Book Review – The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet

The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet is Dr. Michael Mosley’s new book and one of the most important books of the year. Why? More than simply a collection of interesting ideas and meal plans, it contains one overriding message of hope. Type 2 Diabetes is a reversible disease!

Let’s back up a bit here. Dr. Mosley studied at New College, Oxford before completing medicine at Royal Free Hospital. After medicine, he joined the BBC as a producer of many science and health related television shows. More recently, he stepped in front of the camera as the on-air personality and presenter.

In 2012, Dr. Michael Mosley was a TOFI. A what? Not tofu, the delicious Asian soy delicacy. TOFI stands for Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside. Dr. Mosley is a medical doctor, BBC journalist, documentary maker, and international best-selling author. And, in his mid-50s, he was a ticking time bomb.

He was not particularly overweight at the time, weighing 187 pounds, standing 5 ft 11 inches with a waist of 36 inches. This gives a body mass index (BMI) of 26.1, which is just barely in the overweight range. By most standard measurements, he was considered just fine. Most people with this syndrome feel just fine, with just a little bit of weight carried around the mid-section from being ‘middle-aged’.

However, BMI is not the best indicator of T2D risk. The waist circumference, a measure of body fat distribution around the trunk is a far better predictor of T2D. During the course of filming, Mosley had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) body scan. His organs were literally swimming in fat. To look at him, you would not have guessed he was fat because most of it was hidden inside his abdomen where it was mainly hidden.

Eighteen months later, during a visit to his GP for an unrelated reason, some routine screening blood tests were done. He was shocked and devastated to learn that he had type 2 diabetes. Dr. Mosley says, “I had assumed I was healthy and suddenly I was discovering I wasn’t, and had to take this visceral fat situation seriously.” This pattern of obesity where most of the fat is carried around the abdomen is called central obesity.

Comparing your waist circumference to your height is a simple measure of central adiposity. Keeping your waist circumference to less than 1/2 of your height leads to the lowest years of life lost according to one study.

In untangling the relationship between obesity and T2D, we need to distinguish between visceral and subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is that fat that accumulates around the intra-abdominal organs such as the liver. Subcutaneous fat is the fat deposit directly under the skin. Visceral fat can often be detected by an increased waist size, or an increased waist/hip ratio.

For example, approximately 30% of obese adults are metabolicially normal (16). Normal weight persons, as defined by Body Mass Index may still show the same metabolic abnormalities as that in obesity.

I first came across Dr. Mosley’s work in 2012, when the episode ‘Eat, Fast, and Live Longer’ aired on the BBC. Luckily, it was also available worldwide on YouTube. There was almost no information on intermittent fasting available anywhere. Nobody took the idea of fasting seriously.

There were some pockets of interest, including Dr. Krista Varady, whom Dr. Mosley interviewed, but over the next few years, interest began to grow. This was quickly followed by his monster worldwide bestselling book ‘The Fast Diet’.

This was an absolutely groundbreaking book in that it introduced the idea of intermittent fasting to a public that had mostly never heard of such a thing. While there were other books and websites that discussed fasting, they had mostly remained in the shadows, never having gained much public attention.

His new book ‘The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet’ is a similarly groundbreaking book. Following the work of renowned Newcastle diabetes researcher Dr. Roy Taylor, it lays out a simple plan for reversing type 2 diabetes. It discusses much of the science in easy to understand language and then delivers some simple recipes to get you started.

The reason I call this one of the most important books of the year is that it exposes what I call the Biggest Lie of Type 2 Diabetes. This is the idea that T2D is a chronic and progressive disease. This is, after all, what all your doctors, nurses, diabetes educators will tell you. You’ve got T2D, and you’re going to have it for life. Get used to it.

The American Diabetes Association even promotes this message on its website. It’s a ‘fact’. This helps to crush the hopes of patients everywhere. It creates a sense of learned helplessness. The whole point is to take away hope.

Which makes this book so important. The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet demonstrates the very point that Type 2 Diabetes is a curable disease. While everybody shies away from using the C word, this is exactly what we need people to understand. This is not something that we need to live with. Dialysis, blindness, amputation, heart attacks, strokes, nerve damage – these are all preventable. But certainly not with medications alone. It requires a dietary solution.

The simple fact of the matter is this. Type 2 Diabetes is a dietary disease. We must use a dietary solution. Using drugs for a dietary disease is like bringing a snorkel to a bicycle race. Luckily, Dr. Mosley’s book gives us that solution.

2017-10-27T18:38:44-04:0039 Comments

About the Author:

Dr. Fung is a Toronto based kidney specialist, having graduated from the University of Toronto and finishing his medical specialty at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. He is the author of the bestsellers ‘The Obesity Code’ and ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’. He has pioneered the use of therapeutic fasting for weight loss and type 2 diabetes reversal in his IDM clinic.

