Overcoming Metabolic Syndrome
Isaacs, Scott, M.D., and Fred Vagnini, M.D.
Addicus Books, 2006. 160 p. Index. ISBN 1-886039-73-9. $14.95
Metabolic syndrome, formerly known as Syndrome X, is a collection of disorders that may include high fasting blood glucose, abdominal obesity, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure. A person having three or more of these abnormalities is considered to have the syndrome.
Authors Scott Isaacs and Fred Vagnini, having both published other consumer health books and articles in medical journals, have written a book that describes metabolic syndrome and offers encouraging information on how to overcome it. The first part of the book discusses the various disorders that make up the syndrome and adverse effects that may result from each, as well as testing used to diagnose these disorders. The second part includes information on diet, such as recommended foods, advice for avoiding the foods that are of a high glycemic index for those with insulin resistance, and benefits of cooking at home vs. eating out. There is also a thorough chapter on how exercise can help with each of the disorders, and ways to fit exercise into a busy schedule. Also included is a chapter on medications, both those that may help overcome the various disorders and those that may aggravate. Appendices on resources and a glossary of terms complete the book.
This book is written in a simple style, though the use of polysyllabic words raises the reading level somewhat. Persons diagnosed with the syndrome would find it helpful.
Consumer Health Librarian
VA North Texas Health Care System
Dietitians of Canada
Members in Action Newsletter
October 2007 Volume 8 Issue 10
Author: Cindy Shepherd
Overcoming Metabolic Syndrome
Written by S. Isaacs MD and F. Vagnini MD
Published by Addicus Books, INC, P.O. Box 45327, Omaha, Nebraska, 68145, 2006
Pp: 148; Soft cover; CDN $20.95
An endocrinologist and a cardiovascular surgeon wrote Overcoming Metabolic Syndrome. It is a tool intended to help readers understand the disorders that make up metabolic syndrome and what can be done to help reverse the effects of it. This book is written for the general public and it does a good job explaining what the syndrome is in very general terms. The medical terms used are always thoroughly explained and the book also includes a detailed glossary.
The book begins by explaining the possible causes and complications of high blood sugars, abdominal obesity, low HDL, high triglycerides and high blood pressure. The book discusses each kind of lab test needed to diagnose metabolic syndrome, and describes how each test is performed. This is helpful information but unfortunately the normal lab values are based on American references.
The second part of the book includes ways to help prevent or manage metabolic syndrome through diet, exercise and medications. The nutrition section is where the book falls short. It fails to explain what effect food has on the disorders that make up metabolic syndrome. It does provide some good general tips such as controlling portion sizes and keeping a food diary, but other than that, for people who do not know how to make diet changes the information is vague and sometimes confusing. It stresses that there is no magic meal plan for managing metabolic syndrome, suggesting that balanced nutritious plans work better compared to fad diets and encourages readers look for the one that works for them. The authors try to use the USDA Food Pyramid to explain a balanced meal plan but have misquoted the plan and have put a few foods in the wrong food groups (e.g. eggs are in the dairy group and tofu is in the grain group). There is a small sample weight loss diet but is difficult to follow and looks more like a high protein, low carbohydrate diet than a balanced diet that the authors speak about.
The book does a better job explaining how physical activity reduces the disorders of metabolic syndrome, and provides some helpful tips to increase activity levels. The second part of the book concludes with an extensive list of medications used to manage metabolic syndrome and their possible side effects. Included in this are vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies, however not all of the information is up to date.
As long as this resource is recommended in conjunction with dietary counseling, it would be a helpful tool in managing metabolic syndrome. However as a stand-alone resource it does not provide appropriate nutrition information to help readers reduce the effects of metabolic syndrome.
The conclusions, findings and opinions expressed here are those of the individual reviewer.