Best Diabetes Books

This is my list of best diabetes books. In particular, Dr. Bernstein’s book, Amy Tenderich’s title and Gretchen Becker’s book (for Type 2’s) I’ve found to be A1 (not A1C!) :slight_smile:

What are your favorite diabetes-related titles?

Hi Manny,

My favorite has to be Patrick Quillin’s, “The Diabetes Improvement Program”. It has taught me more about diabetes than all my health care “professionals” combined. Yes, I’m a little disappointed in medical care professionals’ lack of knowledge in this arena. Surprised? Three doctors, several counselors and I struggled with my depression for almost five long, miserable years before I found a book that helped me dig my way out of that awful rut. Since then, I’ve adopted this mantra: “You can’t know too much when it comes to your health”. I like to think that if I can learn more about caring for myself than most doctors, then anyone can. Doctors aren’t any more special than any one of us. All it takes is a some diligence and effort. The information is readily available… you just have to seek it out.

Psyching Out Diabetes b Richard Rubin, June Bierman and Barbara Toohey. You probably don’t know June and Barbara, but they wrote a host of books about 15-25 years ago that kept me going. They were down to earth, honest communicators who believed that good control made a difference.
P.O.D. is a wonderful book with separate chapters on anger, fear, frustration, etc. Dr. Rubin’s son developed db as a child.
Also, I found Think Like A Pancreasto be helpful.
When I was dx’d in '74, I lived in a very small town in central Minnesota. The library had one book on db, a very musty copy on the bottom shelf which contained instructions on boiling your syringe (I came onboard just as disposables were becoming widely used). It also had black and white pictures of nurses with big hats on.
I am so greatful for all of the information we can get today in books, magazines and the fabulous world-wide web!!!

I agree 100%. It is sooooo easy to turn all the decision making over to the doctor with the excuse that “he knows best”. We have to be proactive and our own best advocate.
One time I had not gotten a letter with all of my lab results. The next time I went to the clinic I asked the dr to read the numbers to me. He said in a sarcastic tone, “now what are you going to do, write them down in a book”? Well, yes, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.

Bernstein is number one on my list for someone who is looking for something beyond the “introduction for dummies” level. I also recommend him to any type 2 who is considering insulin, because Type 2s don’t get any education in how to figure out correct dosing, or even the differences between basal and bolus insulin. Without what I’ve learned from him about insulin, I would not have been able to make it work for me.

If I hadn’t read Bernstein back in the Bad Old Days when I was diagnosed, I would have believed the doctor who told me that blood sugars in the mid-250 mg/dl level were “nothing to worry about” and kept eating the extremely high carb “health food” diet full of sugary fruit juices, rice, noodles, and whole grains that was giving me those 250+ blood sugars.

Bernstein told me to use a meter, and see how many grams of carbs my body could handle, which turned out to be “almost none.”. He also told me what “normal” blood sugar was. My current thinking, 9 years and a lot of research later, is that he’s a bit more extreme than necessary about blood sugar targets and how much carb we can eat, but not by much. If I had to choose between him and the crap put out by the ADA-- all that “eat a healthy banana with your oatmeal” advice, I’d go with him.

Gretchen Becker’s book is the one I’d first give to someone first diagnosed with Type 2 who needed the most introductory kind of information, as as she explains things very well and also emphasizes using the meter to figure out what you can eat.

Have you read Using Insulin (or Pumping Insulin for those who use pumps) or Think Like a Pancreas? Both are definitely aimed at type 1 and are written to the person with diabetes themselves, not to a parent or caregiver. Type 1 Diabetes: A Guide for Children, Adolescents, Young Adults–And Their Caregivers is also excellent. None of these books would be good for newly-diagnosed people, though, there’s too much information and it would be overwhelming. They’re better for people who already know what they’re doing and want more advanced information.

I also really like Psyching Out Diabetes out of the “psychology” books I’ve read, which haven’t been many.

For autobiographies, my favourite is Needles: A Memoir of Growing Up with Diabetes. It made me cry after the second chapter. :slight_smile: I also like Cheating Destiny.

Lots of good books out there!

Dr. Francine Kaufman’s Diabesity is a great book talking about diabetes (mostly type 2) as a national epidemic. She does share some stories about helping kids with type 1, too.
Dr. Kaufman is a former president of the ADA, and is really inspiration in the fight against diabetes. I was fortunate enough to meet her a few years ago, and I really recommend her book.
One thing, the book is about two years old, so most of the statistics have already gone up.

