Book review: Why We Get Sick

Book cover for Why We Get Sick by Benjamin Bikman, PhD

As part of my regular reading rotation, I make it a point to include books about diet and nutrition. It may be an old adage, but it is so true – we are what we eat. Our diet has a huge impact on our health, In fact, I would contend that it has the biggest impact.

Fortunately, a lot of research is being performed on how we can improve our physical and emotional well-being through diet and nutrition. I’ve also been fortunate that my sister, who is in the health care industry, has also taken an interest in the subject. As part of my wellness reading, she suggested the book Why We Get Sick by Benjamin Bikman, PhD.

Overall, I found it to be a good book. It’s well researched and well written. Given what I’ve read about the subject over the last few years, I found it to be mostly a review of the key points I’ve learned around diet, nutrition, and fitness, but in the context of watching insulin. Bikman focuses intensely on the topic of insulin resistance throughout the book. He contends that it plays the largest and most important role in regulating our metabolic process. Because of this, he maintains that it is critical that our cells are sensitive to insulin. Unfortunately, our modern, western-style diet does not promote insulin sensitivity. If anything, the diet does the exact opposite. It causes our cells to be insulin resistant. Our sedentary lifestyle doesn’t help either and further compounds the problem.

While the book is worth reading, there are two things that kept it from being one of my Must Reads. As mentioned earlier, it didn’t cover a lot of new ground for me. Secondly, Bikman more or less pins all of our health woes on our cells being insulin resistant. While I would agree that insulin resistance is an important factor in declining health, I’m not sure I’m all in on his theory that it is the key or most important factor. I believe improving and maintaining good health is a more nuanced issue. Factors such as our immune system, gut health, and other areas also need to be monitored and maintained.

While not a Must Read, I would still recommend reading Bikman’s Why We Get Sick. While it may not have covered any new ground for me, it served as confirmation and good reinforcement of the concepts I’ve learned from others on my diet and nutrition journey.

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