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Book Review: ‘Healthy Joints for Life’ by Richard Diana

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[amazon template=add to cart&chan=default&asin=0373892705]Treating arthritis without surgery is an attractive proposition. Dr. Richard Diana’s book, Healthy Joints for Life, has a program that claims to do just that. It entails eating a low-carb diet, taking multiple supplements, and exercising.

In part one of the book, Dr. Diana, an orthopedic surgeon, explains each element and why he recommends it, with a dose of science (he majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale as an undergrad) and an equal dose of anecdotes (he played in Super Bowl XVII for the Miami Dolphins). In part two, he lays out an eight-week plan for adopting his proposed lifestyle changes, and he closes with an appendix that goes into more detail about the science behind inflammation and joint pain.

There’s nothing terribly radical about Diana’s recommendations for diet and exercise. He advocates eating foods rich in fiber, antioxidants, and “good” fats; he and makes use of glycemic index measurements of foods; and his exercise recommendations are moderate and appear easy to implement.

The same can’t be said for Dr. Diana’s recommendations for supplements. While he supplies many references to scientific studies, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the research has not proved conclusive regarding vitamins and other supplements (http://nccam.nih.gov/health/arthritis).

Dr. Diana also recommends combining supplements (a method known to bodybuilders as “stacking”), which must be quite expensive, as the minimum stack has 10 supplements, most taken more than once a day.

I found the book’s presentation somewhat repetitive, and at times it read like a mismatched mixture of memoir and health book. The conversational tone alternated with scientific explanations that sometimes were too simple and sometimes more complex.

I do not doubt Dr. Diana’s bona fides, (aside from being trained at Yale as an MD as well as an undergrad, he is still an instructor there); however, he is selling supplements from his website.

Most reviews of the book have been positive, such as the earlier Blogcritics review here:

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About Nancy Fontaine

Nancy Fontaine is a librarian and freelance writer living in New Hampshire with her husband, two cats, and every four years during presidential primary season, the national press.