Dr. Richard Bernstein Program With Type 1 Diabetes

Hello everyone!

I’m wondering if there are any Type 1’s who have successfully managed their control with Dr. Bernstein’s program? I have always been in pretty good control, but have been having a much harder time this past year. I seem to have to give myself far more insulin than I ever have to keep my BG down, and therefore have gained an unwanted 30lbs in 8 months!! I watch my carbs and walk 5 miles a day, which is what I have always done, but now I have cut my calories as well to see if that would help me lose some weight. I have gone from a size 4 to a size 12 in such a short time. It’s extremely depressing because I have always been thin and just can’t seem to be able to enjoy myself as much now. It’s just really hard to get used to. I don’t feel confident anymore and I really can’t afford a new wardrobe right now!

I have been a Type 1 for 21 years. I currently take 20 units of Lantus in the AM and PM. I probably average around 25 units of Humalog a day. This time last year I was doing 8 units of Lantus in the AM and PM and probably averaged around 8 units of Humalog a day. My A1C was 6.4 last July and is now an 8. I have been hypothyroid since I was 13 and my TSH levels were always normal after being on medication, but back in January my TSH was slightly high, so my doctor put me on a higher dose, but also changed my meds from Levo to Synthroid. The TSH level is back to normal again, but do you think it’s possible that I have gained all this weight from changing the brand of medication?

I would really appreciate hearing from anyone who has been in a similar situation and what you have done to help yourself, or maybe even what you are doing to TRY and help yourself!

I’m very new to the Tudiabetes family and must say it’s by far the most educational and supportive diabetes website I have ever experienced! Thanks!!!


Hi, im new here too and have wanted to ask the same question for weeks now. Im type 1 and learned about Dr. Bernsteins diet on this site. I am on my thirs week now and keep wondering if its something I can do FOREVER! Yikes! My bg have been only over 200, 6 times since I started. Im re reading the 2 books to see what else i need to change but other than not exercising, I think im doing well. Most of the time my bg is between 90 and 130. I know he wants lower #'s but im still learning. I do not need snacks at night anymore but im scared to exercise because I cant carb load. Which i have been doing for always. The first week I lost 5 lbs of the 30 I need to lose, but then the next week , 2.5 came back??? Very discouraging to say the least because I stuck to the plan. Well I have to mention the constipation is hard to deal with too. I went from very high fiber diet to much lower amount. Not sure how much longer I can take it. Anyone out there that can suggest what to expect next, I would be willing to listen. Thanks


Not sure if you realize it is there, but here is a link to the group Hypothyroid Diabetics.

Someone there might be able to answer the medication question. Sorry, but I cannot help with the other questions.


I’ve been following Dr. Bernstein’s recommendations for a little over two years. I had to increase protein because I lost too much weight. I’ve been thin my whole life until I ate according to ADA guidelines. Only time I gained weight.

I’m hypothyroid also–Hashimoto’s. Thyroid supplementation increased my insulin needs. This is common, but I don’t think changing brands is the cause. Having an increased thyroid dose may be the reason for needing more insulin.

Does your endo test for free T3 & free T4 in addition to TSH? TSH isn’t enough.

Yup, I realized this right after I posted! Better late than never…:wink:

Hey! Thanks for the reply!

My endo seems to be anti-T3, T4 theory. I am more than willing to change my endo for this very reason. It seems like every person I know with Hashimoto’s agrees with you about the T3 and T4. I’m wondering if I would feel much better if it was added. What medication do you take for your Hashimoto’s?

Also, if you don’t mind me asking, did your insulin dosage go way down being on the Bernstein plan? When you have the time, I would REALLLLLY appreciate more details about your “Bernstein Journey.” It’s motivating to know that it has done well for someone with both Type 1 and Hashimoto’s. I’m willing to do anything HEALTHY to get my BG’s and weight down!


Hey Alan! Thanks for the reply!

