Cover image for The midlife miracle diet : when your diet doesn't work anymore--
The midlife miracle diet : when your diet doesn't work anymore--
Puhn, Adele.
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Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2003.
Physical Description:
xv, 235 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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RM237.73 .P84 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Presents a low-carbohydrate eating plan that regulates blood sugar and can be used as an effective tool to lose weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of a host of age-related diseases.

Author Notes

Adele Puhn is a weight-loss and nutritional consultant who practices in Long Island and Manhattan, N.Y. She is also the author of several bestselling books about dieting, nutrition, and health.

Puhn has an M.S. in medical biology and certification in clinical nutrition. In addition, she brings 20 years of experience as a clinical nutrition specialist to her books, which include the New York Times bestseller, The Five-Day Miracle Diet: Conquer Food Cravings, Lose Weight, and Feel Better than You Ever Have in Your Life. Puhn's diet is based on the idea that people can regulate their blood sugar by eating certain foods at certain times.

Puhn is also the author of The Five-Day Miracle Diet Companion and The Five Vital Secrets for a Healthy Life. She and her husband, Arthur, live in Great Neck, N.Y.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Puhn, author of The 5-Day Miracle Diet, believes people can feel healthier and more energetic, and by following her plan, they can lower the chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and other serious illnesses. The key-understanding insulin and carbohydrate resistance-has become a buzz conceptamong diet gurus. Puhn asks readers to evaluate their eating habits, physical condition and level of activity, then poses questions in a true-and-false format: for example, "You never say no to a bagel" or "Every day deserves an afternoon candy bar." Once readers understand their individual weak points, they can start to follow the program's four steps, which will enable them to balance their blood sugar, control carbohydrate intake, take the right vitamins and begin an exercise regimen. She encourages readers to choose foods primarily from the "pure power" list rather than those in other categories. Then, after people have achieved this balance with regard to sugar, they move on to "carb careful" eating. This part of the program is sometimes more difficult because certain foods are eliminated-breakfast fruit or bread and cereal are replaced with vegetables and protein. To assist readers, Puhn includes basic daily snack and meal plans; however, the book does not include detailed recipes or specific food quantities, which is a shortcoming for dieters who need to follow a prescribed diet. Still, the book offers a straightforward and sensible way to treat carbohydrate and insulin resistance for people not suffering any serious illnesses. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Meet Your Metabolic Mix-Up STOPPING DISEASE IN ITS TRACKS I don't usually resort to scare tactics to encourage people to get healthy; however, in this case the news is so frightening and significant that I feel it is my responsibility to spread the word. Over the past several years I have listened to client after client describe the same set of problems-a chronic lack of energy, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stubborn overweight that won't budge. I became more and more concerned. What was going on? All of these symptoms are the same as those that accompany type 2 diabetes. And recently, the mainstream media has delivered a blitz of information about a growing diabetes epidemic in America-just one of several health conditions that can be addressed by the Midlife Miracle Diet! Consider some of the headlines: Newsweek announced "An American Epidemic: Diabetes" and The New York Times warns "Diabetes as Looking Epidemic." An even more recent New York Times article entitled "As Diabetes Strikes Younger, Children Get Lessons in Defense" points out the increase in the occurrence of diabetes type 2 cases-this time in children. The media has also begun to highlight our casual disregard for other life-threatening diseases. Another New York Times article entitled "A Devastating Lack of Awareness: Why Women Don't Believe Heart Disease, Their No. 1 Killer, Really Affects Them" is self-explanatory. Working on the front lines of nutrition, I am not surprised by this increase in diabetes and many people's lack of awareness of the state of their overall health. I see a direct link between these diseases and a disorder of metabolism every day in my office, and I am concerned, very concerned. What concerns me most is that many people-millions in fact-are walking around like accidents waiting to happen, completely unaware that they have already developed what I call the Metabolic Mix-Up. This disorder of metabolism was first identified as Syndrome X by Dr. George Reaven of Stanford University when he discovered the link between insulin resistance and serious disease, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The syndrome is characterized by six traits: insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, abnormally high insulin levels, high triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein (the good cholesterol), and hypertension. I soon was able to see that many of my clients were actually suffering from symptoms of this Metabolic Mix-Up, a disorder of metabolism so profound, so life impacting that it literally controls our body chemistry and can shorten our lives unless we stop it. I became determined to find not only a solution but also the reason behind this metabolic disorder that has become so prevalent. The Midlife Miracle Diet is the result of my search for these answers. THE MENACING METABOLIC MIX-UP Let me ask you a few questions: 1. Do you attend cultural events and become more annoyed and distracted by the noise than uplifted by the performance? 