November 12, 2011

Another Book?

Now that I've discharged my obligations under my contract with the publisher of my novels, I'm considering what to do next. And that is leading me to ask what I could do that would be of use to the people who visit and this blog.

Publishing the book version of the site has taught me that most people still find books a better way to study a complex topic, even when the information in the book is also available on a web site.

This has been a pleasant surprise, as has been the steady stream of fan mail that the book generates. There's no question that people who read the book learn far more than people who visit the site, if for no other reason than that most people who visit the site only read a couple pages before leaving.

So that raises the question: Should I write another book? And if I do, what should be its subject?

I have some ideas of my own, but before I plunge in I'd love to hear some feedback from you about what topics you would like to learn more about. I'd also like to know, iIf you read my book, Blood Sugar 101, if you thought there was something important that was left out.

Keep in mind, of course, that there are many topics I'd love to be able to write about that are too poorly researched to justify a book. For example, I have spent quite a lot of time looking into the physiology of weight loss, but the more research I read, the less conviction I have that any of it can be trusted. The quality is just abysmal and unlike the publications about diabetes, my many hours of study did not turn up any overlooked gems.

On the other hand, very little has come up that is new since I wrote Blood Sugar 101. In fact, it is rather depressing just how little that would be of any use to someone trying to preserve their health.

But though I might feel that way, life has taught me that one problem with making yourself into an "expert" in some topic area is that the things that bore me after a decade of daily attention to the topic may be exciting to people who haven't soaked their head in this stuff for years.

So I welcome your feedback. What kind of book--if any--do you think would be most useful to a reader who has already read Blood Sugar 101? Click on the comment link below and share your thoughts with me. The only thing I will ask is that you keep your comments on the topic I've sketched out here.

If you want to ask questions or debate other diabetes-related issues, there's a nice community growing on the Blood Sugar 101 Facebook page, where you are welcome to post your thoughts on topics other than the subject of this post.


FredT said...

I am looking for a book on insulin resistance, and the diet required to beat it down, and lose weight in the process. The diabetes diet is a bit extreme for just insulin resistance. More people have IR than diabetes. Yet there is no clear readily available definition of cause of the problem.
Just a thought. Thanks.

Beth@WeightMaven said...

To follow onto Fred's comment, I'd love it for you to look into the role of carbs for non-healthy folks (IR, met syn, overweight/obese, diabetic).

The low-carb community is doubling-down on the side that no one should eat carbs (a la Rosedale and we're all diabetics). Then there's the other folks (Guyenet, Kresser, Wolf, Jaminet) who point to hunter gatherers and say carbs are fine if you're a healthy person.

Perhaps it's just my addiction to carbs speaking, but I'm thinking that there's a path for us not so healthy folks that doesn't involve giving up carbs for life.

Karen said...

I dont know what to say a whole book should be about but I like the more moderate approach to keeping blood glucose in correct range. I would like to know more about the wheat deal. Even those in the eat carb camp of the low carb camp referenced to by Beth are against grains. I have found if I add gluten free grains I am satisified longer.

Karen said...

I am interested in the wheat aspect of carbs. Beth referenced the higher carbs advocates of the low carb community. I find I am satisfied longer when I eat gluten free grains. I really like the moderate approach to keeping your blood sugars at good enough! Thanks for all your work Jenny and I will buy whatever book you write!

Christie Brandau said...

I am one of those who read Blood Sugar 101 on the website, then bought the book for my kindle, and when I couldn't bend down the pages that I needed to refer back to easily enough, bought it in paperback! It is a gem!
Although I am a newbie, I think a new book could touch on "the rest of my life" kind of issues. For example, what should I expect with this progressive disease if I do have good control? Right now I'd love a chapter on how to fire a doctor who wants to limit strips, but that's another story...

Jenny said...

Useful feedback, keep it coming!

otterotter said...


I would like to see a book discussing how to make the low carb working in real life. There are so many issues associated with long term low carb eating and there is really no good book which has a complete solution.

For example, the cholesterol issue. Does dietary cholesterol has an impact on your cholesterol ? Yes for 30% of the population like me. One egg a day will push my TC from 200 to 300, but probably not for that much for 70% of the other population. We should let people know this.

Does Saturated fat has an impact on cholesterol ? No, not for me. But I am sure it does for someone out there (like Jimmy Moore).

Eating low carbs is easy, and it works perfectly for blood sugar control, however, dealing with all sorts of other "consequences" are not so easy, and there are answers scattered on the internet, but realy no good book discussing them. E.g., what if you have a dry lips ? what if you don't have enough energy when you work out ? How is your meter reading fluctuate with the season/temperature ?


Me said...

I don't know if it could be a book but I think people need to know how to find information and how to know what is trustworthy. When I tell people stuff about nutrition their typical response is there is so much contradictory information that obviously there is no way to tell what is true so they might as well enjoy what they enjoy.

