar/greek yogurt with a tablespoon of flax or wheat bran stirred into it, topped with raspberries or blueberries and finished off with a sprinkle of sunflower seeds! MMMM talk about textures!

I would love to win this book because diabetes runs in my family. My father eats however he wants and just combats his issues with more medicines. It is heartbreaking. I try to be a good example, and have lost weight and continue to eat a healthy diet daily.

Malorie August 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm

i love berries with cinnamon on top!

Kathleen August 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Another PCOS chica here (and hypothyroid, to boot!) and I’ve been weaned off of sugar and most blood-sugar raising carbs for several years now! It’s amazing how just one meal of anything that raises my blood glucose makes me feel so bloated and sleepy!

Favorite sugar free snack: roasted almond butter or fresh peanut butter. I’m obsessed with the machine at Whole Foods where you make your own peanut butter–I want one for my house!

Alex @ Spoonful of Sugar Free August 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Yay for Sugar-Free 😀 😀 😀

And all my snacks are sugar-free….hahaha, but recently I have fallen in love with rice crackers and butternut squash hummus-Mmmmmm 😀

PB and Unsweetened chocolate will always be a favorite, though.

Chrisitne August 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

homemade hummus and guacamole with red bell peppers….yum!

Jeff O'Connell August 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

My favorite: a few slices of cheddar cheese with a small handful of roasted almonds (each has one gram of naturally occurring sugar per serving). Heather, thanks so much for the great interview, and for letting me share my thoughts with your amazing audience. I’ve picked up numerous great ideas for my own diet simply by reading through their enlightening comments.

HEAB August 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Thanks again for allowing me to share your story with my readers. I know others will benefit from your research and journey.

Kathy August 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I have a bad sugar habit, but have been trying to curb it with healthier snacks. Being vegan I want to eat healthy and eliminate diseases that can come along with age. I love nuts and nut butters and find myself reaching for spoonfuls when I get the urge to munch! Good read.

Kimberly August 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I’m an unsweetened chocolate convert after reading your blog!

michelle August 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Roasted brussel sprouts with tahini and toasted buckwheat

Sara@Plant-Powered Mom August 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

The book sounds great and I know I need to get off the sugar train!

My favorite sugar-free snack is a cut up Granny Smith apple dipped in almond butter 😉

Nikki August 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm

As someone who was diagnosed with PCOS when we were undergoing fertility treatments to have my son, I am curious to read this. If I don’t get picked I am going to have to read this. I am trying to find my food balance. After years of LOW fat, and getting nowhere but fatter with a bad cholesterol ratio, I have found incorporating healthy fats has helped me lose weight, and lower my ratio. In the past my bad cholesterol was never in the bad range, it was the fact I ate SO low fat that I had no healthy cholesterol to balance any bad stuff out. Not good! Curious about the sugars… I am in the process of trying to eliminate “fake” sugars from my diet, but habit is sometimes hard to change! …diet pop 🙁

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I get it says the former 6-A-Day Coke Zero addict. You can do it, and happy to hear you’re feeling better with more fat in your diet. I do too. 🙂

Annie@stronghealthyfit August 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm

YOU have gotten me hooked on unsweetened chocolate! I now eat it almost everyday for a snack.
That’s interesting that you mentioned PCOS. I have a friend who was diagnosed with it when she was trying to conceive. She had a friend who had effectively treated it by shifting her diet to a lower-carb, higher-fat ratio, as well as cutting out a lot of sugar. This worked for my friend too, and it helped her lose some weight for general health reasons as well.
I’m going to get my hands on this book whether I win it or not 🙂

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Regarding the Baker’s, you’re welcome. 🙂

I know several people with PCOS that have benefitted from a low carb/high fat diet. Sugar seems to be the enemy for them, well for all of us in my opinion.

Rachel C August 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

My fav is a hard boiled egg and a side of veggies, please! 😉

Laura August 23, 2011 at 10:50 am

Mine is definitely a scoop of natural peanut butter! Yum yum!

caroline August 23, 2011 at 10:33 am

mine is simply a little green veggie named Brussel sprout!! 🙂

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:16 am

I love Mr. Sprout too! 🙂

Kilee August 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

Heather, Thank you so much for doing this interview! I have not read Jeff’s book, but it sounds eye-opening. I try to reduce my sugar intake by cutting out refined sugar, but still use maple syrup or honey quite frequently. I will be downloading Sugar Nation onto my kindle in the future. (Unless I win a free copy-hehe!)

STUFT mama August 23, 2011 at 9:52 am

Whoa- those eggs are intriguing. This is such a great post Heather. I suffered through some infertility issues and to this day I believe that diet was one of the major factors behind it. Doctors didn’t know causes of my issues, but they readily prescribed medication to help me try to get pregnant. I think if I would’ve given up processed food, really watched my sugar intake and didn’t binge back then, it would have made a world of difference. That’s just my personal opinion though. Oh man I want to win this book! 🙂

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

Stuft :),
I get it and could not agree more. So many docs are labeling infertility issues as PCOS and I think it’s largely diet related. Docs couldn’t figure me out either. I’m an enigma.

Natalia August 23, 2011 at 9:49 am

I’d love to read this, and pass it on to my father in law, who is diabetic, then also to my dad, whose parents were both diabetic and doesn’t follow the healthiest lifestyle!

Kelly August 23, 2011 at 9:44 am

Definitely string cheese! Or peanut butter. Or carrots and hummus. :o)

Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine August 23, 2011 at 9:18 am

A love of handful of peanuts as a snack. I would love to read this book!