2. Have your blood pressure and cholesterol climbed every year? 3. Do you wake up in the morning, already sighing as the alarm tries to jump-start you? 4. Have you recently put on weight around your middle that you are unable to shed? 5. Do new challenges at work make you feel overwhelmed instead of creative? 6. Does planning a last-minute pleasure trip become a nightmare? 7. Do you feel so lethargic that you can barely last through your son's baseball game? 8. Has your doctor warned you to lose some weight because your blood sugar is testing too high? 9. At the end of most days does your bed seem the only place you want to be? 10. Do you feel older than your age? 11. Are you so exhausted after getting through the work week that by Friday, you can't even imagine going out for the evening? If you answered yes to several of these questions, then you more than likely have the Metabolic Mix-Up. This disorder works so devilishly behind the curtain of your life that you may not even know you are developing serious symptoms. It could be the player behind your frequent headaches, malaise, and your recent inability to lose weight. It could also be the cause of your recent increase in blood pressure and cholesterol. The Metabolic Mix-Up is so powerful, so crafty, that it can impact on your minute-to-minute life. Men and women with the mix-up feel just this way: They can get through the week, but that's about it. They have no energy left to enjoy life. In fact they can't even begin to imagine how they should feel. They have literally become hostages of their own bodies, unable to connect to their health potential. We are not surprised when we develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol; after all, these are two very common ailments that don't make us think twice. We accept them as natural by-products of aging. They certainly don't sound off alarm bells, but they should. This cluster of symptoms may not look alarming at first glance, but think about this: They are connected to the three most common causes of death in this country-heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. You may not yet have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, but you might just have the genetic wiring or lifestyle habits that lead directly to the Metabolic Mix-Up. Make no mistake: This is not an excessive warning. The millions of people who are fast developing type 2 diabetes and other degenerative diseases are just like the men and women who arrive at my doorstep, bringing with them all the signs that the Metabolic Mix-Up is at play. TYPE 1 OR TYPE 2? THERE IS A DIFFERENCE There are two major types of diabetes, and insulin is the protagonist in both diseases, The majority (about 90 percent of cases) of people who have diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which can be caused by insulin resistance: the cell's inability to use or let insulin into the cell to convert the food we eat into cellular energy. Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes) accounts for only 10 percent of diabetes cases and usually appears in children, Type 1 diabetes is caused by the attack of the immune system on the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, resulting in an inability to produce insulin. Unlike type 2 diabetics (or noninsulin-dependent diabetics), type 1 diabetics must take insulin injections for survival. However, most type 2 diabetics do not need to take insulin, and in many cases, taking insulin would only aggravate and worsen their condition. The Metabolic Mix-Up can be so devastating that it has also been linked to some cancers. It's already been shown that women with high insulin levels who are receiving standard therapy for breast cancer were eight times more likely to experience cancer recurrence and die of the disease than were patients with normal insulin levels. I have considered the possibility of a link between this disorder of metabolism and cancer for a while and have wondered whether the high rates of breast cancer in pockets of the northeast could be linked not only to the high level of contaminants in the water and possible electromagnetic fields, as well as other environmental factors, but also to the high-carb, low-fat, pasta-is-king diet that began in the late 1970s. Remember when we first started hearing about a low-fat diet? With that revolution came pasta. I saw this latest approach overtake the American conscience. Given the green light, thousands of weight-conscious women and men began eating pasta and other starchy carbohydrates with abandon, believing that by simply staying away from fat they would be slimmer and healthier. Wanting to look good, lose weight, and enhance their health, they embraced a way of eating that in fact challenged their ability to process insulin, the hormonal instrument that metabolizes carbohydrates. The 1970s and 1980s also saw vegetarianism gaining more attention as a way of life, not just moralistically but because people had suddenly become more interested in eating better and leaving behind the American meat-and-potatoes legacy. However, each of us has a biochemical individuality. For some, vegetarian eating is an improvement and a benefit for their health. But for others, those of us with the Metabolic Mix-Up, it's not okay. In fact, it's lethal. It wasn't until fourteen years ago, after I was diagnosed with breast cancer and was recovering from a lumpectomy that I began to understand that something was not working. As you can imagine, I was shocked that I could get this disease. After all, I was a vegetarian who meditated, jogged, ate organic food, and drank gallons of bottled water. What had happened to my body? Fortunately, the lumpectomy was successful and I was safely in remission. But I had learned a very hard, very scary lesson. In my search to understand, I began to suspect that something else was working behind the scenes of my health, something I had not known or thought about. During the sensitive recuperation period, as I worked hard to restore my health and regain my strength, I had switched from an ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet to a macrobiotic diet, hoping to benefit from its special healing qualities. Yet after