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Jin
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Jin

Hey everyone, I could do with a dose of encouragement. This year I followed Roy Taylors 600 calorie per day plan for six weeks followed immediately by a 13 day water fast. Then I ate normally for 8 days followed by 12 days of water fasting and 3 days of absolute rigid fasting.
In that time I lost 48.5 pounds which is a 22% body weight loss. I was disappointed this morning with fbg reading of 6.2. So feeling discouraged this morning.

donny
Guest
donny

Jin–what way your fasting blood glucose before you started? Also, have you looked at your postprandials, before and after, for a comparable meal? An elevated morning fbg shouldn’t be nearly as bad as a risk factor if it’s in isolation, it’s what happens over the full 24 hours that matters most. Also, are you still fasting (does your given recent diet history lead right up to yesterday)? Or have you been in maintenance for a few days? An extended fast might improve things by reducing liver and pancreatic fat, and make you less insulin resistant that way–but on the other… Read more »

Jin
Guest
Jin

Hi Donny, Many thanks for your reply, At the start my fbg was 17 but during the water fasting it dropped to as low as 3.3. I have never really done postprandials but I will start this Sunday and see whats going on there. My fast ended on Tuesday evening with water followed on Wednesday with juice and fruit and walnuts, on Thursday with fruit, salad and coconut water and some peanuts. Today I had a bit of rubbish food after suffering the discouragement this morning. My fbg yesterday was 5.3. Can you point me in the direction of some… Read more »

BobM
Guest
BobM

I personally wouldn’t eat fruit or fruit juice. Those are pure sugar. (I’m not a diabetic and I can’t eat those or my blood sugar goes through the roof. I’m merely insulin resistant.) I break my fast by eating real food, like a salad with meat and cheese. I also eat a (typically very) low carbohydrate diet. I will splurge sometimes, but I try to contain that to items with resistant starch, such as (cold or cold and reheated) white rice or potatoes or green plantains. Fruit for me is verboten.

Jin
Guest
Jin

Hi Bob, thanks for your reply, all those things you mention I would typically eat however some of the scare stories about coming off a long water fast will scare you into drinking and eating fruit. Better safe than sorry eh.

BobM
Guest
BobM

Hi Jin,

I’ve seen those scare stories too. My wife and I did a 5 day fast (Sunday night to Friday night), and we both just ate a salad with meat on Friday night.

The only problem I have is that all the water/liquids I’ve had over the course of 5 days come out once I eat, and that takes about 8-12 hours. After that, I feel fine.

Jennifer G
Guest
Jennifer G

You need to give your body a few days to start producing the enzymes that work on the carbs.. it’s normal for blood sugars to be higher consuming carbs until the enzymes are up to level. Don’t know why ya drank juice as that’s pure glucose and fructose, but it makes sense it’d be higher returning to the carbs, at least the first few days.

Ruth Griffin
Guest
Ruth Griffin

You need to understand the dawn phenomenon

https://idmprogram.com/dawn-phenomenon-t2d-8/

Wenchypoo
Guest
Wenchypoo

I’m surprised that the British Health Authority isn’t championing this as their national plan for tackling obesity and saving huge sums of money for the health system itself, but oh no–we MUST adhere to that fraudulent dietary plan that’s geared for maximum consumption (and economic activity), even though it’s obviously killing us! But that’s the goal, isn’t it? If and when we die (and the faster the better), no benefits of any kind have to be paid out. They want us to shuffle off this mortal coil as fast as we can. It’s the same sad story here in America,… Read more »

Jon
Guest
Jon

Do you notice, Wenchypoo, that every time the Beeb shows a report on anything that might actually work in alleviating or reversing T2D, they always wheel in ‘nutritionists’ to spout the party line? It does my head in!!

Eric
Guest
Eric

LCHF with modified intermittent fasting ( 600 calorie) every other day as a way of life is not quick fix, it works and is long lasting

Chris
Guest
Chris

I’ve been following an alternating 20:4 and 18:6 w.o.e. regiment with no breaks since November 2015, with occasional 72 hr fast every two weeks since discovering Dr. Fung’s website. Been tracking my BG throughout this whole time with great results! Yet, like Jin, there have been a few times during these 3 day fasts were my fBG was 103-110 mg/dL. Been a bit surprised by these elevated levels, not sure why these levels go up that high even after consistent long term fasting? But I know its the long run that matters, healing one’s insulin resistance is going to take… Read more »

Stormy
Guest
Stormy

What to eat = LCHF
When to eat = IF
How much to eat?=
I tend to really overeat on the weekend and fast on Monday and Tuesday. Eat normal on Weds-Fri. So my BS is very good on Weds morning and not so good on Monday morning. If I overeat even very low carb my BS are high the next morning.
I also found eating everyday at maintenance does not help my BS either, I have to be at a deficit.

