Dr Bernstein diet

Hey I am in a process of trying to get a better HBA1C, ive heard the miracle of the dr Bernstein diet. Sounds great however I’m scared I will loose heaps of weight?

So do you follow this regime? what is your weight like? please all information is highly appreciated.

Thankyou heaps Adele

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@Adele1 I would suggest that you get Dr. Bernstein’s book “Diabetes Solution.” As far as his extremely low carb diet regime it did a lot to bring my high blood glucose levels to normal. However after a few months I changed to a lower carb high fat diet. Some can do extreme carb restriction for life, but not all. His book is a great resource about diabetes and his personal story is a great read.

A couple of authors you might add to your D library are Sheri Colberg PhD and Gary Scheiner MS CDCES. The more you learn about diabetes mellitus and how our bodies metabolize nutrients is important.

I am a type 2 DM who is pretty fit at 71 with 28 years since diagnoses. I started mulit daily injections in January, so it’s like I have one foot in either camp.

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I interpret this to mean that you fear losing too much weight. This is not something I’ve had to worry about. I’ve been using carb limits at some level for nine years now. I’ve varied the actually daily limit from about 100 grams/day down to the Bernstein level of 30 grams/day. My current daily limit is < 30 grams/day.

Like many people who try carb limits, I lost about 25 pounds when I first put it into place. This is weight that I needed to lose. The weight loss, for me, leveled off above what I would consider my ideal weight. I was never in any danger of losing too much weight.

Dr. Bernstein’s recommended way of eating is to limit carbs to < 30 grams/day but he emphasizes a higher level of protein rather than fat. Many people, including me, adopted a low carb, high fat way of eating inspired by Berstein’s method. I’ve more recently started to replace some of the fat in my diet with protein in an experiment to improve my health and also to lose a few pounds.

I encourage you to experiment with carb-limiting. It it the single biggest reason I enjoy a 90+% time in range (65-130 mg/dL) with very few significant lows and A1c’s in the low 5% range. I also use an automated insulin dosing pump/CGM system to contribute to my success. I think low carb combined with automated insulin dosing is a powerful one-two punch to manage glucose in diabetes.

For many years, decades really, I attempted to manage my glucose with the “carb-up, shoot-up” method and I just couldn’t make it work for me. I know some people can manage their blood sugar levels well using this model but I’m not one of them. At least I couldn’t freely eat all the carbs I wanted with well calculated insulin doses 100% of the time. When I miscalculated my insulin doses, the mistakes were doozies, unhealthy and unsafe. Looking back, eating all the carbs I want and dosing for them seems more like a game of metabolic Russian Roulette to me.

There are people with diabetes who severely limit fat intake and avoid all processed carb intake but do consume hundreds of grams of fruit and veggie carbs per day and still manage their glucose levels well. This is another option, but one I have not chosen.

But that’s me. You may be a person who worries more about keeping weight on, not off. I can’t speak from experience, but I don’t think Dr. B’s way of eating will force you to an unhealthy low weight. In any case, you could try limiting the carbs in your diet and if your weight is dropping too low, you could adjust your eating style to compensate.


I was on the Bernstein diet for 11 yrs. I have been off of it for about 4 yrs. I think I lost about 15+ lbs when I started eating very low carb. My A1c was already quite good, but I wanted to lose a few lbs.

I should never have stayed with Bernstein for so very long. His WOE is great for some people, at least for much shorter times, but I ignored all of warning signs that this was not a healthy way of controlling my diabetes.

An extremely popular book at the time said to ignore LDL. Supposedly as long as your HDL was high and your Triglycerides were low you were supposed to be doing well.
When I suddenly needed two heart stents my HDL was 100 and my Triglycerides were about 36. My LDL was close to 200.
I actually stayed on the diet after I got stents. I foolishly believed what I read and ignored my body. Eventually my blood pressure started dropping too low and I kept passing out and hitting my head. This along with migraines made me finally give up the diet.

For the last 4 yrs I have followed the two type 1 diabetics at Mastering Diabetes. I lost 10 lbs when I started this diet. I realize that this sounds unbelievable but I eat close to 275 carbs daily. The diet is vegan and it is low fat. I started adding wild Alaskan Salmon to this and am doing fine. I eat a lot of fruit, vegetables including potatoes, grains etc. I only give about 3 more units of insulin than I was on the Bernstein diet. In total I usually take 23 units of insulin.
My last A1c was 4.8 and I am mostly in range. I also exercise an hr a day. I feel much better eating this way.

I am 5’ tall and weigh 105
Type 1 dx 1959


Wow thankyou everyone all that knowledge is so helpful, I really appreciate it

For me, it wasn’t diet, but medicine.

I dropped from a 14.3 to a 6.0% in 6 months once I was 1) properly diagnosed as LADA; and 2) given the medicine I needed (insulin).

Over the past 9 months I tried the low-carb/high fat. It’s all higher in calories so I was always feeling—not hungry exactly, but rather unsatisfied.

It wasn’t food that I would normally chose to eat or felt happy about eating. And, for me, even though the fat is supposed to be a “free food”, my BG would slowly creep up for hours until I was out of range.

Thanks to the folks on this forum, I decided that I could make changes and find something that worked better for me.