only ten days of following the macrobiotic diet, composed of 80 percent grains and beans (i.e., carbohydrates), I gained ten very puffy pounds. Gone was my sculpted body of which I had been so proud! My small waist (always my best feature) was no more as I began to take on an apple shape. Feeling very fatigued, I found myself craving sugar wildly, plotting to get my favorite cookies at eight o'clock in the morning. After years of freedom from my sugar addiction, I was feeling needier, more connected to cravings than ever. I tried to sort out what was happening to my body and began to feel that my reaction had to be connected to my increased intake of carbohydrates. That was all that had changed in my diet. I had been a vegetarian-this is true-but I had been a vegetarian who ate lots of tofu, vegetables, and small amounts of eggs, beans, and grains. Stunned by my instant reactiveness to the major increase in grains and beans, I wanted to understand what was going on. When I followed the trail, it led me right back to where my reactiveness to carbohydrates had begun in the first place. MY PARENTS CAME FIRST As a Sugar Baby, I was both born to my parents and formed by them. And in their overreliance on bread with dinner and dessert after dinner, they set the stage not only for their own disordered metabolism but mine as well. Their attachment to sweets and starches not only left them in that familiar state of exhaustion and lethargy but it also had another significant effect: It made a huge impression on me as a child. I not only craved sugar (their constant companion) but as I grew older I also craved a solution to my parents' obvious distress. Through my child's wide eyes, they seemed unable to relax and enjoy themselves, even after a long week of working hard. My parents were also reliant on medications to treat their high blood pressure and cholesterol and to ease their aches and pains. Like a cozy hearth, the medicine chest in my parents' bathroom was central to our lives, a familiar gathering place where the family could feel its common bond. At any one time, I could open the door and see an array of different sized bottles and containers with all sorts of medications-for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, tranquilizers, insulin, and aspirin-all the popular fixings to treat their unnamed Metabolic Mix-Up! Of course, as a child I had little idea of what these magical bottles contained or what they were for. It's only now, years later, that I wonder if this medication really warmed their hearts or merely kept their bodies functioning? They would go to the doctor complaining of shortness of breath, fatigue, or headaches, and the doctor would write them the recommended prescription, once again sending them down the path that could not lead to recovery. This was the way it was done and overdone-the standard approach-at the time. Now I know that my parents and their friends depended on these mysterious little glass containers and the magic potions inside as a way to manage all their physical and emotional problems. They didn't know (nor did their doctors nor anyone else in the health field) that what was causing their high cholesterol and out-of-control blood pressure, as well as their malaise, fatigue, and overweight were the very real side effects of their ordinary but destructive eating habits and sedentary lifestyles. They also didn't know that what was behind this cluster of conditions was the very destructive side effects of their insulin resistance. Sadly, I did not connect the dots of my parents' lives soon enough. By his mature middle years, my father had full-blown type 2 diabetes that had to be treated with insulin injections, while my mother's days were filled with an ongoing struggle to lose weight and manage her hypertension. They continued to eat the sweets and starches that fed their out-of-control chemistry, while the increasing medications merely eased some of the pain but didn't address the problem. Yet I know that my vision of the two of them seeking answers but finding none fueled nay lifelong obsession to understand the relationship between eating habits and health. And though I was not able to help my parents tame their Metabolic Mix-Up, I can and do help thousands of the women and men who come to see me in my office and read my books, and now I want to help you and those you love. MEDICATIONS CAN HAVE SIDE EFFECTS Controlling the Metabolic Mix-Up can help to control disorders that create the need for powerful drugs. THE SUGAR CONNECTION My own story and that of my parents highlights an important feature of the Metabolic Mix-Up: a strong and passionate friendship with starchy foods and sweets. Do you see yourself in the questions below? How many would you answer yes to? 1. Is your diet comprised mostly of white flour and mushy, starchy foods? 2. Do you rely on diet soda or tea drinks as your main source of fluids? 3. Do you often meet your friends for a before-dinner drink, followed by another one or two after dinner? 4. Is the only green food on your plate or in your refrigerator a few grapes? 5. Are your four main food groups bread, bread, bread, and more bread? 6. Continues... Excerpted from THE Midlife Miracle Diet by ADELE PUHN Copyright © 2003 by Nutritional Industries, Inc. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Note to Readersp. ix
Introductionp. xiii
Part 1 Your Body's Chemistry
Chapter 1. Meet Your Metabolic Mix-Upp. 3
Chapter 2. What's Behind Your Metabolic Mix-Up?p. 16
Chapter 3. Do You Have the Metabolic Mix-Up?p. 31
Part 2 Walking the Steps
Chapter 4. Get Ready for Your Great Adventurep. 51
Chapter 5. Step One: Creating Basic Balancep. 73
Chapter 6. Step Two: Becoming Carb Carefulp. 105
Chapter 7. Step Three: The Supplement Solutionp. 124
Chapter 8. Step Four: Exercise Euphoriap. 141
Part 3 Your Life's Endless Rainbow
Chapter 9. Mind Games: Transforming Attitudes That Shape Eating Habitsp. 167
Chapter 10. Owning the Programp. 177
Chapter 11. "Can I Ever Eat Bread Again?" and Other Questionsp. 193
A Final Note: Just One More Conversationp. 201
Appendix 1 Sample Journal Entriesp. 205
Appendix 2 Blank Food Journalp. 216
For Further Readingp. 217
Indexp. 221