Colleen Stewart August 23, 2011 at 8:20 am

Luckily I’m not a “sweets” person 🙂 but have people in my life who are, so I would love to read this book!
Favorite snack right now? An organic apple with a scoop of organic natural peanut butter 🙂

mallory August 23, 2011 at 7:59 am

raw unsalted almond butter…. on a spoon 🙂

vicky August 23, 2011 at 7:52 am

Dates with nut butter!!! 🙂

Grace August 23, 2011 at 7:43 am

Gotta give a shout out to good ol’ hummus and carrot sticks!

Robin August 23, 2011 at 7:35 am

My non-sugar snack is fruit. Yes, it has sugars, but it is much healthier than a piece of chocolate.

jenika August 23, 2011 at 7:21 am

Most of my habitual snacks have sugar in them, albeit natural: larabars, fruit, dates, cookies, sweetened coffee etc. The rare non-sugar snack would be cheese or miso soup in a cup.

Nut butter’s the overwhelming popular guy in these comments, so I’m gonna give that a shot. Insightful post. Thanks!

Cameo August 23, 2011 at 6:34 am

This is a very good post! I am actually reading a book by one of his contemporaries, Gary Taubes, that I am working on a post/review for…gosh, I wish I could get him to interview with me! Kudos to you, m’Lady!

I wish, wish, wish, I had a degree in the world of medicine because if I did I would probably be out there campaigning against starch and sugar, too. I know from only personal experience and lots of self-inflicted study sessions that my body is at its leanest when I omit sugar and white flour and I keep my protein ratio very high. Is my body the “healthiest” when I eat like this? I dunno. I am fortunate to not have any diabetes in my family nor do I have any symptoms…so it hasn’t been a road I have walked down.

However, science shmience, says I! How on earth is it that we ate tons and tons of meat and saturated fat for CENTURIES without diabetes and cancer taking over our lives and then BOOM! the 1960’s rolls around and everyone is afraid of fat. All I know is that I got FAT eating FAT-Free and that I don’t necessarily “trust” doctors when it comes to nutrition advice.

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:25 am

Yes, I agree. I’m not saying doctors are all wrong, but from what I understand they receive very little nutritional training, and I think it’s important we do our own research and question conventional wisdom, especially when our own health is at stake.

Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) August 23, 2011 at 5:49 am

Great info. Thanks, Heather. My fav sugar free snack = handful of raw cashews or spoonfuls of Maranatha almond butter. So good.

Jenny August 23, 2011 at 5:41 am

Thank you for that great interview. So insightful!! My favorite is green peppers with hummus! YUM!!

Tess August 23, 2011 at 5:27 am

Oat bran with dark cocoa powder and cinnamon!!!!Scrump-deli-icious!!!!
The book sound very ineresting and great interview. Thanks.

Tasha @ Voracious Eats August 23, 2011 at 4:14 am

This is awesome, Heather! What a great interview. I’ve known intuitively my whole life that sugar is definitely NOT good for me. I react very strongly to too much sugar and feel like utter crap. As a vegan, I think one reason I became so sick was because so much of what I had to eat out of necessity (grains and beans) reacted in my body like sugar. I felt the same surges of blood sugar and the inevitable crash. Now that I eat eggs and fish and meat regularly I’ve regained my health and have been able to eliminate that awful feeling. I haven’t eliminated sugar entirely, because I still eat chocolate and the occasional baked good (oh and ice cream!) but I’ve drastically limited my intake, which has made me much healthier and happier.

My favorite sugar free snack – nut butter for sure, is a good one. But I also like hard boiled eggs topped with hot sauce. YUMMMM!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:35 am

I always forget about hard boiled eggs as a snack. Not sure why b/c I love them. So happy to hear you’re feeling better…and why oh why is ice cream so freakin’ good?!? 😉

Andrea M August 23, 2011 at 4:07 am

Oh my word…i have pcos and it took docs the better part of a year to figure out why my body just stopped working, and i do have pre-diabetic and premenopausal symptoms including infertility. I am only 26 and my husband and I are trying anyway to have a baby – and praying mightily for what God will do regardless. I have considered diet and lifestyle to be aiding the pcos OR the possibility of aiding a reversal of it. I would love to read this or talk to you more, Heather. I did not expect this interview to be so hopeful and was shocked when you asked the question relating to pcos. 🙂 I am indeed hopeful.
my favorite snack is fresh veggies or protein ice cream mmm!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:38 am

Andrea M,
Email me anytime! Doctors thought I might have had PCOS, but then the last doctor I saw did not think I had it. I’m a puzzle. 🙂

Trust me though, I’ve been there. Modern Medicine can work miracles when it comes to baby making. It will happen for you.

Paula August 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Andrea, Have you looked into taking chasteberry/vitex? Also, are you charting your basal body temperature?

Miskolina August 23, 2011 at 3:40 am

My favourite sugar-free snack is bananna smoothie= bananna+rice milk+cinnamon. 🙂

Dea August 23, 2011 at 12:25 am

cherry tomatoes (’tis the season!) they have natural sugars, but are so good!

Amy August 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm

I would have to say my favorite sugar free snack is cheese! I love cheese, but I when I do want something sweet, I like to use xylitol and make candied nuts- pecans, almonds, cashews etc. These are wonderful in a salad too! 🙂

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:39 am

Never though to do that with xylitol. I like the way you think…and I also like cheese. A LOT! 🙂

Trisha August 22, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Thanks for this review! And the interview. I loved reading it. Almond butter…just straight up almonds…is definitely my favorite little treat. Can’t get enough of it!

Nellie August 22, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I’ve been loving sunflower seed butter with baby carrots!

Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco August 22, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Thanks for sharing this, Heather! I love me some unsweetened hot tea. Does that count as a snack? I hope so! 😉

Laurie August 22, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Air popped popcorn w/butter spray & cinnamon sprinkled on top – oh so yummy!!