Stormy
Guest
Stormy

Wouldn’t the 800 diet in his book be just a low calorie diet and cause your metabolism to just slow down? A five foot female 800 calories is just plain low calorie.

Jennifer G
Guest
Jennifer G

Yeah, I have the same question. I am type 2 diabetic myself and been intermittent fasting 18:6 after reading The Obesity Code. I it a ketogenic diet, pretty much along the lines of what is in The New Atkins for a New You book. I bought Mosley’s book and got it yesterday; read 3/4ths of it so far. I find it interesting. But it is more of a Roy Taylor type approach with very low calorie (800 a day) but with the benefits of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Since Mosley’s book is very low calorie, and seems not so ketogenic… Read more »

Terri
Guest
Terri

Congrats on your great results, Jennifer! Also, thanks for mentioning some of the details on diet in Dr. Mosley’s book; I think I’ll just borrow it from the library instead of buying it now. As soon as you mentioned the fruit, I thought, ‘no’ I’m way past eating or needing fruit for any reason–thanks again.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

This book recommends increased exercise and an 800-calorie per day diet. My main point of confusion is how this differs from things like the Biggest Loser Diet, which we seem to think is tremendous folly (as discussed in other posts on this blog). Do we understand where on the spectrum from true fasting to severe calorie restriction we see the hormonal adaptations that do no decrease RMR (and what those hormonal adaptations are)?

Joan
Guest
Joan

I have the same basic confusion. I get it that Dr. Fung applauds the work as demonstrating the T2 Diabetes is reversible, but 2 very different mechanisms (competing?) are being proposed – insulin resistance, which requires fasting to reverse it, and “fatty liver/pancreas” which requires this very low calorie approach to reverse it. However, it seems that Dr. Taylor’s approach does not do what Dr. Fung suggests is essential: increasing the amount of time in low insulin state. this is what makes it difficult to stick to a plan!

Jennifer G
Guest
Jennifer G

Dr. Fung advocates even LCHF diet alone as a way to improve insulin resistance. Mosley’s diet cuts out all the refined carbs. It’s not a ketogenic diet but limited in carbs.. it’s a low carb diet as well. Low carb to moderately low carb plus moderately high fat diet. Mediterranean diet is advocated by Dr. Fung as well, so that might be another reason he likes the book. I’ve read 3/4ths of the book so far. Something that I came across is about breakfast. Dr. Mosley says you don’t have to eat breakfast, so this diet is compatible with 18:6… Read more »

sten Bjorsell
Guest
sten Bjorsell

Regarding morning blood sugar Dr Jason has explained it well; as long as the metabolic syndrome is present there will be more or less morning overshoots even when you fast. If the waist/height ratio is much above 0,5, the drop in insulin also on a fast allows the liver to “free” itself of a lot more sugar than is good for us , just before we awake. If close to 0.5, and it still happens, maybe reduce proteins at evening meals. And recall also that most of Dr Roy Taylor’s patients returned to their disease state once if they returned… Read more »

BobM
Guest
BobM

I personally wouldn’t say that hunger disappears before the 3rd day of water fasting, at least for me. I do think fasting longer than 2 days is easier for me, than say fasting 1 day twice per week. However, I fasted 5 days at the beginning of the year, and on the fourth day, I had a battle with extreme, physical hunger. It was all I could do to have some bone broth and not eat. And I made it only because it happened right before bed. If I can make it to bed, I’m OK until at least lunch… Read more »

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

I think that may just be your body learning how to cope with fasting better. The first time I fasted all 3 days were terrible especially the time before falling asleep my stomach almost hurt. Now after 6 months of 23:1 five days a week and the occasional multi day fast if I get busy during my normal meal time it’s incredibly easy to slip into a longer fast and not feel like anything is wrong until I start getting weird cravings on day 4+.

Terri
Guest
Terri

Ryan, I know you’re not putting yourself out there as an expert, but when I saw that you also do the 23:1, I figured I’d ask your opinion: if someone isn’t ready for all out fasting of 2 or more days (I have an unpleasant association with extended fasts that I need to work on first) do you think that doing 23:1 for seven days a week, every week, will do the job for someone who is considered prediabetic (fbg 6.0; A1C 5.4)?

Stormy
Guest
Stormy

Sten
Thank you for explaining.
The last 2 sentences pretty much summed it up for me and makes total sense now.

Eliz~
Guest

I would recommend Dr. Michael Mosley’s first book “5:2 Fast” over this one. There is a lot of repetition in this one. The first book is excellent.

