Dr. Bernstein's diet - do you follow it?

I’ve just been reading Dr. Bernstein’s books, Diabetes Solution, and Diabetes Diet and wow! I just wondered if anyone strictly follows his diet? It seems like all you can eat is vegetables and meat. I’ve done the Atkins diet before and this seems even more strict than that. No bread, ever, not even whole wheat. I’m Type 2 and I’ve been really watching the carbs, but not as strictly as this book says. Any thoughts on this? I’ve only been diagnosed for about 3 weeks, so this is all new to me. Thanks!


I know there are some people on this site that swear by Dr. Bernstein but I have to say that I am not one of those people. In fact I really don’t care for him at all. His area of expertise (in my opinion of course) is for people who have tried everything else to get there BG under control and just can’t seem to master it, for them his diet plan seems to be successful.

I have done low carb and it will just lead to even more carb craving. The Atkins diet is just plain junk because there is nothing that we put into our mouths including water that we should consume in vast extreme quantities. Eating an extremely high protein diet is not good for your kidneys and is just plain unrealistic. Moderation is the key and if you eat in moderation you can be very successful without feeling like you are missing all the enjoyable foods that are out in the world and at the same time you can control your BG.

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/bernsteinsdiabetesdiet/a/howtostarttips.htm This describes it a little. Or just do a Google search on “Bernstein Diet”. He recommends 6 grams of carbs at breakfast, 12 at lunch, 12 at dinner. It’s just extremely low carb. His book is very educational about diabetes though.

That is great if you don’t do any exercise but if you start working out your bg will drop to floor. For me alone coffee requires a 25 gram carb bolus in the AM and I drink it with a little milk and sugar. Of course you may not drink coffee so that may not be an issue for you.

Exactly, moderation is the key.

I have been trying to find out as much as possible about Dr. Bernstein´s diets and books. The main criticism of his diet seems to be that most people can´t be that strict for long periods of time. That being said, I have seen a number of threads of people who try to follow his diet and have very good control. What I like about him is that he is T1 himself, and so has lots of experience. His most useful advice seems to be his law of small numbers. (In a nutshell, smaller amounts of carbs leads to smaller corrections and greater control.)

I believe many people use his diet as a starting point and see whether they can add some more carbs than he allows. His diet is VERY strict, but it works.

I wouldn’t follow it that strictly. It’s very easy to go overboard when you first get diagnosed. I know I did. Just test regularly so you can determine how many carbs is too much. I don’t even pay much attention to Glycemic Index. I just count total carbs per meal and test to see how high I spike after carbs. I even eat white bread and desserts. As long as you control portion and calories per meal you can find out what works best for you.

Hi Patricia Griffith,
I asked for and received books for Mother’s Day. Today, I selected and bought Bernstein’s “The DIABETES DIET” copyright dated 2005 so my daughter out of state wouldn’t have to mail it to me.

“Diabetes Solution” wasn’t on the shelf. Is that book up to date–that is, when was it last revised? I’m wondering whether it contains info on the latest medications and research. I noticed that many diabetes books for sale are copyright dated 2007 or earlier; they seem outdated.


Wow! 4.9 is fabulous. Big congrats!

I’ve been following Dr. B’s guidelines for almost a year eating 5-6 carbs for breakfast, 12-15 for lunch & dinner. I credit low carb with good control, though not as impressive as Judith’s. I respect Dr. Bernstein’s philosophy that our goal should be as close to normal as possible, not merely “good enough” for a diabetic.

I ordered Diabetes Solution (revised 2007) from Amazon. Don’t think The Diabetes Diet is worth it & there are better low carb recipes on-line.

When people trash low carb, I check out home pages for A1cs. The A1cs are not particuarly good. Well, they’re acceptable according to ADA standards, which I believe are too high.

My diet is protein (not high protein) with carbs & fiber coming from vegetables & nuts, a wide variety of vegetables. I’m never hungry & don’t feel these guidelines are really all that difficult, I was a carbaholic before being diagnosed & have no carb cravings any more. To me, it’s not worth it to eat high carb & chase it with correspondingly high insulin doses. Been there with the ADA diet & felt horrible eating that way. If I’m exercising or being really physically active, I lower insulin, not raise carbs.

