Dr. Bernie's Diet

OMG. I am reading Dr. Bernstein’s book now (see blog post yesterday LOL). I cannot fathom his diet plan. I know that it must work, and it makes sense, but wow. I am REALLY REALLY hoping I don’t have to do his diet. I get the impression that since I am mild type 2, maybe I won’t.

I have Gretchen’s book on the way and can’t wait to read it, since it is geared toward new Type 2’s.

How important is it REALLY to keep blood glucose to 85 like Dr. Bernstein recommends? What about keeping it to around 100? Not that I have been successful with that, even. Though I don’t usually go above 140 after two hours. But I’m scared that 140 is way too high and I need to be shooting much lower.

It’s just that I am not a huge fan of meat (I eat it, but I certainly don’t crave it), too much cheese plugs me up, I can only eat so many eggs without getting tired of them, and all the veggies I like are the ‘bad’ ones. It sucks that even whole-grain bread and pasta, and brown rice, are just as bad. All this time I have felt super virtuous eating them!

Misty, it really depends on WHO you ask. I think Dr. Bernstein’s ideas make a lot of sense. But I choose to balance between maintaining perfect blood sugar numbers and quality of life.

I cannot imagine living the way Dr. B does. But I wish that I were motivated to!!

So I try to keep my numbers between 70 and 120… and I don’t freak out if it goes up to 150. I don’t like to see numbers higher than that, but the reality for me is that it happens.

I read Dr. B for inspiration and motivation, but I have not successfully followed his plan yet! Others do and have great results. But, it’s a huge commitment and change of lifestyle. I “threaten” myself with Dr. Bernstein-- if I can’t keep good control with my lifestyle, then I will force myself to live with his!!

Thanks Kristin! But does Dr. B’s diet really apply for type 2? I understand he is trying to save the insulin-producing cells that we still have. But it does seem like it is too extreme for someone who is still early in the process. But I can understand how making changes early can save problems later on.

I don’t really know about whether it applies for type 2… I think that some aspects of his diet apply to all of us. Perhaps someone else will have a better answer?

Bernstein probably works BETTER for Type 2s than for Type 1s, because they don’t have to worry about hypos and insulin.

I ate his way for 7 years back when I was misdiagnosed and could not get a doctor to prescribe me insulin. I ate about 65 grams a day but never more than 15 a meal. It kept me in the 5% range most of the time (a few low 6%s) and probably kept me from getting complications.

I do better with a slightly higher carb intake and insulin, but getting doctors to prescribe insulin when they think you are a Type 2 is nearly impossible.

There is a lot of very helpful advice in the book. I personally believe it is safe to follow these guidelines:


Most Type 2s who do get A1cs in the 5%s and that is good enough to protect heath.

But I would strive heartily to get a fasting blood sugar under 100 mg/dl and often to do that as a Type 2 you have to cut back on the carbs at meal time.

There’s a lot more useful advice in the book than just the diet. Read it a couple times, because there’s more than you will take in on one read-throughl

Debb, he wants me to give up TOMATOES. How is this southern gal supposed to do that? LOL! That’s almost as repugnant as giving up bread.

I have Gretchen’s book on the way and I am hoping that her approach is a little more moderate. My BG is not terrible now (yet). I am hpoing that through moderation I can keep my numbers good. I mean, I am encouraged that I can eat organic cheerios drizzled with honey, and 1/2 cup milk for breakfast, and as long as I have a slice of cheese on the side my BG does not go above 120 at the 2-hour mark. That must mean I can still have carbs moderately, right? RIGHT? LOL

Good luck with the cake! For tomatoes, try some heirloom varieties. Yellow and orange are the least acidic. Red, purple, and green (yes their are heirloom green ones, they are my favorite) are the most acidic!

Misty, my book doesn’t prescribe any one diet. It says that you need to find out what diet works best for you. The best way to do this is to try eating different foods and measuring at 60 and 120 minutes after meals. I have a few graphs in my book. Derek Paice’s booklet “Diabetes and Diet” has a lot of graphs showing what his results were when he did this. You can download it free from www.dapaice.com.

Deciding how high you are willing to go after meals is a question of balancing health and quality of life. If you simply can’t live without some food, you should have it occasionally, and if necessary learn to use insulin to cover it. What is bad is a constant diet of highly processed carbs and high doses of insulin.

I think the healthiest diet is the former GO-Diet, reworked as the Four Corners Diet, which I helped the authors write. The book bombed, so you can probably buy a copy for a few cents plus shipping. It’s low-carb but high in mono fats and fiber and uses a lot of probiotics like yogurt.

We all miss things like potatoes and bread at first, but it’s amazing how ho-hum they taste when you haven’t had them for a long time. I’ve had about 5 pieces of bread in the past 10 years, and when I have it I wonder why I ever liked bread so much.

Thanks Gretchen! I will check out those other resources as well as your book. Honestly not surprised that diet book bombed – I think everyone got so overloaded with “yet another low-carb book” syndrome. It must be frustrating for you though since you believe in the concept.

If a doctor told me to quit eating tomatoes I would fire him/her on the spot! Tomatos are one of the most nutritious veggies available!
I agree with Gretchen. At this stage of your treatment the main objective is to stabilize BS. It is difficult because there are so many uknowns, but it is do able. The reason it is so important is because the PP spikes causes hunger and irresponsible eating as a consequence. For me, if I drink a Dr. Pepper, my sugar spices in the 300’s and it takes me about 3 days to stabilize my BS and appetite. I really suffer, so it didn’t take too many sodas to convince me it isn’t worth it.
If the Berstein diet is too extreme then check into the mediteranean diet. I’ve heard the mediteranean diet is better at stabilizing insulin and BS levels. Also, don’t be afraid to adjust a diet to your taste. Just use good judgement and moderation…

Danny – Dr. Bernie is the one who says to limit tomatoes! He says no more than a slice on a salad.

My best “eating out” meal so far has been a roasted chicken salad from Subway. I have had it three times since DX and at no time has my BS spiked after it. I just did a one-hour PP test and I am at 105. Tomatoes and all!

I started out 17 months ago eating pretty low carbs (<75 a day most days) and it was great for my A1C but I’ve found it really hard to maintain that level of commitment over time. I think others are right – focus first on figuring out how to stabilize your #s, and then look for a balance of #s vs. quality of life that you think you can maintain. At least, that’s what I’m trying to do.

One trick that works for me if I’ve just gotta have something I shouldn’t eat much of (like ice cream) is to eat it FIRST. I decide how much to have, and really pay attention to eating it and enjoying it, and then eat the rest of my meal followed by as much salad as I want. I never used to be all that heavy into lettuce but it’s my new best friend now because it’s one of the few things I can eat until I feel satisfied, with no rise in BG. And if I’m satisfied at the end of a meal, and I already had my treat, then there’s no temptation to have just one more bite of ice cream, or maybe two, or three or …

There was a time when I would have found it depressing as hell to think lettuce would become one of my favorite foods. Not so much anymore, though. You’ll find things that work for you too. And when you do you can share them here. I look forward to it!

Thanks so much for the ideas!