The two extremes: Bernstein or Cousens - can someone explain

I am newly diagnosed, initial diagnose of diabetes in spring an last week I was diagnosed with Type 1.5. I read as much as I could about diet and found these two approaches. Reading the books they both made sense and they both seem to have their followers and successes.

I have tried both for a little while and they both seem to work, although I have to say that with the raw diet, my fasting BC dropped way more than with Dr. Bernstein's diet. I would love to hear what people think and how best to decide which one works. I travel a lot for work and Bernstein's diet is of course easier to follow when on the road, as there is always steak and salad and eggs for b'fast.. I don't see myself traveling with a blender and a box of greens as G. Cousens recommends...but I love vegetables more than I love meat...

any thoughts would be appreciated...

I follow Dr Bernstein. The main message from him I get is that I will not control blood sugars let alone normalize my blood sugars with a high carbo diet as a diabetic. Eating high carbs will give you terrible control whether T-2 or T-1 or other form of diabetic and moreover you will eventually end up with huge diabetic problems in the end, or as he calls it the law of small numbers.

Yes he dismisses the majority of dietieicans and the ADA out there. He is monastic in his diet but the results for he and his patients speak for themselves.

Having said that I have added some very small amount of carbs. As a T-2 I know what I can tolerate and my pancreas can handle and cant. I am in the low 5’s now with my A1-c but dont know if I ever will achieve a 4.5 A1C. I am working on it though.

I agree with you that Bernsteins diet is easier to work with when traveling as you can normally get something on the menu that will work

I am wondering whether a mix might work… eggs, meat, cheese and lots of raw veggies. That will result in a higher carb intake than what Dr. Bernstein advocates though… any thoughts?

T2 modified Bernstein here. I don’t carb as low as Dr. B suggests, but I get it as low as I can without going nuts from monotony.

I have done that Silverhill, just eat to your meter and write down your numbers to see how much rise you get in your BG readings. You can weigh your amounts of what you eat to get even more precise as to what works for you. All of our bodies respond differently so some people can get by with slightly different amounts.

Just as a reminder for all readers: diets of any form will just help to prevent the spiking after meals for T1.5 diabetics. T1.5 will always lead to full grown T1 and the diet will not prevent this from happening (I am sorry to say that). It can be argued that low carbing will remove stress from the insulin producing beta-cells. On the other hand the human body has a certain need for insulin whether we eat carbs or not. To cover these needs will put some stress on the beta-cells. Thus I would recommend to combine a low carbing lifestyle with a basal insulin. This way the beta-cells will just have to work to cover the spiking of the blood glucose after meals and the basal insulin will cover the basic needs. I would expect that this combination will preserve the beta-cells much longer than diet alone - leading to a longer so called honeymoon phase. The right moment for this switch might be tricky though - and yes it is frustrating so I end with a warm welcome to TuDiabetes.

You are one smart gal, you will figure this out for yourself. There is nothing wrong with veggies, or a vegetarian diet or eating raw, but this stuff will not “cure” your diabetes. Look carefully at the good Dr. Cousens. He is supported by animal rights, I question the motives behind the diet and movie. He is not educated or certified to provide any of this advice. I believe he has lost his license to practice in CA and was investigated in the death of one of his patients. And of most concern, the diet and practice that he advocates is supported by basically no science, and that is even less than what the ADA has.

If you look at Dr. B, you find the opposite. A man standing up in the middle of established science, a respected voice even if many disagree with him. He is a diabetic himself, very well educated, licensed and keeps up with the latest research. His diet is supported by science (even more than the ADA diet). And there are many people that have followed his advice for years with success. This is the man that brought us self monitored blood sugars, the basal bolus regime and to a great degree the “low carb diet” approach to diabetic diets.

Now that being said, eating raw will often improve the condition of the diabetic. But why? Well, it is actually a starvation diet with a lower carb profile than the Standard American Diet (SAD). In fact, Elliot Joslin advocated a starvation diet before the discovery of insulin. The thing is, humans have adapted and no longer have the gut to process raw foods. There is a good discussion of this in the book Catching Fire. Beware any short term advantage on a “raw” diet, you may find that the starvation catches up with you, your hair falls out and you suffer from serious health problems due to malnutrition.

There are certainly reasons to factor in other principles (besides health) in choosing what you eat. Whether it be concern over animals, sustainability, localvore issues etc. But don’t lose sight of a key priority, your health and I don’t think it is right to sacrifice your health for these other factors. There are people here who choose vegetarian diets and it works for them and I respect their choices. As I said, you are one smart gal, you will figure this out for yourself.

I’d agree that Bernstein and Cousens are both extreme, but IMHO they are at the same end of the spectrum of militant low-carbing.

When you’re choosing how to treat your diabetes, you honestly do not have to choose the extremes.

I’ve seen some of the Cousens propaganda and IMHO he doesn’t have a very good grasp on Type 1 diabetes. (e.g. his claim that his diet can cure Type 1 diabetes, is, well, FRAUD out-and-out. Hope he sues me for saying so but he’s a FRAUD and his claims could kill a T1 diabetic.). Bernstein has a better grasp on what T1 means.

Dr. B is a type 1 diabetic. I have never heard of the other guy.

I don’t trust either of them and the nightmares I’ve heard reported over the news and few forums just make me put Dr. B into the same category as all other diet fads on the market … not a lifestyle that one can live with for life in general.

But that is not to say that you can’t read the info and then following what ever guidelines between you and your dietitian figure out what will work best for you and your care.

I follow the Canadian Food Guide modified by the CDA and I’m still working to find out the rights and wrongs, but one thing I do know is one diabetic is not like another, that what works for one might or might not work well or at all for another diabetic, add in any other medical condition into the mix and it blows the standards out of the water of what is right and what might well be wrong.

So from my point of view its called, find what works for you stick with it and adjust as you need to along the road of life.

My son is T1 and I might have been T2 in a few years… been reading and doing the Bernstein for myself… went from some highs for a “non-diabetic” to hanging in the 80-90s now… at one point I was up to 189 after eating…I freaked! So… .maybe if I keep this up I am preventing T2 in my future… for my son…I am just trying to set an example… he now loves scrambled egg beaters…when he wouldn’t try them before… I did “cheat” a little bit over vacation but not much and am losing weight like crazy now!!! I am feeling satisfied w/ the diet and sometimes…I eat even less carbs than Bernstein allows… I love love love meat and cheeses so it is easy for me. I also found that curry in eggs is YUM!!! also curry is an anti-inflamitory and my joints are feeling great! Good luck on what ever works best for you!

Yes - I agree totally with you there as well Nyxks. Tho’ many people think I follow a low carb diet (usually no more then 80 grams a day) - but it works for me. Again, whatever your body feels comfortable with is the most important thing. Thanks for the tip about Dr. Cousens - never heard of him - but Dr. B - I know alot about - as I have a few D friends who follow him religiously - and maintain A1C’s that are4.0-4.5 range and their blood sugars do not range out of 100 mg/dl zone (this is done with constant BG monitoring / injecting). Something I’m not interesting in doing - as I’m a slightly lazy cow - I’m happy between 5.0 - 6.0 myself for my A1C level.
Good luck Silverhill :slight_smile: