The best books on type 2 diabetes: making sense of muddled advice

Who am I?

Since childhood, I’ve wanted to find out how things work. The human body is an amazing combination of mind and body. As Professor of Medicine and Metabolism at Newcastle University, I’ve been fortunate to be able to find out what goes wrong to cause type 2 diabetes. It was not the complex mystery believed by other experts, but just one simple process. A little too much fat inside the liver caused insulin not to work properly, and an overspill of fat prevented enough insulin to be made. Growing a wild idea into a proven NHS programme involves sleepless nights, disbelief of colleagues, gratitude of patients, and hugely enjoyable team-working. 

I wrote...

Life Without Diabetes: The Definitive Guide to Understanding and Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

By Roy Taylor,

Book cover of Life Without Diabetes: The Definitive Guide to Understanding and Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

What is my book about?

This book explains the new understanding of type 2 diabetes, and how to get back to full health. Medical opinion used to be emphatic—type 2 diabetes was always lifelong, requiring more, and more medicines. Emphatic, but wrong! The story of the exciting journey of discovery is told as a ‘who dun It’. The answer is shocking for scientists—it also was for me as a scientist-doctor—but very good news for people with type 2 diabetes. 

The research described was hugely controversial when first announced. It has been a long battle to change the minds of doctors and scientists. But now the method described is part of routine care for people with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. 

The books I picked & why

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Fixing Dad: How to Transform the Health of Someone You Love

By Jen Whittington,

Book cover of Fixing Dad: How to Transform the Health of Someone You Love

Why this book?

Illnesses affect families as well as individuals. How would you react to the news that your Dad would soon lose a leg because of type 2 diabetes? Two brothers reacted by setting out to find the hard information about type 2 diabetes. That was tough—but the brothers tracked down the new information that this type of diabetes could be reversed to normal. Then persuading Dad that things had to change was an even greater challenge. The family’s journey, and the remarkable achievement of major weight loss, is brilliantly documented. The insights into the stresses on the family as they support Dad are sublime. Even after decades of dealing with human tragedies as a doctor, this book raised a lump in my throat. Today, Geoff still has two legs. 

Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public

By William Banting,

Book cover of Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public

Why this book?

First published in 1869, this short account describes the outrageous effects of ‘corpulence’ on the author’s daily life and his search for a solution. Routine advice was ineffective. For a decade he rowed a heavy boat on the river for two hours every morning. He ‘gained muscular vigour but with it a prodigious appetite’ and his weight increased. But eventually he found a doctor who had wise insight. He was advised to avoid foods that were easy to eat in quantity but did not satisfy appetite—bread, butter, beer, milk, sugar, and potatoes. He lost 50 pounds in weight, and over the course of the next four editions of his book, chronicled his long term return of good health. This is a parable for our time. 

The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet: How to Beat Diabetes Fast

By Michael Mosley,

Book cover of The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet: How to Beat Diabetes Fast

Why this book?

Michael Mosley was the one of the first best-selling authors to disseminate the new knowledge about how type 2 diabetes could be put into remission. It is all the more authentic in that he describes his personal battle with rising blood sugar levels. "Once you tip from prediabetes into diabetes you will be slapped on medication faster than you can say 'Coca-Cola'."  And it worth avoiding that fate. This is an eminently readable book which brings you onside with the author—a confident not a teacher. Just look at the section "Sort out your head". It’s the mind and body thing, often overlooked by well-meaning advisers. Just glance down the three sections of the book—The Science, The Diet, The Menus. Where will you start? This book bubbles with well-informed enthusiasm.

Metabolic Regulation: A Human Perspective

By Keith N. Frayn,

Book cover of Metabolic Regulation: A Human Perspective

Why this book?

Where can you get reliable information on how the body works? Online sites are notoriously unreliable. Most textbooks are unreadable. But here is a book that explains clearly how the body uses food for fuel. This book is not an ‘easy read,’ so don’t curl up with it expecting instant enlightenment. However, if you want to learn the beautiful details of how your body works, go for it. The chapter on "Integration of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism in normal daily life" conveys an understanding of how food handling works, and just looking at the diagrams and graphs will take you a long way. And simply reading the "Key learning points" at the start of each chapter will introduce you to the magic of metabolism. 

The Carbs & Cals & Fat & Fiber Counter

By Chris Cheyette, Yello Balolia,

Book cover of The Carbs & Cals & Fat & Fiber Counter

Why this book?

‘Counting’ calories at every meal is not a recipe for a sane or happy life. But knowing the approximate calorie content of what you regularly eat is certainly wise. This is a look-up book, not a reading book. So—how about the blueberry muffin you have been led to believe is the healthy option? What! 393 calories? But that is about a quarter of the daily calorie requirement for a smaller person. Orange juice? Ah yes, one of my five-a-day—so healthy. But at 90 calories per 250 ml glass it is easy to cut without bothering appetite. Taken in addition to a weight neutral diet, it would cause around six pounds of weight gain in a year. This is a book of information. Information useful for life. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in diabetes, alternative medicine, and obesity?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about diabetes, alternative medicine, and obesity.

Diabetes Explore 18 books about diabetes
Alternative Medicine Explore 20 books about alternative medicine
Obesity Explore 16 books about obesity

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Mastering Diabetes, Hockey Dreams, and The Summer I Found You if you like this list.