How long have you been following Bernstein’s plan? When you get a few free minutes, and I mean that, please don’t feel obliged to reply right away, can you give me an example of what you eat and how much insulin you give on an average day? I have heard that you are “the go to guy” when it comes to low-carbing…:wink:


Welcome Patty! It’s nice to know I have someone to travel on this journey with. I can’t wait to see if I notice a difference after some time on the plan. I usually walk 5 miles a day, so I’m hoping the diet gives me enough energy to keep up with that. I tend to get down without exercise. It’s the best anti-depressant there is!!

Please feel free to get in touch with me anytime if you need support or just someone to talk with…:wink:


I disagree with your endo about free T3 & free T4 testing. I take levo, like you. Some people do need added T3, which is not in levo. Synthroid & levo are the same. Synthroid is a brand name.

There’s a hypothyroid group on Tu D you might want to join,

Oh yes, my insulin doses went down significantly eating low carb according to Dr. B. But, thyroid supplementation does increase insulin needs. When diagnosed, I was taking 35 units of Lantus & I only weighed 96 lbs at the time. I take 12 units now & weigh 105 lbs. I’ve since changed to Levemir, but the doses are the same.

I’m happy to share my journey, but not sure there’s that much to tell. I simply started eating low carb & changed my doses on my own. Ask anything you’d like to know.

Welcome Patty! It’s nice to know I have someone to travel on this journey with. I can’t wait to see if I notice a difference after some time on the plan. I usually walk 5 miles a day, so I’m hoping the diet gives me enough energy to keep up with that. I tend to get down without exercise. It’s the best anti-depressant there is!!

Please feel free to get in touch with me anytime if you need support or just someone to talk with…:wink:


I have not been diagnosed as a T1, but I have followed low carb and Dr. B for a number of years. There is a specific Dr. B forum on his site (www.diabetes-book.com). It would be seem to be obvious that your total dose would go down since you total daily glucose load is so much smaller and you bolus levels would become very small, but most people also report some drop in the basal insulin requirements. I’ve never been really clear why this occurrs.

Since this is already a thyroid challenged population you should also understand that there is some belief that a low carb diet, whether Atkins or Dr. B over the long term can cause low thyroid (see http://diabetesupdate.blogspot.com/2009/11/effect-of-atkins-diet-lo…). I’ve been fortunate and not experienced any problems after about 5 years of low carb.

ps. I follow an adapted Dr. B plan. The majority of people that follow his teachings modify his diet targets but directly follow his ideas (i.e. “law of small numbers”).

I’m still waiting for my Bernstein book (grrr), but have a couple questions on what you wrote while I wait.

First you say you eat a lot of vegs - but do you count the carbs in them? Putting aside the higher carb vegs like corn, peas, and beans (which I assume can’t be eaten on Bernstein). Other vegs, for example a cup of carrots, okra or broccoli each have 10g of carb or more. And that would be the limit of carbs for that meal - so no onion, no tomato slices, no low-carb cheese, no yogurt, no milk in coffee. To me a meal with a lot of vegs is much more than a single cup serving, and I’ll always throw in cheese, yogurt, hummus, tomato sauce, other vegs, etc. So even if I managed to stop eating fruit it looks like I’de be very limited in veg intake. Is that right - or does Bernstein not count veg carbs?

Also, are you on a very low calorie diet - if limited to 30g carb per day and that’s 10% of your calories, then that’s only 1200 calories or so per day - is that right? Is that part of Bernstein’s diet as well?

I absolutely agree with you. I have almost totally eliminated carbs from my diet. I get everything from protein - namely vegetables, salad, greens, hardly ever any fruit, and no bread, potatoes, rice, cereal. I too am on the pump for a couple of years and I watch exactly how many units of insulin I take in a day. If you eat carbs, the more insulin you will require and the more weight you will put on. I have managed to keep my weight in check and I have always been thin. I have never followed Dr. Bernstein’s book word for word, but I do agree with the concept of hardly any carbs. If I am hungry I may have one slice of the “crispbread” the wheat /low fat with a small amount of peanut butter. BUT that is it. I have had type 1 for 56 years, so I must be doing something right !!!


