Carlton Fredericks claims that depression, anxiety, obsessions, claustrophobia, psychosis and many other mental and physical complaints are caused by hypoglycemia and that his recommended diet will cure these diseases and their associated symptoms.
Hypoglycemia is a state in which a person's blood glucose level is below normal. When the blood sugar is low, the person will notice symptoms related to the increase in blood epinephrine such as sweating, tremulousness, fast heart rate, anxiety and hunger. In addition, since glucose is the primary energy source for the brain, hypoglycemia may cause symptoms of dizziness, headache, visual blurring, confusion and, when extreme, seizures and loss of consciousness.
To compensate for the drop in blood glucose, the body rapidly responds by releasing hormones that stimulate the conversion of other chemicals into glucose. The result is a tightly regulated balance to maintain a normal blood glucose level.
In Chapter 4, "Low Blood Sugar -- An Organ Recital," the book begin to educate the reader on the complicated balancing mechanisms used by the body to feed the tissue and maintain normal glycemia.
In the remainder of "New Low Blood Sugar And You," however, Fredericks takes many liberties in explaining the cause and incidence of hypoglycemia, its causal relationship with other medical diseases and the appropriate therapy.
First, he does not fully define the causes of hypoglycemia and how, if the hypoglycemia occurs with fasting, one should be more concerned with an underlying disease such as hormonal or enzymatic deficiencies, liver disease, alcoholism or rare tumors. Rather, he generalizes and places all hypoglycemics in the group of people who have a drop in blood glucose within several hours after a meal.
Fredericks tries to convince the reader that the incidence of hypoglycemia is high, saying, "for one person in every ten, sugar is a deadly food." He supports this by presenting several anecdotes and poorly controlled studies.
He advocates the use of a glucose tolerance test for the diagnosis but neglects to state that many studies have shown that of those people who have symptoms, only one-quarter will have a drop in their blood glucose, and of those people without symptoms, one-quarter will also have a drop in blood glucose.
When these groups are retested with a high-protein rather than a high-sugar meal, some of the abnormal responders will have normal glucose levels and vice versa. In large part, physicians have replaced the glucose tolerance test for hypoglycemia with a single blood test during the time of spontaneously occuring symptoms.
The author then makes the assumption that hypoglycemia causes many medical problems such as alcoholism, ulcers and allergies -- including "the lethal type" -- and that these diseases can be cured with his recommended diet. Such statements must be read with caution as these causal relationships have not been proven and a change in medical therapy by these people may be harmful.
Finally, the therapy recommended for the hypoglycemia person is a diet that replaces the intake of high-sugar foods with high-protein and high-fiber foods.
This is an oversimplification of the formula he prescribes, which includes a before breakfast drink of blended dried skim milk, protein powder, glycine, yeast powder and milk, juice or water. In addition to this drink, breakfast, lunch and dinner, one is instructed to eat three snacks a day.
While writing my strong concerns with Fredericks' apparent exaggerations and false promises, I repeatedly recalled one of his paragraphs that paraphrases a remark taken from a Nobel Prize acceptance speech: "It is a wise herd that does not too severly punish its deviants, for while they are idiots and criminals, they are also prophets and discoverers."