Amy August 22, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Sounds like a great book! One of my favorite sugar-free snacks is a hard-boiled egg sliced with mustard drizzled on top. mmm!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:41 am

Hard boiled eggs + mustard got me through my first trimester of pregnancy. All I wanted some days! Well, that and Pop-Tarts. 😉

Annie August 22, 2011 at 9:31 pm

lordie, those frambled eggs look scrumptious!… I, unfortunately, deal with hypoglycemia daily and have to be careful.. just last week I had an “episode” during a business meeting because I forgot my lunch and made poor choices in the cafeteria.. I typically carry Justin’s individual packets of Almond Butter in my purse but I didn’t have my purse in the meeting.. cripes it was embarrassing… diaphoretic, lips tingling, talking like I was having a stroke.. ugh.. but I digress… besides AB… I love me some boiled eggs and homemade deer jerky.. oh! and string cheese is another easy snack.. mmm with an apple.. dang.. I think I’m hungry LOL

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

Venison jerky? Never had it, but I have had lots of Justin’s. Lots and lots. Love Justin. 🙂

Katie August 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm

How about bakers unsweetened chocolate AND a spoonful of nut butter? Or tahini?

I’m about to go get me some of that right now!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:44 am

Yes and yes. Hope you enjoyed your snack. 🙂

Jen@foodfamilyfitness August 22, 2011 at 9:25 pm

My great-great grandmother down to my mother have or have had varying cases of diabetes. I, myself, am unfortunatley on the same path unless I change direction, and I vow to myself and my family that I will change that path!!!

Fave snack: Hardboiled eggs, heavy on the pepper.

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

Yay, so happy to hear it. You can so do this!
And yes, heavy on the pepper, always. 🙂

Rhoni August 22, 2011 at 9:24 pm

This book looks soooo good! I want it! 🙂

My fave sugar free snack is probably no snack. I usually don’t snack…but maybe that’s why type 2 diabetes runs in my family?! Because we are supposed to be eating those smaller meals.

So then I guess I would say a banana with almond butter. But do bananas count as being sugar free?

So just in case, my next fave snack is a hard-boiled egg topped with pesto.

Geez I mad that way too hard! 😉

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:51 am

Hehe, you’re funny. Bananas do have naturally occurring sugars, but a much better choice than say a Twinkie, right? 😉

Amy August 22, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Great post, would love to win a copy of this book! I have atypical PCOS (lean, but with insulin resistance) and am constantly reading and researching dietary choices.
My favorite sugar-free snack is full fat greek yogurt…either savory or as dessert 😉

Paula August 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Wow. Yeah, being lean and having PCOS and insulin resistance is very atypical. You probably have a very strong genetic predisposition. Have you tried paleo? Also, have you ever been or are you now on birth control? Synthetic reproductive hormones are NOT friends to our ovaries! For me, getting off birth control was an important first step in beginning to re-balance my hormones and alleviate PCOS symptoms

Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple August 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Apple with almond butter is my favorite snack!

Tara August 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm

My favorite sugar free snack is a spoonful of nut butter. Nothing beats it!

Katherina @ Zephyr Runs August 22, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I would love this book, so much. I’m devouring all sorts of dietary information lately and am trying to diversify my sources! My favorite sugar free snack is kale chips. Raw, though, is carrots. I like carrots for when I’m ‘mindlessly hungry’ and just need something to chew! How about carrots and almond butter <3

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:54 am

Works for me. 🙂

hilary August 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm

i have such a sugar addiction – i would love to read this book! my favorite snack most of the time is popcorn with braggs and nutritional yeast. i’m going to make roasted chickpeas tomorrow for a potentially (hopefully!) delicious healthy new snack. 🙂

Stacie @ Imperfectly Healthy August 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I’ve been reading up on the health effects of eating sugar, so I’d love to win this book! My favorite sugar free snack is definitely nut butter since it’s so filling and also so rich in its own way!

Emily @ Comfortable Home Life August 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Mmmmm nut butter! SO yum! What an interesting question and answer session. Seriously eye opening.

Maren August 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm

DEFINITELY nut butters!! Now if it was only calorie free, too! 🙂

PaleoRunnerGirl August 22, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Thank you so much for the excellent interview! I think I may have to pick up this book! This is such a significant issue. My dad was just diagnosed with Diabetes and I am trying to urge him to Paleo to reduce his sugars. Maybe I will send him a copy of the book!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:56 am

You’re welcome. I think Jeff’s book would really help your dad, or anyone diagnose with diabetes. It’s an eye opener for sure and very helpful!

Karen August 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Almonds. They are my travel food, my snack food, my meal on the go food…. Love em!

KatieC August 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm

My favorite sugarless snack is a smoothie made with homemade yogurt and frozen fruit. I know this has natural sugar from the fruit, but it’s definitely sweet enough to not have to add any white stuff (or brown stuff, or liquid stuff, or any extra sugar in any form).

Janknitz August 22, 2011 at 8:19 pm

My favorite sugar-free snack is a spoonful of coconut butter I learned to make right here on this blog. Yum! Mix it with a melted square of baker’s chocolate (I’m not quite there yet) or 82% chocolate and you’ve got heaven on a spoon!

PCOS here, and a parent with Type II diabetes. I know I’m headed that way if I don’t stick to this WOE forever!

Laura August 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Almond butter! by the jar…I mean, spoonful 🙂

Aimee M August 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm

My favorite sugar-free snacks are almond butter by the spoonful or hard-boiled eggs. I have one of these every day when I get home after my workout!

Ali August 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm

My favorite sugar-free (or natural sugar) snack is a green monster smoothie with stevia-sweetened protein powder, spinach, frozen banana, and unsweetened almond milk.

Heather August 22, 2011 at 7:40 pm

Favorite sugar free snacks……..raw nuts or nut butter – fresh veggies and fruit!