Tom
Guest
Tom

So happy to find Dr Fung’s info. Started fasting after Sunday night. Somewhere around 44 hours now. Really no issues. I need to get a blood sugar test just for edification. Looking forward to the future

Alec Collins
Guest
Alec Collins

How does he say we should eat after the 8 weeks? A magazine my Mother has talks about this (with Mosley’s cooperation) in terms of calorie reduction, and Taylor focused on CRAP too. That’s discouraging, isn’t it?

Sue
Guest
Sue

Dr. Fung and Others,

My husband and I are totally on board with LCHF diet, fasting and exercise. But do any of you think that this supplement (Berberine) could be adverse? We are NOT taking any diabetic drugs because we feel it leads to more medication and adds to the progression of this disease. But… if you read this entire article, maybe it’s a good thing? Thanks for anyone’s input.

https://authoritynutrition.com/berberine-powerful-supplement/

Collin
Guest
Collin

Eat a mainly protein meal, with a LITTLE of everything else (especially roughage, the soluble and the none soluble, which you may take later as a separate meal) for a complete nutritional balance. Follow this with a gap of at LEAST 4hrs or more, before your next meal. Water should be 95% of your fluid intake choice, with or without your food. The last meal of your day should be protein, an hour or so before bed. Animals in the wild should be your dietary study. They sometimes starve, or feed well, have times of drought, yet they do not… Read more »

Amy
Guest
Amy

I have a question unrelated to this discussion, but I can’t find the appropriate place to ask it, so sorry for sticking it in this thread. To eat yogurt or not to eat yogurt…that is my question. Dr. Fung says, as I understand/remember his book, yes; yogurt should be eaten (along with kefir, etc., and kim chee, pickles and other fermented foods) because of its probiotics, which help establish beneficial gut flora. But after reading Dr. Fung’s book, I read Dr. David Permutters “Brain Maker’ book, which seems to agree with Dr. Fung on most things, but then says avoid… Read more »

KibbyRose
Guest
KibbyRose

Just did a quick read of the 8-Week Blood Sugar diet. Dr. Fung preaches against calorie restriction (CRaP) and then endorses this book? How is 800 calories a day + exercise any different than the Biggest Loser diet that he so strongly criticizes? I am confused (and disappointed).

Mosely advocates an 800-cal-a-day, low-carb, high-fiber Mediterranean-style diet. How is this “groundbreaking” Dr. Fung?

I feel a little duped. Looks like he just thought up a new diet so he could sell more books.

Jennifer G
Guest
Jennifer G

Could it be that Dr. Jason Fung was referring to high carb, low fat calorie restricted diets? Not this lower in carbs, moderately high fat diet?

Jennifer G
Guest
Jennifer G

Also, Mosley’s & Taylor’s approach mimics the diet of a bariatric patient, and that diet has been shown to reverse type 2 diabetes as well as result in great weight loss. My friend had gastric sleeve done a couple years back and lost 130 pounds. He gained 50 of it back though, so I got him Dr. Fung’s book and The New Atkins for a New You books.. those should help him get on track.. he needs to avoid all refined carbs.

Debby AV
Guest
Debby AV

I was thrilled to find Dr. Mosley’s book and put it to use. As an RN, the 8 week blood sugar diet was a blast of truth the health community has not a clue. I did my first 8 weeks in June/July 2016 and lost 25 lbs. I have stayed on this loss and am about to start another round of 8 week.s To answer your question, this 8 week program is not made to stay on..but to go on the 5 day Mediterranean;2 day fasting on 600..or even 4 day Mediterranean diet; 3 day 600 calories. The 8 week… Read more »

lyn
Guest
lyn

i am a type two diabetic, weighing 125 how can this book help me

Terri
Guest
Terri

Lyn, Dr. Mosley was TOFI (thin on the outside fat on the inside) and T2D, and has written about how he reversed it. Look into what he did–all the best to you…

rHODA pOOLEY
Guest
rHODA pOOLEY

I have known about the dangers of eating too much sugar because I was a Food Technology teacher!Now I’m neaRLY 79 AND DECIDED TO FOLLOW THE bLOOD sUGAR DIET.I am quite delighted to tell you that I have lost 4 kilos in 4 weeks and most of it from around my middle.I am very pleaSED WITH MYSELF AS i HAVE QUITE A SWEET TOOTH.wHY DID i DO THIS?bECAUSE i SEE MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE DIABETIC AND OVERWEIGHT AND THE THOUGHT OF GOING BLIND OR HAVING A LEG OFF FILLED ME WITH FEAR.i DO MISS MY WINE AT NIGHT!

Clement
Guest
Clement

Great article. But I guess increasing exercise spells doom for anyone with high blood sugar. Please correct me if am wrong.

https://healthiack.com/health/what-is-normal-blood-sugar-level