Is anyone doing Dr. Bernstein diet?

According to Dr. B we should restrict carbs to 30 gm carbs daily, 6 at breakfast and 12 each for lunch and dinner. With snacks maybe 42-45 daily. I’ve been following guidelines for 2 days and BG is controlled, however, I feel weak and hungry, probably going through carb withdrawal.

What are your experiences/thoughts about this diet plan? Thanks!

What a crak-pot … had to do a paper on him for a diabetic class a while back … talk about a joker 30 grams max of carbs, ya right don’t think so - that isn’t even close enough for what the brain need to function and be healthy! 30 grams max at a meal fine, with 15 grams for snacks works well enough for many type twos, not all but many.

My mom was diabetic for 25 years and she had average of 200 grams of carbs a day - she isn’t considered to be diabetic anymore … after 25 years of watching what she ate and everything her numbers are now normal.

Thanks for the quick response – I think I’ll go have a cup of Food for Life cereal so I don’t pass out :slight_smile:

Hi Cynthia,

This issue has been discussed many times before, and most of the people familiar with Dr. Bernstein’s book will vouch for the efficacy and value of his advice. Please don’t pay attention to people like Nyxks who don’t really add anything to the discussion. You can also read up reviews of his book on

Here’s are a few threads which I found that discusses this issue on this site:

All the best!

Thanks for the links, John, very informative discussions. I’m also interested in dual wave bolusing. Have you seen detailed instructions on that in the archives? Thanks!


Glad that you followed read the threads I linked. A few dual-wave discussions can be found in the following threads:

Good luck!

yes , thank you John for the links. But I just want to write that I read Dr Bernstein, I try to follow but I can’t live with 30g of carbs/a day. So I think we can adjust. Now I eat 30 g of carbs at meals and it’s well for I. Before my Endo told me to eat 120g of carbs each meal and I was so high after meal!!! Now my A1C is at 7,1 %. I’m an old type 1.

Nice try Nyxks, but it’s gonna take more than a little name calling to debunk one of the greatest diabetic thinkers of our time.

I try to restrict my meal carbs to 30g daily but go over on the snacks of 42-45 daily. For example, my fasting bs = 123 this morning at 7:24am. So I ate 1/4 cup of Post Raision Bran cereal with a splash of milk for breakfast. A serving size of 1 cup cereal contains 46g carbs plus 8g dietry fiber. After I walk for 45 minutes or do yardwork or housework and my bs comes down, I’ll have 1/2 apple or pear with a tablespoon or two of peanut butter. Later but before lunch at 1pm, I’ll need an additional snack of 1/2 container low carb yogurt with 2T flaxseed. So I try to follow Dr. Bernstein diet of restricting carbs but I need additional snacks or I’d feel weak and fatigued. I’m wondering if maybe I need more B-12 for energy as I’ve been on Metformin for the past three months.

I have a friend who follow Dr. B’s way of living religiously to a T. To the point that she’s injecting every 1/2 hour with small increments of insulin (she uses 4 types of insulin) - testing her BG’s every hour. She manages to attain a constant BG of 80 mg/dl by doing this. Now, she doesn’t follow the 30g of carbs - she said that’s abit difficult, but the result is that her A1C’s are 5.1%. Her goal is to get to 4.9%. My only worry is, that she does have lows, which is often what happens when you are trying to attain “perfection” - this means she cannot drive long distance (e.g. over an hour is difficult for her). She becomes fatigued easily (she has difficulties walking/standing for long). I worry sometimes that maybe her wish to attain perfection of BG’s to what a nondiabetic has is maybe ruining her quality of life - but that is my opinion.
I mean, maybe for her she will live an extra 6 months on our big blue marble, but for myself, knowing that I wasn’t a slave to what I can eat is fine for me. She always tells me fruit is evil - and that it’s either her kidneys or watermelon. Not sure if this is a quote from Dr. B - but heck - a slice of watermelon can’t be that evil for a diabetic’s BG’s if eaten in moderation. Moderation is the big factor in how I control my BG’s/diabetes, and it can be applied to nondiabetics as well.
I just know that I try to eat less carbs (average 30g per meal), use the combo bolus (wave) option in my Animas pump for most of my meals, try to attain a BG between 80-120 mg/dl.
Anna from Montreal - aka FatCatAnna - The Trials and Tribulations of a Diabetic

I found that a low carb diet made a huge difference in my blood sugar control. While I am not currently at the 6-12-12, I have followed a low carb diet over a several years and you have to realize that your body goes through a dramatic shift when you low carb. Most people live on an energy system driven by carbs and glucose. As you shift to a very low carb diet, your body makes adaptations to burn fat and is in ketosis for much of the time. This is perfectly normal, but in the first week or two it can drive you crazy as your body adapts. This is the so called ‘Atkins Flu.’ You feel tired, sleepy, groggy, irritable. It is less about withdrawal and more about waiting for your body to wake up and generate ketones. Many people find that after two weeks, you start to have normal energy and the symptoms are gone.

Hang in there. You will feel better. Although Dr. B does not discuss this “break-in” period, it is well know in the low carb/Atkins community.

I don’t follow Dr. Bernstein’s diet, but I learned more about diabetes from reading his book than almost any other. I consider him to have some of the best advice on how to live a long and healthy life with diabetes. I read and re-read his book and some day, I hope to get my act together and follow his lifestyle (more than just a diet!).

