Many participants at TuD today weren’t around for the previous iterations of the low carb debate. During the last large contentious arguments about the merits of low carb eating, especially the Bernstein variety, I was primarily a lurker. The intensity of those exchanges kept me on the sidelines but glued me to the ongoing discussion. I learned a lot during that conflict.
The argument that stuck with me was actually a compromise position that made a lot of sense to me. That argument stated that you didn’t have to adopt the Bernstein 30 gram daily limit, 6 for breakfast, 12 for lunch, and 12 for dinner, to reap some of the benefits that he espoused. They said, “take the ideas that are attractive to you and leave the rest.” The argument that low carbing was not an all or nothing proposition finally persuaded me to give it a try. I started my personal carb limits not at the Bernstein 30 grams but at the more reachable to me, 100 grams. That evolved naturally down to my current 50 gram per day limit. My limit is flexible, though.
What I did learn and believe to this day is that diabetes, all types, is a disease of carbohydrate intolerance. Each of us has a threshold that when pushed beyond we start to lose control. For some that threshold is low, for others it is higher. If you are physically very active every day, you can naturally ingest more carbs and not lose control. If you are more recently diagnosed and still have some significant remnants of pancreas function then you can eat a higher threshold of carbs. We are not all the same that way. This threshold variability, however, does not mean that this threshold doesn’t exist.
I get the skepticism that some express when exposed to the Bernstein devotees. The enthusiastic embrace of all things Bernstein borders on cultish. I will assure you, however, that the people who follow Bernstein, are not members of a cult. They are sane, rational, intelligent people that have chosen a different path of many here. They’ve made the deal with diabetes that each of us makes every day and they’re happy with the deal they’ve struck.
It’s a complicated discussion and I respect everyone’s position. We each make our own choices. Our bets are very serious because it’s our own health or the health of a loved one that hangs in the balance. And the vagaries of fate do not insure that we’ll have better outcomes. We accept that some people with great control will get complications and some with terrible control will never be burdened with a complication. Life is risky and not fair!
We should not feel threatened with the choices of fellow travelers on this path of diabetes. We should extend an empathic hand where we can because it’s good for those that need it as well as the helper. Peace.