Great post Heather – I’ve already discovered some of these same truths! Too much of anything is hard on our bodies!

Ariel August 22, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Hi Heather!
What a great post!! My favorite snack is nut butter with anything…usually mixed with some plain greek yogurt and plain oats. Yum yum yum!

Jen August 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Brown rice cake with half an avocado smashed on top and dusted with salt. YUM! I now crave it more than chocolate!

Erin August 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Greek yogurt with pb and a little stevia is my fav snack. I would LOVE a copy of this book; I was diagnosed with PCOS over 5 yrs ago and through diet and exercise, I have lost weight but many of my symptoms still persist. I try to read everything I can about PCOS and insulin resistance!

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) August 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Great review and interview Heather!I can honestly say that I never really thought much about diabetes before the last few months. Tony’s uncle died due to complications of diabetes and really, I think his mom has it too. I am so frustrated by the subject and have realized that the poorer areas seem to have it the worst. I’m guessing it has to do with the cost of white carbs and the fact that they are so cheap. UGH! They grew this incredible garden this summer with all these fresh vegetables and fruits…the boys and I are the only ones that ate it! Seriously, it drove me crazy. As for eating healthy with little ones, really, if they acquire a taste for your healthier version, they won’t like the greasy fast food alternatives. My boys love home made pizza with fresh meats and vegetables. They actually get excited with I bake healthy treats for them. Really, when you eat healthy, you feel great after you consume the food…not heavy and gross. This hit so close to home. I’ll definitely grab a copy of the book. Thanks for sharing this!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 11:59 am

I can’t believe all those fresh fruits and vegetables that weren’t wanted. So glad you and your boys were there to eat them – I saw all your veggie-filled dinners, and would have been happy to join you in eating them. Hope Summer loves the good stuff just like your kiddos do! 🙂

Hannah August 22, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Oh, Heather. Thank you… but this also gives me the heebie-jeebies. I do okay, food choices-wise, but I’ve been falling a bit into the trap of high sugar lately. (*ahem entire batch of peanut butter rice krispie slice made of marshmallows in two days*).

A part of me wants to read this, a part of my resists, because it knows it’ll be confronted by the facts.

Favourite sugar free snack? Spoonfuls of nut butter or roasted chickpeas.

Ana August 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I just lost an aunt this past week who had diabetes, which she developed as an adult- she was obese and lately was loosing weight and taking care of herself. She was only 50, and even though she died because of an infection the diabetes contributed massively to her inability to recover. I have been extremely sad this past week since she was my mom’s sister and super close to me and my family. But as sad as it is sometimes these things happen and are good to open our eyes.
I feel my best when I avoid sugar, but my family doesn’t underdtand that and always give me a very hard time. I wish people could see the health benefits of a whole foods diet with different eyes, or at least respect those who choose to live/eat this way.
My favorite snack is for sure almond butter!! I also like berries, and for a salty snack edamame, those little green gems are just too good!

Jorge J. August 22, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I my self am type 2 diabetic and chocoholic. My favorite sugar free snack? yes, dark chocolate sweetened with splenda. Unfortunately no more than one ounce and not very often.

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} August 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm

My favorite sugar free snack is nuts.

Great post, Heather. I’d be really interesting in reading this book.

Barb August 22, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Would love to read this book! I’ve lost 80 pounds doing the low carb approach. Just had my cholesterol levels and blood sugar checked and everything was in normal ranges, I was so glad to receive this news. My favorite low sugar snack is a spoonful of nut butter…just have to watch the calories!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Awesome news indeed!

Nikki @ Resistant Nikki August 22, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Thanks for this post – I found it very interesting as someone with a family history of diabetes and having been diagnosed with insulin resistance myself. I especially related to your question regarding finding balance for your family. I have a two year old, and I want her to grow up healthy, but I don’t want to turn her away from a healthy lifestyle by being overbearing and keeping her from occasionally enjoying things like birthday cake and fruit snacks.

My favorite sugar-free snack is currently tomato, basil, mozarella, and some hemp seeds drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. (Though there are some carbs in tomato!)

Andrea@WellnessNotes August 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

My favorite snack are raw almonds.

Great interview! Sounds like a very interesting book. My hubby has a family history of diabetes and used to love sugar. We are working on getting him off it…

Courtney August 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Homemade almond butter! 😀

Sara B August 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I love to snack on a few almonds or cashews!

kristen, sweetly August 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

i love carrot sticks and celery with peanut butter, and oat bran with some stevia and cocoa powder! 🙂

i hadn’t considered the amount of sugar in my diet until recently this year. i’ve lost weight, and definitely think my diet is worlds away from where it was years ago, but i hadn’t considered the amount of sugar in my otherwise fairly-healthy snacks. i love your point-of-view, and your awesome snack ideas.

Erin August 22, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Greek yogurt with cinnamon, flax seed and fruit!

Karina August 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm

ummmm almonds

Jamie August 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

How bout spinach strawberry salad….or a handful of almonds.

This book looks super interesting. My dad is pre-diabetic and has a serious sugar habit….and a huge case of denial.

Emilia @ Namaste Gurl August 22, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Great responses to the interview and book! I couldn’t agree more with your answers– sugar and I don’t mix very well 🙂 If only people would get that sugar is the main demean! One day it’ll happen…

Heather’s (Kiss My Broccoli) is visiting me in SC and we wish you were here! Hope your well 🙂

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Wish I was there too. Mind if I bring CD and Summer along? 😉

Anne August 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Summer could always eat heabified birthday goodies right? 😉

hands down, cottage cheese (although it does have some sugar..) mixed with crunchy peanut butter and unsweetened cocoa powder. ahhh bliss 🙂

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Yes, lots of HEABified birthday goodies will be made in years to come. 🙂

Maxene Graze August 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Mine is definitely almond butter & flaxseed on a rice cake with chopped banana and cinnamon on top.

liz dean August 22, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Nut butter….straight off a spoon. 😉 Or with celery…lol

courtney August 22, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Thank you, both Heather and Jeff, for the informative interview. My mom has pre-diabetes, and her mom died young from a heart attack that was likely related to type 2 diabetes. Knowing that this disease runs in my family makes me particularly aware of the importance of moving often and eating well, and I would love to read this book and share it with my loved ones!