Rich Wiltshire said...

Mitochondria diabetes - your last book covered other rare types and it would be good to have something on mito diabetes in this one.

Mitochondrial mutations account for 0.5-2.8% of patients with diabetes which is relatively high compared to how much is known about it in the diabetes community.

A significant number of diabetics with mito diabetes don't know they have it as they are often mis- diagnosed as type 2.

Happy to contribute if you go down this route. :O) said...

This may be a little hard for me to explain, but that's why I'm asking the question.

I often have a vague (but strong) sense of not being well, but it doesn't seem localized to a specific area like my stomach, intestines, or heart. I guess I would describe it as a general malaise, or perhaps a full-body inflammation.

I don't know what causes it, but it does seem to often occur very uncomfortably after I eat certain carbs, especially bread or potatoes.

Maybe gluten or other allergies? Maybe the solution would be a very-low-carb high-protein diet?

I guess what I'm asking is how to figure out a general malaise? Start with an elimination diet or a mono-diet?

Jenny said...


That's a good question. I did a poll years ago and learned that there was a sharp distinction between people who could feel their blood sugar rising fast and those who can't. I can, and it makes me feel exactly the way you described. I'm not gluten sensitive nor do I have any inflammatory markers. If I flatten my sugars with diet or insulin the issue goes away. It isn't necessarily how high the sugar is rising, either, as I've eaten some things that shot my sugars through the roof without my noticing. So I'm not sure what it is, either.

Definitely an interesting topic--but another of those things that there are NO answers to in research because no one researches how eating various things makes people feel!

Danny Haszard said...

Be aware of drugs that potentiate diabetes.
Eli Lilly Zyprexa Olanzapine issues linger.

The use of powerful antipsychotic drugs has increased in children as young as three years old. Weight gain, increases in triglyceride levels and associated risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The average weight gain (adults) over the 12 week study period was the highest for Zyprexa—17 pounds. You’d be hard pressed to gain that kind of weight sport-eating your way through the holidays.One in 145 adults died in clinical trials of those taking the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa.
This was Lilly's # 1 product over $ 4 billion per year sales,moreover Lilly also make billions on drugs that treat the diabetes often that has been caused by the zyprexa!

--- Daniel Haszard Zyprexa victim activist and patient.
FMI zyprexa-victims(dot)com

Jan Blawat said...

I'd like to be able to read more about some of the less common problems diabetics have. I was diagnosed 4 years ago at an A1C of 9, brought it immediately down and have been between 4.9 and 5.3 for 3 years. Nevertheless, I have had diabetic amyotrophic neuropathy and am only partly recovered from it, I have both peripheral and autonomic neuropathy, have had osteomyelitis in my toes 3 times, and have had Charcot. There are many diabetics whose blood sugar is far worse than mine who have never had any of these things. The training programs at Kaiser stop at the common problems and assume they result from high, uncontrolled blood sugar. I have a very hard time finding information, let alone a doctor who even begins to understand what's going on. Not that you should write a book specifically about me. I just appreciate all the information I can get.

Bill Marquardt said...

First, I just purchased the BloodSugar101 Kindle version because I was recently diagnosed as Type II, and the info you provided is so good that I recommended it to two other friends who have Type II. I lowered my A1c from 11.4 (earned me a trip to the ER where I was diagnosed) to 7.2 in just 6 weeks.

I'd love to see a low carb cookbook from you that combines the main points from BloodSugar101 with recipes. Kind of like an Alton Brown does diabetic low carb cooking. I can see not just recipes, but recommendations and explainations on the different types of low carb flours, sweeteners, etc (I miss having crackers with cheese and fresh bread with soups).

Jenny said...


Unfortunately, when you get past a certain point the problems are very specific to individuals and may point to some underlying genetic issue that isn't all that common. For example, there are other causes of neuropathy that don't relate to blood sugar.

It's also possible that your blood sugar was high enough for a decade before diagnosis to cause nerve damage. The threshold for nerve damage is very low--over 140 mg/dl on a GTT correlates to its incidence, while many people can have very high sugars for hours a day and still have A1cs that doctors would have ignored--under 7%.

Whatever the case, I hope longer exposure to normal sugars helps reverse the neuropathy.

Jenny said...


There are already some very good low carb recipe resources both free and in books.

For free, check out Linda Sue's low carb site. This is one a lot of people love:

Other people recommend Dana Carpender's books.

Andreboco said...

Jenny, I look forward to learning more from your new book. Perhaps the deletirious effects of high insulin and why that must be kept down as well as blood sugar. I have listened to Dr. Bernstein's CD till, like a parrot, I can quote it back. All that says is I am as talented as a parrot. I would love to hear you do a CD for your new book. So much of the time is spent in the car or I-Poding while working out. Sometimes I learn better if I hear it.