Just my experience, but Glycemic Index isn’t an effective tool for Type 1s. Think it’s a scam for diabetics. I haven’t found low GI made any difference in spikes.


www.diabetesincontrol.com has many chapters from Dr. B’s book. Click on archived writers for Dr. Bernstein. Good to check out chapters that pertain to other info besides just his dietary recommendations.

On the cover of “Diabetes Solution” it says “Newly Revised & Updated”, then inside it says "Copyright 1997, 2003, 2007 by Richard K. Bernstein, MD so I guess the last update was 2007. It wasn’t on the shelf at my local Barnes & Noble either, I had to order it. I also got “The Diabetes Diet” and read it first, that’s what prompted me to post my question on here asking if anyone actually follows that! As you would guess, the Diet book mostly talks about just that, the diet, but the Solution book talks about all aspects of diabetes, which I’m finding very informative since I’m just recently diagnosed.

Congrats on getting books for Mother’s Day! My kids often give me gift certificates to Barnes and Noble. They think my house looks like a library already, but that’s what I love.

Thanks for the copyright info. I’m still going to get “Diabetes Solution” to follow Dr. Bernstein’s approaches to controlling diabetes as most everyone recommends it highly. Bs = 128 this morning; I won’t be content until my bs fall and remain within normal ranges. I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong this time to see bs increasing: too little sleep last night? stress (I don’t feel stressed)? medication not working? ate too many or wrong carbs? So many possibilities…

Never heard of it! Oh well.

Hi Patricia,
As I posted earlier, I do low carb. I do not follow any particular person, Just keep my carbs under 50 per day and make sure they are almost all veggies, a small amount of fruit (very small) and 1-2 pieces low carb bread occasionally. I believe it is important to space these out throughout the day, not save them for one meal. I also walk every day. I just got my latest A1C. In 5 months, it has gone from 10.9 to 5.2. I am on 1500 mg Met per day, hoping to start reducing that within the year. allthough unless my A1C stays low it will be hard to give up. I must admit that once a month I still do a “Can I Eat Pizza Now?” meal, cutting off the crust and having two small pieces. Since that sends my bg up over 140, so far the answer is No!!

While I was just bemoaning my elevated again fasting bs of this morning, my husband reminded me I have 1/2 a pancreas; my pancreas functions at +/- 50% so oftentimes bs will be beyond my control.

Hi Lucile, just wondering, would a basal insulin like Levemir help you with BS levels? I think low carbs are critical for some of us (like me) but I’m dealing with insulin resistance only.

I credit Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution and Jenny’s Blood Sugar 101 for helping me get my A1C down from 11.5 to 7.9 in less than 60 days. I had blood work last Thurs and am waiting to find out what my 3 month A1C is. When I was diagnosed this Feb, I was pretty sad about eating low carb, not so much angry, just sad. But I’m used to it now and feel so free for not having carb carvings any more.

I tried Susan’s “Can I eat this now” test this weekend. I love Pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup). So I tried a small bowl with extra beef. Nope, uh uh, no way. I spiked to 218 mg/dl. For this body, a restricted carb diet and exercise and metformin are what work for blood glucose control.

Hi Dave, just to let you know, there is no research that shows high protein diets are harmful to human kidneys. If you already have renal disease then high protein consumption is going to worsen that condition - but it won’t and can’t cause renal disease. All of the warnings and nutritional advice are based on a long ago study done with 1 rabbit. (Rabbits aren’t very much like humans medically.) Even though the conclusion that high protein consumption is unhealthy has not been replicated in subsequent studies it’s still passed along as conventional wisdom.

Thanks Judith, I most certainly will try Gerri’s crust, and it will be mine…ALL mine!!! Yvonne, yikes!! I am only up to about 146 on my pizza test (which is why I keep trying it) Really glad I not trying for something that may be healthier, like Pho!