My fav sugar-free snack has to be lightly salted mixed nuts–addiction!!!

Lela August 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

My favorite sugar free snack would have to be almonds 🙂

Fallon August 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Very interesting. Sounds like a good read.

My favorite unsweetened snack is a huge spoonful of almond butter!

Vanessa August 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm

I don’t snack in between meals. I love me some 90% dark chocolate though after dinner. Curious, Heather, if after reading the book you will change anything about your own diet?

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Probably not since I already try and watch my sugar intake, but it definitely got me thinking. I know that when I overdo the sugar, I feel so gross, and it’s really just not worth it. I’d much rather snack on something that makes me feel good and is better for my body.

Jen August 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

this looks like an interesting read! i am a medical student and i love reading about how to discuss lifestyle changes before leaping to biomedical interventions for chronic conditions.

my favorite sugar free snacks are dry roasted edamame or sunflower seeds!

Stephanie @ August 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I LOVE things that remind me to continue fighting against sugar. Because some days, it really feels like a battle… and while there’s no diabetes in my family, we do have cholesterol issues—and for me, mine goes up when my weight goes up. My weight goes up when I’m in thrall to sugar and starch. I’d like to see more public knowledge about the connection between high-sugar / -carb diets and high LDL levels, which has been proven clinically already.

A sugar-free snack? Salad with goat cheese and mustard. Eating it now… yum. Great post, Heather!

Brooke August 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm

My current favorite snack is a brown rice cake with TJ almond butter with flax and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

lindasy August 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Thank you for such a thorough review. I really enjoyed the Q&A. I also agree with him, low fat diets screwed our health. His approach is much more natural and healing. Snack away!!

Right now I am loving snacking on flax crackers and hummus.

The Delicate Place August 22, 2011 at 2:39 pm

oh man i could talk at length about this. sugar is a huge phobia of mine and while i do indulge in small amounts weekly, i really really try hard not to include added sugars to my day to day life. i used to work in complications of diabetes research and holy bahjeezus was that enough to scare me for good!

i wish more people would realize (both overweight and non) that if you limit your consumption of sugar overall your health will improve in all aspects. skin looks better, weight loss, cravings reduced etc. it’s truly toxic!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I could not agree more. Totally toxic. 🙁

Baking N Books August 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Very interesting. I like that he disclaims it though and advises to follow only if suffering from those specific conditions. But of course a healthy diet lower in sugars and higher in veggies and healthy fats is the way to go! :)….I’ll still eat my pizza too though 🙂 – cheese, carbs, veggies – why not?

I like his suggestions for Summer too – but I would still allow stuff in moderation. If she goes to a birthday party and eats a piece of cake – that’s normal – and if she’s not doing it everyday at home, then why not? Starting kids on a bad/good foods to young in life leads to a lot of issues and sadly eating disorders. I think families should encourage and educate re: the good foods absolutely – but not make the ‘other’ foods out to be the devil or put so much focus and fears around it.

emily August 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm

It’s so sad that diabetes is so prevalent. My favorite snack is natural chunky peanut butter and celery!

Katie @ Peace Love and Oats August 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I don’t have diabetes in my family, but I must say that I feel very blessed to have grown up in a community where healthy eating (generally…) and exercise were enforced throughout my childhood. I think so many young people are getting diabetes because of their environmental influences and not being educated about fitness and health! Hopefully we will be able to make this change

Maria (Maria Makes Muffins) August 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I love a good snack! My favorite mid-morning snack has been low-fat greek yogurt + raspberries. Amazing. No sugar needed. 🙂

steph August 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm

almond butter or nuts!

Ellen August 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm

i’m gluten free and sugar free, and i really think there’s a ton of value in this diet for people with chronic diseases. i will very occasionally eat GF desserts on special occasions, but i find afterward that it is rarely worth it. it makes me feel crappy and simultaneously want to eat more of it! it’s a bizarre substance, to be sure.

my favorite sugar free sweet snack is mixing coconut cream with almond butter and a pinch of cocoa powder spread on a ripe banana. delicious!

Miranda (Untamed Kitchen) August 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm

My fav sugar-free snack is raw almond butter…on carrots, celery, 100% dark chocolate, with unsweetened coconut flakes, or really anything. 🙂

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga August 22, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Thanks for the book review and interview, Heather. Wow, you put lots of time into this one and thank you!

My fave sugar free snack would be popcorn with coconut oil and topped with nooch, cocoa powder, and stevia (but you can omit that too)

Socal Rachel August 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm

My favorite sugar free snack is banana soft serve, sometimes I mix in a nut butter.