Past couple of weeks, I’m back to a higher carb/lower fat diet ovo-lacto vegetarian diet—almost 50-60 carbs at my mid-day meal! I’m eating all the green veggies I want at a meal instead of obsessing about the number of cucumber slices. Have added tomatoes back in. Hope to test with other veggies as the summer months come on us. My fruits are still limited to apples—a glorious 130grams at a time!—and blueberries—hoping at add to this list as I test quantities against my insulin needs.

These are the foods I enjoy. I’m happier having them back in my life. It’s also made this whole diabetes-thing less of a curse and more of something that I can deal with.

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Finding a way of eating that you enjoy, is healthy, and gives you reasonable blood glucose levels is an accomplishment. It’s a life-long challenge and your choices will likely change and you adjust.

While I enjoy success with a way of eating that’s different from you, I understand that different things work for different people. Your willingness to experiment with different eating styles is a big positive.

I do think, however that there are foods that we all, including non-diabetics, should avoid. I include processed foods (you can identify these foods with their long ingredient lists with unpronounceable items) and industrially produced “vegetable” oils. These are the oils used by most restaurants and inevitably end up on the ingredient lists of highly processed foods. Corn, soybean, canola, safflower and sunflower oils are examples.

These oils are produced using high heat, pressure, and chemicals. The machinery that extracts these oils look more like a petroleum refinery than a food processing plant. Here’s 10-minute YouTube video on this topic.

You’ve quickly learned a few important things in your short time living with diabetes. Remaining open to new ideas and a willingness to experiment are strong traits for success.

Enjoy your new way of eating and consistently monitor your blood sugar levels. You can learn a lot by experimenting with insulin timing and dose size. Also realize that food can act differently from one meal to the next and that things can change as you age. Vigilance will help you stay on track.

I wish you the best of luck!

You need to eat food styles you like, all can be adjusted to high or low carbs and fats as needed.

Who told you fat was free food? it will raise your BG over time, up to 8 hours to digest. 1g of fat uses 10% of a carb gram’s worth of insulin to digest.

I hated it, it was very bad for me. I felt weak and like I was starving, which I was. Who eats one melba toast etc or whatever to have 9 g carbs! That has to be the craziest diet ever :joy_cat: I remember eating what a bird would eat and feeling how the hell am I supposed to get through this…starvation was coming on soon, lol.

I still feel that way a lot on insulin, apparently it is a type 1 phenomenon, but not nearly as bad with more carbs, I still eat lowish carb. And no grains or starchy foods which spike me no matter what.

I was not far out of dka and had already lost a lot of weight. I would never do it again. In addition not eating enough carbs can put you into dka if you are type 1. it happened to me due to digestive issues when I reduced carbs to try and stop bg crashes with lower boluses.

The Bernstein diet can be polarizing and divisive in any diabetes community. The best advice I learned about this came from this community about 10 years ago. It said simply, “take from the Bernstein diet and protocol what you like and leave the rest.”

Bernstein’s way is not a take-it or leave-it proposition. In the nine years I have used carb limits to help manage my glucose levels, I have ranged from 100 grams/day down to the Bernstein level of 30 grams per day.

I know that strict Bernstein adherents likely take issue with this sentiment but we each get to make our own choice about how we manage diabetes. I respect the choices they make and expect them to respect mine.

My use of carb-limits is the most significant tool for me, after insulin itself, to control blood glucose. If you haven’t experimented with carb-limits before, I encourage you to give it a try. I understand your reluctance as it took me two years and a diabetes complication diagnosis to launch my experiment. It was one of the best diabetes decisions I’ve made.

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You need to do any diet the right way. Low carb, keto, Bernstein, vegetarian or vegan etc. You wouldn’t eat just one piece of 9g toast = 40cal. Though the toast could be the carb part of your breakfast. You would normally get most of the needed calories from protein and fats.

I’ve been T1 for 35+ years, strict with Dr. Bernstein’s way of eating and managing diabetes (that includes all of his other recommendations regarding dosing insulin, exercise, etc) for about 7 years.
I did initially lose weight when I transitioned to a very low carb diet but granted I started it about 20 lbs overweight (when I was eating so-called “healthy carbs”), on my way to having “double diabetes” as T2 also runs in my family and I was on insane amounts of insulin with gradually needing more and more resulting in less control. Going very low carb not only led to much better control overall (A1c in the mid 4s for many years now) but also to cutting about 2/3 of my total daily dose of insulin, significantly fewer hypoglycemia occurrences, and even partial to a full reversal of some complications.
I have lost and gained weight on this diet throughout the years, mainly due to exercise and fat+protein consumption. I have always maintained a healthy weight on it though. If your goal is to maintain your current weight, just make sure you’re eating both enough protein and adequate fat (so enough calories).
Watch his YouTube videos too, the book is excellent but kind of old and a bit out-of-date. In his videos, he gives more current and updated info about new technology and insulin out in the market. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any further questions. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I didn’t say that was all I was eating. It wasn’t but that or something similar and little else would be the carb portion of 2 meals per day. I did the diet correctly and it was absolutely terrible- like a starvation diet with numerous bg issues for me. I would never do it again and I don’t recommend it for anyone who is type 1.