Book Review – Diet 101: The Truth About Low Carb Diets by Jenny Ruhl

The Gist:

This book is a research-based summary and analysis of many popular low-carb diets (from ketogenic diets to simply low GI) that shows the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Ruhl highlights the myths, facts, pitfalls, and successes of these diets and of different research studies. Very detailed and technical at times, but essential to those wanting to truly understand the science behind low-carb diets and how to stick to one for life. This book is especially helpful to diabetics and prediabetics, as Ruhl details everything you’d ever want to know about blood sugar.  Each chapter has a helpful “Points to Remember” section that summarizes the information nicely.

Interesting Points:

  • Why people lose weight quickly on low-carb diets, and regain it just as quickly if they return to high carb eating.
  • Eating too much protein can lead to negative physiological effects.
  • Once you’re diagnosed with diabetes, you’ve already likely sustained damage from consistently high blood sugar levels. This happens because most routine blood sugar tests are done while fasting, and they don’t really tell you how your body reacts to eating sugary or carb-heavy meals.
  • “Keeping carbohydrates under 115 grams a day should prevent weight regain, but even eating at a lower carbohydrate intake does not ensure the kind of speedy ongoing weight loss most dieters hope to achieve in return for stringently controlling their eating.” (Ruhl, location 1047)
  • “Though the weight losses on a strict ketogenic diet will be better than those on a laxer one, strict diets may be tougher to stick to.” (Ruhl, location 1054)
  • “If you are going to succeed, long-term, on a low carb diet of any type, you must bear in mind that as you raise your carbs, you must cut back on fat.” (Ruhl, location 1183)
  • How MSG affects hunger, blood sugar, and insulin.
  • “…there are several blood sugar tests that reliably and reproducibly predict cardiac events far better than do any cholesterol tests.” (Ruhl, location1647)
  • “Many foods rank low on the glycemic index because they digest slowly, but as this study points out, all this means is that the rise in blood sugar it causes is postponed, not eliminated.” (Ruhl, location 1798)
  • “It’s a good idea to design your diet so that, even if it produces a slower weight loss, it prevents you from building up the kind of deferred cravings that can make maintenance difficult.” (Ruhl, location 3824)

My Personal Takeaways:

  • Now I’m really curious to know what my blood sugar levels are after I eat certain amounts of carbs. I may just break down and buy a machine at the drugstore. Ruhl explains in detail what you need to test your blood sugar and how to do it accurately.
  • For me, the value of this book is that it can show me how to personalize a low-carb diet with the exact number of carbohydrate grams I need, without taking more in than my body can tolerate.
  • Ruhl’s findings have me questioning exactly how I should go about eating on my cheat days once a month, or if I should have them at all.
  • I might start doing ketone strip tests as well to figure out if I’m in a fat-burning state with different levels of carbs.
  • I’m going to use an app to track my carb intake and monitor my hunger level, mood, and possibly blood sugar.
  • I really need to make my low-carb goals more specific – in terms of how much weight I want to lose, blood sugar numbers, and carbohydrate intake. Also, once I reach my goal I need to have a maintenance plan.

The book can be found here on amazon. I read the Kindle version, but there’s also a paperback.  The author, Jenny Ruhl, also has a website , a blog, and is even featured on a podcast about these findings. And, FYI, I was not solicited to do this review. I just thought it would be nice to write up reviews of books about low/slow carb diets as I read them.

Stay tuned for my next book review on “The 4-hour Body” by Timothy Ferriss.


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