Sylvia @ LifeIsGoodWithFood August 22, 2011 at 1:29 pm

My mom is always scared that my brother and I will have diabetes because we have a family history of it and my grandpa also had it. I’ve started to cut out all soda as that is the #1 sugar enemy for me and started enjoying seltzer water with a twist of lemon/lime slices to help me curb my bubbly cravings. As for my favorite sugar-free snack? It’s hard to choose but it’s probably a toss-up between flavored peanut butter or hummus with carrot sticks. Gotta love that salty hummus paired with a sweet veggie 😉

charlotte August 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

you know how deeply interested I am in this subject! Sugar is such a dilemma for me. For me, my favorite no-sugar-added snack is fruit. Frozen grapes are a current fave but from what I understand even fruit can be problematic for pre-diabetics like Jeff…

Paula August 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Oh! and my favorite sugar free snack at the moment is a brown rice cake (gotta be whole grain!) smeared with sunflower seed butter 🙂

Paula August 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for this post Heather! I didn’t know about this book, but I definitely need to read it.
A year ago I was insulin resistant with chronic hyperinsulinemia, hyprothyroidism, PCOS, and very depressed. Diabetes is rampant in my family. A regular doctor would have but me on Metformin, birth control pill, Synthroid, and some kind of anti-depressant – ummmm…. hell no. Taking a holistic and natural approach to everything in life is what always appealed and made the most sense to me. I knew these things could be managed by lifestyle change, so I went to a naturopathic doctor and began to study, study, study to take control of my health. It was a battle royale, not easy by any means, but I learned so much about myself and am now healthy and way better off having gone through what I did than had I not.
I am currently in the process of yoga teacher training and will follow that with nutrition/health coach training. I would love to help other people, so many people! who are in the same boat but can see no other path than the conventional wisdom and treatments that have been failing us so miserably.

Erin August 22, 2011 at 7:04 pm

I am going through the regular doctor way and its not working … synthroid for hypothyroidism, metformin for insulin resistance, and I just stopped taking BC for my PCOS because it was making my symptoms worse :(. I lost 30 lbs two years ago and kept it off but my symptoms have not improved. Do you have any tips/ advice? I feel like I have done everything and nothing works!

Paula August 23, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Oh Erin, I empathize so much with you! I’m sorry your symptoms are not improving. As I like to say: when things aren’t working, try something new. 30 pound weight loss is a great accomplishment and a very important step in returning to health from these issues. Blood sugar metabolism and reproductive hormones especially are affected by excess body fat so loosing weight is crucial to healing and re-balancing these hormones. Not sure if your weight is in the “normal/healthy” range now (BMI 19-24) and while this measurement system has it’s flaws, it’s a good place to start. You’ll have a much better fighting chance if your weight is in this range. Your best weapon in this fight is the diet & exercise combo…… Oh my, I have so much I want to tell you, it might be best to correspond through email. Feel free to email me at paulala at ucla dot edu to continue the conversation. I want to tell you about my experience in figuring out the best diet & exercise for me in light of these health issues that we share, and also about the herbal supplements that you can use to replace the prescriptions. Good for you for going off BC, that is so great. When I went off it I started taking chasteberry/vitex to assist in re-balancing my reproductive hormones and alleviating the PCOS symptoms. There are also herbal supplements I took for my insulin resistance and hypothyroid that helped a lot. I’d love to tell you more about it! Just shoot me an email and we’ll talk 🙂

Kathleen August 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Paula, I’d love to get in touch with you too! I have PCOS and hypothyroidism, and still have a lot of problems, despite following a low-carb/primal way of eating. I’ll e-mail you at the address you listed above–thanks!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Wow, awesome. So happy to hear that you took your health into your own hands, and that you are feeling better. Another reader has left a comment for you, and I will forward it to you via email.

Paula August 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Oh! I didn’t see this before I commented 🙂

Erin, I will email you!

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm

My favourite sugar free snack is a handful of roasted, unsalted nuts. Usually.
Right now, at the height of tomato season, it’s fresh field tomatoes with a pinch of salt .

AmyJoGo August 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I’d really like to read this. I was told last year that I am ‘pre diabetic’. It’s hard to cut the sugar because it’s EVERYWHERE but it’s also an addiction/habit to want something sweet for the flavor and the rush.

My favorite snack is a hard boiled egg or a baked apple. I core them and stuff with a tablespoon of raisins, coconut oil and cinnamon.

Tricia August 22, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Once I cut out sugar from my diet everything tasted sweeter to me. My favorite snack is almonds or since summer time is here thinly sliced cucumbers!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Yes, I always tell people that’s the case. The less you sweeten, the less sweetener you will need. Food’s natural sweetness will start to shine through!

katie August 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm

My favorite sugar free snack- almonds!!!

Lindsey August 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm

LOVE hummus and carrots. or korean kim (salted, roasted seaweed).

Missy Kluesner August 22, 2011 at 12:47 pm

My favorite sugar free snack are nut butters by the spoonful! I could eat a jar of Smart Balance creamy peanut butter any day!

Neena August 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I love raw crunchy veggies – celery sticks, baby carrots, tiny tomatoes, radishes. YUM!

Lauren A. @ Newest Obsession August 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I would love to win this book. I suffer from hypoglycemia and I strive to live an active lifestyle. I find that a lot of the literature on sports nutrition that I read suggests consuming high glycemic carbohydrates during endurance activities and that just does not work for me. I am constantly experimenting with preventing blood sugar spikes while making sure my body has the energy it needs to complete endurance activities.

My favorite sugar free snack is definitely baby carrots and hummus!

Brandi b August 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I love roasted seaweed from trader joes

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan August 22, 2011 at 12:30 pm

This is a great interview, Heather; really informative. I’m constantly tweaking my diet, and a little over a month ago decided to cut out sugar pretty much 100% (even fruit and beans), and most grains as well. Interestingly, I did not feel better, and was actually much more moody. However, last week, I added JUST fruit back to my diet (no other sugars), and suddenly I feel high on life! I think cutting out the OTHER sugars, and maybe the grains too, have done me some good, but that’s the last time I try cutting out fruit completely! Naturally occurring sugars are where it’s at. 🙂

I’d love to win a copy of this book! My favorite sugar-free snack is nut butter, too…although it might be a tie with hummus!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm

That’s how I felt when I cut out grains. Personally, I feel better with some grain lovin’ in my life. Oats make me happy. 🙂

Maggie @ Say Yes to Salad August 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Gosh, there are so many sugar free snacks that I love! Ummm… I guess my favorite would be a spoonful of peanut butter 😀 I also like jerky (beef or turkey).