I think Bittersweet: Diabetes, Insulin, and the Transformation of Illness by Chris Feudtner is just such a book that deals with the evolution of diabetes treatment. I’ve gotten it out of the library once but never got around to reading it.

LOL. It does look like a pretty hefty read which is why I never got around to it. Let us know if it’s any good if you do end up reading it.

I agree with Jennifer that Type 1 Diabetes: A Guide for Children, Adolescents, Young Adults–And Their Caregivers is a phenomenal book. I also loved the book Cheating Destiny by James S. Hirsch. It is a great personal account with wonderful information on the history, healthcare, and people who have had a great impact on the world of diabetes.

Hello Sire:

Titles or Content… sometimes very, very different creatures?

"Diabetic Athlete"
“Diabetes Burnout”
“Dragon Sleep” (my working title; )

Their content… easily debatable.


I like Diabetes Burnout too. Dr. William Polonsky is one of my heroes.

Have you run into any great books that have been instrumental to help you with your diabetes management lately?

Lara Takes Charge” by Rocky Lang, one of our members

I don’t think Think Like a Pancreas is to advanced for people new to diabetes. I don’t have insurance so I go to a free clinic and they basically don’t know anything about diabetes, they just prescribe my insulin. Someone on another diabetes forum recommended that book to me and it helped me figure out all of my insulin dosing and stuff. I would definitely recommended it to anyone new. I definitely agree with you on Using Insulin though…lol.

I’m a big fan of “Taking Control of Your Diabetes” by Steve Edelman. Some of his medical advice is closer to the ADA mainstream than people here like (although he acknowledges the importance of carbohydrate control), but it has a lot of tidbits about insulin dosing, interpreting BG patterns, self-care, preventing complications, and overall management strategy that are really invaluable.

I really loved the Gretchen Becker book when I was first diagnosed. She was my hero that first year or two. I think the Diabetes Burnout book is also very good.

Right now I’m reading How to Think Like a Pancreas, Using Insulin and a book by my new doctor, David McCulloch, titled The Diabetes Answer Book.

Of course, as others have said, Dr. Bernstein’s work is the gold standard for many diabetics. Having wrestled with the big D for all these decades himself (over 60 years a type 1), he’s not blowing any smoke. His engineering background comes through in every word. He’s proven everything he recommends by rigorous testing and record-keeping on himself and his patients. His program is a tough but compassionate reality check for all of us. Keep the numbers tight and low, and you’ll likely do fine; slop all over the place and run too high for years on end and…ulp…watch out! When I’m tempted by the dessert table at a big party, I laughingly think, “WWDBD?” What would Dr. Bernstein do? :0)

I like not only books that help me manage my diabetes, but also books that help me understand diabetes and how we all got to where we are today.

I really enjoyed “Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the M…,” which is an account of the early days of the insulin discovery and the first patients.

Dan Hurley in “Diabetes Rising: How a Rare Disease Became a Modern Pandemic, and W…” talks about the complex relationships between environmental factors and genetics in diabetes.

One of my recent issues has been figuring out how to manage nutrition and insulin with exercise. A classic in this area from Sheri Colberg is the “Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook”. And my most recent acquisition is a book by our own member Ginger Vieira called “Your Diabetes Science Experiment” which I just got and will hopefully help me get a handle on my blood sugars during exercise.

My favorite book is 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life: And the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It by Riva Greenberg. While I didn’t understand everything in it when I was a newly diagnosed type 2, I came to appreciate her insights and reassurance when I was rediagnosed with type 1 and started insulin.

These have all been mentioned, but I thought I’d just second the recommendations.

The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed By Gretchen Becker Would be the book I’d tell the newly diagnosed T2 to read first. A great primer, she presents pros and cons of various diets and treatments impartially.

Blood Sugar 101: What They Don’t Tell You About Diabetes By Jenny Ruhl Pretty much the same as the website but I found it easier to read and re read in book form, but that’s just me. Great explanations of whats going on with your body and why it’s important to get your sugar under control, all backed by solid science. A very simple and easy to follow program to get control.

Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars By Richard K. Bernstein Based on years of personal experience and clinical practice, it works, not much else to say.