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The Schwarzbein Principle by Diana Schwarzbein PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stephen Byrnes   
Sunday, 23 March 2003 21:57

book-thumbupA Thumbs Up Book Review

The Schwarzbein Principle
By Diana Schwarzbein, MD and Nancy Deville
Reviewed By Stephen Byrnes, PhD, RNCP, ©2001

This book gets a qualified Thumbs Up. Dr. Diana Schwarzbein is a an endocrinologist who worked with type 2 diabetics at her first medical clinic following her residency and internship. In the beginning, Dr. Schwarzbein followed the standard dietary and pharmaceutical protocols for adult-onset diabetes: a high carbohydrate, low-protein, lowfat diet in conjunction with oral diabetes medications. Things started to change, however, when, in response to pleas from her patients, she allowed them more red meat and fat in their Spartan diets—things that are supposed to make diabetes worse, according to her medical training.

Schwarzbein then noticed that the blood sugar profiles of several of her patients improved considerably. When she quizzed them as to what they'd done differently, they all confessed to the same "crime": instead of eating just a little more red meat and fat in their diets as she told them, they ate lots of the forbidden foods while simultaneously dropping their carbohydrate intake. Dr. Schwarzbein had to admit the obvious: the standard of care for adult-onset diabetes was wrong. From that point on, she changed her whole approach to diabetes and nutritional health in general, realizing the dangers of high-carbohydrate diets and the misinformation on saturated fats promulgated by the establishment.

The Schwarzbein Principle should be subtitled "Everything You Wanted to Know About Insulin Resistance, But Were Afraid to Ask." It is an important antidote to the many books promoting lowfat or low-protein diets for insulin resistance. Schwarzbein links high insulin levels, primarily caused by high-carbohydrate, lowfat diets to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, oxidative stress, depression, eating disorders and obesity.

Her sensible approach to weight loss and general health is a lower carbohydrate, higher fat, moderate protein diet of natural foods. She points out that those who get a lot of exercise, such as athletes, need to eat more carbohydrates for energy. But for those who are more sedentary, excess carbohydrates will cause weight gain.

The great asset of the book is its down-to-earth explanations of complex biochemical processes—the reader is not left confused by endocrinological double-talk.

Our Thumbs Up is qualified because of several serious errors. Schwarzbein endorses processed soy foods (listed in several of the menu plans) and canola oil products. For a book that exhorts readers to avoid "man-made foods," these recommendations are strange indeed. Schwarzbein is also curiously down on coconut oil and incorrectly states that heating of oils creates trans-fatty acids—wrong on both counts.

For a weight loss program you can live with, though, as well as a sensible eating pattern that does not relegate saturated fats to the realm of poisons, The Schwarzbein Principle is a good pick.


This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2002.

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Comments (3)Add Comment
Good grief...will all deaths of nutritional counselors be blamed on the "obvious"??
written by Linda, Jan 24 2011
It's an obvious desire to blame a reviewer/dietician when he dies for his faulty diet promoted. But it is very erroneous. MANY MANY factors play into a person's health. Many people i know, who help the sick, don't get the rest they need, just for starters. They are compassionate to their own demise, if need be. A great spiritual example would be Lottie Moon, who litterally starved herself in her compassion for those around her dying of starvation. She couldn't just sit there and eat enough to sustain herself while those around her were dying. So, lets not be so hard on a practitionner like this, but look at the bigger picture. My dad started jogging at age 55 because there was heart disease in the family. At age 76(the same age his father died from a heart attack), he sustained a stroke. Because of his good habits, i believe, he not only survived, but thrived and is still going strong at 82. To look at him, you might think he's 70 at most. Insterestingly, he fell, 3 different times in his life, and each time hit his head violently, in the exact area of the brain where he had the stroke...coincidence? I don't know, but again, another factor to be considered. I also think he was overdoing the exercise, which i believe also can be stressful.
written by bella walsh, Dec 22 2010
With all respect... isn't it a concern that the person giving dietary advice died from a stroke at 42.
Is eating carbs necessary to protect a persons health
written by Karen, Apr 15 2010
On Atkins forum someone has come in and said that if you dont have carbs (more than Atkins calls for) you are in danger of organ failure especially if you get sick. Im wondering if I should eat more grains. thanks

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Last Updated on Monday, 26 March 2012 20:23