Like Alan, the majority of my carbs come from vegetables & I count them. Carbs are carbs. I use tomato sauce, though sparingly. One way to stretch tomato sauce is to add a little heavy cream to it for less carbs. I sautee veggies with onion to get the flavor, but don’t eat the onion depending on what else is part of the meal. I also use lower carb alternatives like shallots, leeks, scallions instead.

I eat a lot of vegetables & don’t feel it’s that limited of an amount following Dr. B. It takes quite a pile of food like asparagus, leafy greens or anything in the cabbage family to add up to 10-15 carbs. Avocadoes, turnips, mushrooms, cucumbers, sprouts, green beans, sumer squashes are other low carb veggies I eat frequently & in good quantities.

I don’t use a cup of vegetables=a certain amount of carbs guideline because it’s not accurate. Buying an EatSmart scale was one of the best things I did. I also use an on-line recipe analyzer for things with a lot of ingredients to keep from going insane with calculations.

Greek yogurt has fewer carbs than regular yogurt & is delicious. If you can’t find it, you can make your own by straining regular yogurt.

Moderate amounts of berries are the only fruit I eat. Tart apples, like 1/2 a Granny Smith, I can handle also.

I have a weakness for sugar free vanilla lattes. I have been starting my day with one for the last few years and will be a hard habit to break! When I looked at the nutritional facts on the Starbucks website, it looks as though a tall latte with 2% milk has 14 grams of carbs. I do like cream, but the thought of that much saturated fat makes me nervous! What do you think? Or should I ask them to do half cream and half skim? This, more than any other part of my usual diet, will definitely be the hardest to let go. Feedback would be much appreciated…:slight_smile:


I use a lot of cream. When I changed to a low carb/higher fat diet, my lipid profile improved greatly. Others have experienced the same.

Saturated fat isn’t the enemy that we’ve been brainwashed to think it is. Progressive research shows that excess carbs are the cause of unhealthy blood lipids, not fats. Read Gary Taubes’ book & articles. He’s been researching this for decades.

Vegetable oils (except for olive oil) are quite unhealthy.

If you can handle the calories, have them use half & half & cream.

I’m trying to lose the 30+ pounds I have gained recently, so I’m not so sure I CAN handle the calories. Maybe I should just suck it up and quit my latte fix altogether? Or maybe I can try and get used to plain coffee with half & half I can add myself. To make it easier I’ll just think of the thousands of dollars I’ll save each year!

Hard to give up your latte fix–sorry.

Gerri, I hadn’t heard of an Eat Smart scale so I went to Amazon. Imagine my surprise when the first review is by our Tu founder, Manny Hernandez.


Bernstein’s recommendations got me in target when the book came out. I don’t stick with 6 carbs in the a.m., but sometimes I go a couple weeks with only 6. Sometimes 10 grams.
My lunch and evening include Healthy Life bread sandwich (5 grams each slice). Otherwise veggies, about 10 grams, and meat for a meal. Low on tomatoes. Almost no fruit - oh yes, when I’m serving strawberries, honeydew, watermelon, grapes to my husband, I’ll have one. I eat 4 meals a day, not 3. Keeps my weight up since I’m an active person. My Lantus is 8 u/day in divided doses. My Humalog is on a 1:5 basis. One unit drops me 45-60.
Bernstein’s a way to get centered. I’m at 5.4-5.9 on A1c for several years now. I do eat a pizza slice at 8 grams and double dose for it. I eat Dreamfields and again have to double dose.
Since I’m forever driving somewhere or on the go, I use cereal bars, too, but less than 22 grams at a time.
So I call it modified Bernstein.