Jenny said...


That's an interesting idea about an audio version. It's a lot of work, but something to think of for the future.

The argument that high insulin levels are dangerous is one we read a lot, but it is tough to find data to back it clearly since the doctors who write for the public about diet tend not to back up their arguments (or select only one or two cherry picked papers to support a claim.)

There have been some interesting posts on this topic on Stephen Guyenet's blog.

It's something I'm looking into more, but mostly what I'm learning is that the science behind most dietary recommendations is very fuzzy. And you can find a study to contradict almost anything you see stated anywhere. That's pretty much why I focus on blood sugar rather than insulin. The science is MUCH clearer there.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to thank you for this site. I believe that over the last year, I became insulin resistant and that contributed to a 30 lb. wt. gain. My 1st A1C was 6.3, but my fasting, 1hr. & 2hr glucose measures are all falling under the 120 or 140.
I have really been confused by all of the conflicting literature and recommendations low-carb vs. vegan style eating. My doctor who used to do Eat to Live is now telling me I have to quit carbs. A book about this debate might be of use. And as you mention, the literature on wt. loss is "all over the place." Thanks for a great site. I wish it had its own forum. I have found reading comments from the 5% very helpful.

Liss said...

I have two suggestions:

1) Evidence-based, safe and truly effective treatments for depression, anxiety, bipolar, and other mental illnesses. I bring this one up because your blog post prompted me to read Anatomy of an Epidemic. An extensive explanation on neurotransmitters in the brain would be lovely.

2) Endocrine System 101. Your understanding of insulin and ability to explain complex physiological topics in a straightforward manner make me wish you would write on the hopelessly complex endocrine system and make it understandable. I realize I may be alone in this wish.

Jenny said...

Those are things we'd all like to learn more about!

As far as the rest of the endocrine system goes, I put in some time reading the research that would explain other factors involved with health and diet and concluded that no one knows much of anything once we get away from the relatively straightforward issue of blood sugar control. There just isn't the money out there to fund it. So studies are either very small, poorly controlled, rodent studies, or funded by people selling bogus supplements. And all the results tend to conflict with those of other studies.

Re the psychiatric issues, that's a whole nother lifetime's work. But you won't find the answers in research, because the quality of research in psychology is so pathetically bad and the psychiatric literature is so polluted by what the drug companies have done to expand the market for their drugs.

What works for a lot of us is reading self-help books (use whatever tradition you are most comfortable with) and then taking action to change one thing about our lives that is making us depressed. It doesn't have to be something big. In fact, small is a better place to start. If you ahve a friend who has triumphed over what has you baffled, ask her (or him) for support.

For many of us, discovering that we CAN change our lives for the better goes a long way to reversing depression. The drug merchants have done a great job of making people forget what people used to know, which is that depression is often the sign that you are facing a situation that gives you the chance to learn new things and grow in ways that eventually make your life better. NO ONE ever embarks on true learning experiences when they're content and happy. This shift in perspective can make a huge difference in your life.

Irene said...

How about if you "freshened up" the info in current book, plus added a couple of new chapters - my suggestions would be Sleep Apnea and Leptin/Ghrelin.
Thanks for all your great work. Your site and blog help keep me sane, grounded and motivated.

Jenny said...

asdf1234, Redoing the current book is a future project. There isn't enough that is new to justify a redo at this point though. Remember that most people reading the book are brand new to the subject so the focus has to stay on the very simple things, like what blood sugar levels cause damage, what levels are safe, and how to lower blood sugar.

Sleep Apnea and Leptin/Ghrelin are interesting topics, but don't have universal application to people with diabetes with clear actions to be taken deriving from an understanding.

The role of those hormones and how you can affect them is still largely a matter of conjecture. Much is written, and much is argued by people who sound like they know what they are talking about but are mostly making things up. The science is still far from clear.

Misti said...

Jenny, thank you so much for this site and your first book. I am one of the readers who has been combing your site regularly since I found it several months ago and your book is on my wish list.

I haven't had the change to read your book yet, but if it's not there, might you consider a book on the social side of diabetes and the social challenges of maintaining our health?

Jenny said...


That's a great topic. Diabetes is about food, and food is about all our social interactions, our emotional history, and a lot more. Only a robot would think it was easy to eat logically!

Suzanne Garrett said...

I would like you to address how to address medical personnel, diet, sleep, fitness, and stress management to go from medically approved glucose management to excellent (5.0 club).

Jenny said...

Suzanne, The medical professionals would be very unlikely to buy or read such a book.

At any rate, I ended up writing a book about the low carb diet that takes an objective look at the research relating to just about every facet of the diet. I think readers will find it very appealing. I learned a great deal doing the research that I didn't know.