Also, we should add that Dr. Bernstein has type 1 diabetes. The extreme low carb diet may not be necessary for all people with diabetes.

But what Dr. Bernstein shows is that it is possible to have NORMAL blood sugars and that should be all of our goal. I tried the Bernstein plan and I had normal blood sugars for a week. That low carb of a diet is the only way that I can achieve that.

What works for one, might not work for all.

My usual is 90-115 mg/dl. I do 20-25 gms per meal. Even at 25 I find my bs going over 185 at one hour past eating when I have given my insulin 20 min. ahead. And if I give another unit of Humalog, it goes to 140 but drops me too low at 2 hours. 1 unit drops me 50 mg/dl. I lost weight at 6-12-12. My present 20-25 keeps my weight. I have LOTS of energy for running stairs, walking plenty. I do snacks of 5-10 between meals, but not at night unless my bs hasn’t come down. Then I have an algorithm for 5, 6, 7.5 and 10 gm, how high it’ll take me and how much insulin to take so I don’t go low during the night. And so I don’t have to think about it. All computer generated for myself. I think we all settle on some amount that works for us. I have no complications and have lost the joint-ones I had. I learned more from Dr. Bernstein’s book than from any other. It gave me a start.

I’ve been following Dr. B’s guidelines for about 1.5 years with great control. I’m Type 1.

As a former carb junkie, I’ve never felt better. I’m never hungry or lacking energy. In fact, I feel better than I have in years. My lipid profile is nearly perfect now, too. Yes, & this is eating a fairly high fat diet. I honestly believe that Dr. B’s recommendations saved my life.

If you’re feeling weak & hungry, you need more protein & can try slowly adding more protein to meals. Protein has staying power because it digests slowly. I had no carb withdrawal feelings, so afraid I can’t help you there. Soon as I stopped the carb overload, carb cravings went away with no lingering adverse effects. Gone are the days when I felt like going sleep after eating from too many carbs.

To respond to Nyxks’ comment, that is dead wrong. About 58% of ingested protein (amino acids) turns to glucose, so the brain would never be starved for carbs. In addition, dietary protein is not the only source of amino acids. Blood contains amino acids at all times from tissues breaking down & being built up constantly. The liver converts those amino acids into sugar. Fat also converts to glucose, at much slower rate.

It’s utter nonsense that the brain needs excess carbs to function. Dr. Bernstein is hardly a “joker” or a “crack pot.” He’s a brilliant pioneer who has fought hard his whole professional life to establish healthy guidelines for PWD. He does believe we should strive for as near normal BG as possible when others say an A1c under 7 is good, or good enough.

For anyone trying to lose weight, low carb is the best way. My husband now eats lower carb, though not as restrictive as I. He lost 35 lbs., kept it off & swears he never had more energy.

am I " the different one " ??..type 1 for almost 27 years , no side effects …and eat about 180 grams of carbs daily( summer time ) , weigh in at a steady 137 pounds , 5.7 ft in height , am into my seventy’s ( too soon :wink: , av. under 22 u of insulin and move my bod regularly . Hope I fit into this discussion ?..I wish everyone on TU would eat our home grown spuds .

Nel, you are a wonder!

Another big YES for Berstein. I thought his book has been the best available at explaining what is really happening with Diabetes (versus the conventional wisdom which I found to be crippling.) It has helped me navigate through all the rest of the cr*p that is out there. While I do not follow the 6-12-12 religiously - or much at all right now - I am aware of what the best options are to maintain my health.

His book has been a big influence in helping me set guidelines for how I eat. I try to find things that have the lowest carbs possible. (anything over 15 per serving is questionable; 20 carbs per serving is out of the question.) And then I enjoy these foods, eating so until I am full. I am still a bit new at this. When diagnosed my A1C was 13.7. The last one was 5.9, obtained by loosely following the Berstein diet.

My goal is to tweek this and follow his plan more closely. Right now I need to gain weight so I am deviating in order to put the pounds on.

The fact that he is Type 1 and has been for 60+ (???) years gives him tremendous clout in my view.

His ideas about diet are considered controversial, but so were his ideas about each PWD having a personal meter to test regularly! And now we all do it mulitple times a day. Pulease. I think that his critics are just trying to shoot the messenger because he’s “radical” rather than actually considering what he is actually promoting.

Dr. B has been an outspoken critic of the ADA & other conservative groups. These organizations & their big pharm funders are aware of what he advocates & attempt to discredit him. Never easy being a lone voice up against institutionalized conventional beliefs.

Christina, try adding more protein to gain weight. That’s what I had to do because I eat low carb. I use protein powder (unflavored whey isolate protein powder & hemp protein powder) to make shakes & add to baking & soups.

Hi Cynthia -

The weakness and hunger will pass!! Yes, it is withdrawal. The BEST thing about low-low carb is NO HUNGER!! Hang in there.

I’m about 90-95% Bernstein - with Jenny Ruhl’s wisdom thrown in (her web site and her book).

I started out 1 year ago with an A1c of 8.9% - it has come steadily down and last week, my A1c was 5.4% !!!


Sorry - there are a lot of “crak-pots” who lurk but have no clue.