Jackie August 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Almonds and a string cheese!

teabagginit August 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

my favorite sugar free snack … you’re totally going to get grossed out! …
unsweetened almond milk, frozen spinach, vanilla extract, cinnamon (not blended, eaten like cereal!)

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Yep, a little grossed out, but I’d still try it. 😉

Nicole August 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm

A spoon full of almond butter, or peppers with hummus!

Maren August 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm

My grandfather died of insulin dependent diabetes after having it for over 50 years. I’m trying really hard to be good about my sugar intake and fitness because the doctor told our family that the disease was probable genetic and some of us would inherit it. Luckily, no one has yet. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing it!!!

Meg August 22, 2011 at 11:53 am

Bakers Chocolate (which I learned on this blog and fell in love with!) or string cheese. Those are my go-to snacks.

Miriam August 22, 2011 at 11:25 am

Fruit! I have a wicked sweet tooth, and after battling GD (in which I was able to walk through my pg without taking insulin), I found it did the trick for taking care of the cravings.

Anymore – I cannot stand granulated sugar (way to sweet for me) and Apples have become an absolute favorite. It is so funny how our tastes change and evolve!

Funny – I’ve been telling my husband (who is Type 2) about avoiding simple carbs etc. No one else was telling us this info – I sort of figured it out while pg by trial and error. (His doc gave him the low-fat spiel…which doesn’t really help!) Now I’m seeing more and more information pop up…I watched a documentary (well part of one) about 2 mo ago with similar information. I don’t recall what it was called though.

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I can’t believe what some doctors are telling their patients. Mind blowing. Glad you’re there for your hubby. 🙂

Ali August 22, 2011 at 11:25 am

I’d have to say my favorite sugar free snack is either hard boiled eggs or almond butter!

katie @KatieDid August 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

I think I have a very similar approach to diet and exercise as you, and have read a lot about the primal/ paleo lifestyle and happen to agree with many of the points. I feel my best avoiding sugar on a daily basis, but do enjoy treats occasionally too. I love snacking on whole milk yogurt, berries, almond butter, and crushed unsweetened chocolate.

Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance August 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

My brother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 6, and has struggled his way through a difficult lifestyle because of it. Although this is different from type 2– this book still looks like it would be an interestingly useful read for me.

Thank you Heather!

Brigid of Vegging out in T-Town August 22, 2011 at 11:19 am

I would LOVE to win this book! I’m in love with a type-2 diabetic (with genuinely awful doctors), and it’s a constant challenge to find an eating plan that works for us both. I’m a borderline hypoglycemic vegetarian, so it can get very complicated!

My favorite sugar-free snack is straight-up peanut butter, or maybe a cup of hot tea.

Cindy August 22, 2011 at 11:03 am

great interview Heather!

I am really really working on dumping white sugar (esp) from our diet.

I would really love a chance to win a copy of Sugar Nation!

also your lentil recipes are a godsend! THANKS!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Welcome. 🙂

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List August 22, 2011 at 10:54 am

Great post, Heather!! Very informative!
I eat raw almonds as my sugar-free snack!

Michele August 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

Like Jeff, I too have reactive hypoglycemia and would love to have a copy of his book to learn how he manages his. My favorite sugar free snack is almond butter and celery.

Sarah M August 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

Sounds like a great book, I just finished up “Why We Get Fat.” I’m with you on the baker’s chocolate, and I would probably just have jerky hanging out of my mouth 24/7 if it wasn’t so hard to find without sugar in it!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Sarah M,
EXACTLY! Why don’t they make no sugar added jerky?!? Been pondering this for years.

Kat August 22, 2011 at 10:23 am

I love almond butter straight out of the jar, or fresh fruit and veggies – so refreshing in the summer heat!

Carol August 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

My favorite sugar free snack is a handful of nuts.

Jennie (the gf-gf) August 22, 2011 at 10:21 am

I don’t have a family history of Type 2 Diabetes, but I do have a family history of Celiac disease, which is carried on the same gene or chromosome (or something, I can never remember!) as Type 1 Diabetes, so in general I try to keep my sugar intake low – try to! My favorite snack is nuts or beef jerky.

I think the way we treat diabetes is so crazy! I overheard a woman in a restaurant the other day who was talking about how she was struggling with gestational diabetes – her latest blood sugar test was 160, and she couldn’t figure out why, as all she’d had was pasta and 2 chai tea lattes! Doh!

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Seriously. Eeek, that is heart breaking. What on earth did her doctor tell her?!? So sad. 🙁

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Or, I guess I should say, what on earth did her doctor NOT tell her???

Jennie (the gf-gf) August 24, 2011 at 11:03 am

I ended up writing an entire post about this on my blog – I’d love for you to check it out 🙂

Victoria (District Chocoholic) August 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

Thanks for posting this…a lot to think about. I have a family member with PCOS who uses it as an excuse to not be healthier…doesn’t eat veggies or exercise. No surprise she doesn’t improve her health, PCOS or not.

Of course PCOS is hard to deal with, regardless of what it really is. But people need to be proactive with their health regardless of the hand they’ve been dealt.

nadia August 22, 2011 at 10:03 am

I love this post. my mom and grandparents were both diabetic. My mom actually suffered greatly from this disease. I have pcos and as you try to love the low-sugar lifestyle (would love to not become diabetic myself). hard though it was to beat a sugar addiction…
Would love to read this book! thanks for the great post Heather, I know a lot of people are appreciating it.

