By now it should be common knowledge that there is an obesity epidemic in the United States. Unfortunately, as time goes on, the problem keeps growing larger and larger. (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist this one!) To make matters worse, children are seriously impacted by this trend. Experts are predicting that this current generation of youngsters will have shorter life-spans than their own parents. Many life-threatening illnesses and chronic health conditions are directly attributable to excess body weight. Among these are type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Their onset is appearing at younger and younger ages. This is sobering news.
Obviously something needs to be done — sooner rather than later — to halt and reverse this reality. A major predicament in dealing with this issue is that people truly don’t understand what is at stake, how they are creating and are responsible for health compromises in their own lives as well as their children’s and ways they can turn things around to live healthier, more active, fulfilling existences. Education is the key to initiate change.
In her new book, Carbavoid: The Fuel For The Future, Cindy Fleck Howlett, a nurse anesthetist who is on a crusade to combat the escalating incidence of obesity and diabetes, especially in children, addresses this subject in an easy-to-read, simple-to-understand manner. Written to appeal to both kids and adults, Fleck Howlett uses the analogy of maintaining a highly cherished sports car to how we should care for our bodies. She explains that both require the right fuels, oil, water and upkeep in order to perform at their most optimum levels. Continuing on, Fleck Howlett breaks down the components of a healthy diet (for humans) and clarifies the importance of eating the appropriate blend of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
She further differentiates between the “good” fats and carbohydrates to take in and the “bad” ones to avoid. A thorough explanation is provided. Her synopsis of the types of foods that cause sugar spikes and what transpires in the body as a result educates the reader as to why it is of utmost importance to eliminate certain foods (bad carbohydrates) from the diet. This is the gist of the book: Avoid sugar spikes and you will avoid obesity and type 2 diabetes. Eat a healthy combination of foods and you will improve the quality of your life.
While Fleck Howlett does a wonderful job of explaining all the components of a healthy diet and does so in a clear-cut, easy-to-understand style, I feel that calling the book, Carbavoid is misleading and can easily be misinterpreted. This title gives the impression that all carbs should be avoided. However,in the book, she clarifies that bad carbs which cause sugar spikes should be eliminated (thus explaining the term “carbavoid”) and good carbs should be consumed. Fleck Howlett also states the importance of keeping bad fats out of the diet and consuming only good fats. Yet, there is never any mention of “fatavoid.”
The information presented in the book is sound, worthwhile, and serves as a good reference guide; nevertheless, I feel that Fleck Howlett should chose a title that would more appropriately reflect the material contained within its pages or change the focus of the book to only examine the role carbohydrates play in the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.