HEAB August 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm

You did beat it. We both did. Thank goodness for Baker’s, huh? 😉

Ashley August 22, 2011 at 9:46 am

I don’t claim to know everything when it comes to diabetes, but most of the recent research I’ve read points to fat, not carbs, as the culprit in the development of T2DM. My understanding is that excess fat causes damage to the beta cells of the pancreas, so insulin production declines. At time of diagnosis most people have been steadily ‘developing’ diabetes for years, hence the use of Metformin (which acts by increasing cells’ sensitivity to insulin, so that the body can do more with the already reduced levels).

As far as the low-fat diets go once diabetes has been diagnosed, the reason for this is that having diabetes is an independent risk for heart disease. When explaining diabetic meal patterns, or consistent carbohydrate meal patterns, as we called them at the hospital I worked at as a registered dietitian, I told patients the following: Carbohydrates must be monitored because of the effect on blood sugars, but fat type and content is a concern as well, because having T2DM equate to them already having had a heart attack. As far as heart health is concerned, that diagnosis puts them at the same risk of having a heart attack that someone who has already had one has, if that makes sense. And so it’s not that the diet needs to be low-fat, just low in heart unhealthy fats, like saturated and trans. Heart protective fats are not the enemy.

It seems like this guy is passionate about this issue, but when it comes to a disease that affects multiple organ systems and can be treated in many different ways, a registered dietitian, physician or CDE might be a better resource to go to for lifestyle advice. A lot of what I read in this post is not science, it’s opinion, and should not be taken as preventative insurance against a disease that is so multifactoral. But it’s a part of my job to keep up to date with both the science behind medical nutrition therapy, and what people are actually saying/doing regarding these diseases, so thanks for sharing 🙂

boofadil August 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm

The thing is, it depends on who is doing the research and what exactly they’re testing for. I think that you are absolutely right about the fact that Diabetes (type 2 is what I’m thinking of) is a multi-system issue and you can’t just focus on one without affecting the others. The problem comes when you only promote a low carb diet or a low fat diet or a low whatever diet without actually looking at the whole person. Yes, diabetes is a huge risk factor for heart disease, but I’m diabetic, overweight and strangely don’t have heart disease. Will I get it if I continue to eat double whoppers and large french fries and a soda? Yeah buddy. But if I focus on whole foods, with a well balanced diet of loads of veggies, some, but little, whole grains, some fruit (mostly berries) from time to time, and a balance of fats from nuts, avocados and with the occasional animal fat…I’ll probably feel better, be more willing to exercise, feel full because I’ve got some carb to tell my brain that it’s being fed and fat and fiber and protein to slow down the breakdown of the food. If I focus on just low fat? I’m screwed because everything tastes bland unless I add sugar and then it doesn’t matter that I’m on 1k mg of Metformin and 20mg of Glipizide a day, my A1C is going to be 9+. If I focus on just no carb, my brain is starving and I’m likely to head to Carl’s Jr. and get the “low carb” burger, eat the whole thing and end up storing most of that protein as fat anyway.

I firmly believe that it’s never as simple as low fat or low carb. It’s about balance. It’s about having a close relationship with your doc, one that listens and knows that people are individuals, it’s about listening to your body and figuring out how to feed it what it needs. That takes time and it takes effort but it’s worth it. Normal medical research typically deals with averages and I’m not necessarily average. It’s also often paid for and completed by people who already have their minds made up or have a desired outcome in mind. That makes me wary. Of all sides. YMMV.

And thanks for giving a different perspective.

– Someone who has been to 2 RD’s and 3 CDE’s and had very little luck with their methods steeped in 1990’s research.

HEAB August 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Thanks for your comment. The more I read, the more confused I get. It’s interesting to read about everyone’s different paths and journeys. Thanks for sharing a bit of yours, and yes, I agree, balance is so important…and often overlooked, by myself included.

boofadil August 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm

It’s extremely confusing and none of the experts can seem to agree which makes it really hard for the lay person to get a handle on what is the best thing to do. One thing I really appreciate about your approach is that you still eat carbs and protein and fat every day but you don’t eat simple carbs (much, except on vacation which is when you should totally enjoy the heck out of “fun” food) and you don’t seem to have meals that are just one thing or another so there’s always protein or fat with your carbs. Not sure if you do that on purpose or if it just works out that way. But it’s so important to do that. And then you eat a hella ton of veggies both cooked and raw. It’s amazing, it’s sane and it’s inspiring in a totally doable way.

Granted, sometimes I wonder how much your food budget for the month is since many of your food choices aren’t exactly cheap, but it’s worth paying a little more to put good, whole sustenance in your body, even if you have to pay a bit (or a lot) more to do it.

Books like Sugar Nation and movies like Food Inc. are great if they get you to think. Same is true for any diet or lifestyle book. But in the end, no one is going to be able to hand any of us this blue print that is going to work perfectly for all of us where we’re at. If folks would just make some changes, pay attention and really get to know how their body’s react to what they eat and do with them, they’d be amazed at what they learn.

/2 cents

HEAB August 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Please feel free to share your 2 cents anytime – very wise words, and thank you for the encouragement regarding the way I eat. We do spend a good bit on groceries, but we’ve managed to cut back a lot by ordering most of our dry goods in bulk off Amazon and only going to the grocery store 1 every 2 weeks. We also buy as much produce as we can at Costco. As far as the nut butter goes, that stuff is not cheap, but I often receive free samples. Thankfully, Baker’s unsweetened chocolate isn’t too pricey. 😉

Holly @ The Runny Egg August 22, 2011 at 9:44 am

My favorite sugar free snack: a hard boiled egg with salt and pepper

Melody August 22, 2011 at 9:41 am

Fresh veggies! So refreshing and healthy.

Rachel August 22, 2011 at 9:40 am

A handful of nuts! And I’d love to read that book…I just got my Masters in Public Health, and chronic disease prevention/reversal is my big passion.

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