Who's doing the Dr. Bernstein diet?

We are trying it but my son (5) is NOT loving it! He misses his toast in the morning! Any advice, tips or tricks, or just your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

I personally feel that Dr. Bernstein’s diet is too extreme for a 5 year old child.

Hi Tracy,
The total number of true diabetics in my immediate family is three. But out of our 8 grandchildren we are especially watching our seven year old. Since there are a number of diabetics in our whole family we occasionally run a blood sugar on all of our granchildren. (with their parents consent)
Anyway to cut this short we have changed his diet to the Bernstein diet more or less. He loves his toast also, so we give him a slice of 12 grain toast with peanut butter on it in the mornings. This has solved the problems for us about the toast. We also make sure he gets some low carb ice cream as a dessert after his dinner and we have to get creative for his school lunches when he is here. I don’t know if you can get Blue Bunny ice cream where you live, but they make great low carb ice cream on a stick as well as in the carton. And I bake low carb muffins that I give him in a trade off.sometimes. It is really hard not to give them some things so long as it isn’t a lot. I really keep his carb level down, but don’t restrict him as much as I do myself. My type 1 son also restricts his daughter’s (11 years old) carb intake. She is gluten intolerant, but not diabetic yet. He does the same thing with her as we do with the 7 year old, very restricted, but not as much as his low carb intake. It is really important, I think to get the grains in them. And I find it easier when I do the low carb baking. It is just a lot more work. Please keep in mind that neither of our two grandkids are diabetic yet. We believe they are pre-diabetic. I sure hope this helps.

I forgot. There are also great tasting low carb pancakes you can make and Smuckers and Log Cabin both make a great tasting sugar free syrup. These are also a great trade off for toast. I can give you recipes if you would like. And once made you can keep them in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer longer. Then you can pull them out whenever you need them.

Tracy I am familiar with the Bernstein diet and have been following it since July of last year. Yes it is restrictive, however, to use it at such an early age would have the advantage of preserving the beta cells of your son as much as possible. If you’ll check in his book, the website associated with his book is listed. On that website is a recipe section which lists meals,breads, pancakes, muffins, & ice cream, etc. that are all low-carb, and contributed by the members. All fit within the 6-12-12 plan. In most cases the specific carb content is shown, some also with protein etc.

I have lived with this condition for 57 years & regret I only heard of him last year.

My best to you and you family.

"… keep in mind that neither of our two grandkids are diabetic yet. "
So what is the purpose of restricting carbs? They have a genetic pre-disposition to become Type 1 diabetics, and restricting carbs won’t affect their chances of an autoimmune attack destroying the beta cells.

There are several (many) active participants on the Diabetes forum at HealingWell.com who use or are knowledgable about the Bernstein diet.

Hi Mark,
I am sorry I didn’t explain better about the two grandchildren I talked about above. Both of these two kids have problems with taking in very many carbs. When they do, they have an extreme response from their pancreas that puts out a very great deal of insulin and makes them crash very low with their blood sugars. They each become very hypoglycemic. They have to be brought out of it very slowly. The pediatrician says he believes it is that the pancreas is in the process of being destroyed, there fore he says they are prediabetic. When we keep them very low carb they do very well. We also make sure they get a lot of exercize to help use up the carbs they take in. It is our understanding that the attack has already begun. we are simply trying to prolong things as long as possible. And also to keep from making anymore terrifying trips to the hospital. So far everything the pediatrician told us has worked out the way he said it would. .He also told us that at any given time the pancreas would stop to produce insulin for them and we have to keep an eye on their blood sugars for that reason.

wow, thanx everybody. to landileigh, i did say we are TRYING to follow it, meaning we are reducing carbs in general and enjoying a variety of foods.

this is in contrast to when he was diagnosed almost 2 years ago, when we were told to stuff him with carbs to match his insulin! imagine trying to force a type 1 child to eat his whole sandwich, crust and all when he was not hungry, just to avoid a low! his team still advise this (!!) but obviously we have learned threw trial and error that this doesn’t work!!!

now carbs are the smallest part of the meal and we are making substitutions like the mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes (he loves cauliflower) and spaghetti squash instead of pasta - yum! the law of small numbers definitely seems to be working for us :slight_smile: but don’t worry, he will still be allowed a piece of cake at a birthday party or a candy or two at halloween!

also with the toast thing, he always spikes by 10 am if he eats toast or cereal for breakfast, his two favourite things! yes it’s whole grain, with pb, and we have adjusted and adjusted ratios, basals, the whole shebang. but we are working on that too :wink:

Saundra, a low carb pancake recipe would be great, thanks! especially since we just got a waffle maker for christmas!!

I don’t do the Bernstein diet but I eat very low carb and I sprout many different foods. I find that I can eat whole grains and some pulses (peas and lentils) if I sprout them and eat them raw. That way I am getting all the nutrients without the spike in my blood sugar.

Thats interesting. It sounds like a fair amount of beta cells have already been lost. Enough to weaken that phase one insulin response and cause reactive lows. Have you considered injecting small amounts of insulin at mealtimes? It would reduce the extent of those post-prandial spikes, and it would minimise the reactive lows too.

Thanks Mark,
I will definitely mention this to the parents of both kids. Right now anything is worth a try. They are doing well with the low carb diets, but we all know tnis won’t last.

Hi Tracy,
Here is a pancake recipe. I have an almond pancake and waffle mix that you can make up and just use the amount you want at a time and also a couple of web sites you can order some easy baking mixes that are unusually good. too. I also have a recipe for some S’mores, that with a soop of ice cream you don’t even want the real ones again These are kind of long and if you want I can e-mail you with them or I can write them down and mail them to you if you want. My e-mail address is katsan1733@yahoo.com
Perfect Protein Pancakes
2 eggs, 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup of vanilla flavored whey protien powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking powdeer, 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Whisk together the eggs, and ricotta until quite smooth. Whisk in the protein powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix only until well combined. Drop batter onto griddle with a tablespoon. Cook until bubbles on the surface break and stay open. flip and cook other side. Makes about 14 silver dollar size pancakes, each with about 0.6 grams of carbs, no fiber and 2.5 grams of protein.
I usually double or triple the batch. And if you make even more you can freeze them until you want them.
Ground almonds and ground pecans added to other thngs also make a great “flour” meal to use for baking.


Get yourself over to http://www.lowcarbfriends.com or http://forum.lowcarber.org and check out their recipes and tips and tricks.

I ate a Bernstein diet for six years but it was only possible after I learned a lot of things, like making “mashed potatoes” out of cauliflower and pancakes, and even rolls and cookies out of low carb items.

Dana Carpender’s recipe book is another great resource full of ideas that will help you. You can buy it on Amazon.

I couldn’t get a decent diagnosis all that time because my fasting bg was normal but eating anything with carbs would put me in the high 200s, so I had no choice but to eat that way. Eventually I found a doctor who gave me insulin which gave me more choices, but I still can’t eat a lot of carbs.

I think 5 years is too young. I do like Sandra’s comments

Try textured vegetable protein as a “cereal.” Just make sure it’s crunchy by keeping it in the oven or some other dry place. Then add low-carb milk (Calorie Countdown) and some sweetener, and your son may accept it as a cereal.

For “toast” see if he’ll eat the GG crispbreads with peanut butter on them.

Hi Tracy,
I wanted to add a couple of things that I call “Grandma” ideas, but they seem to work. Our 7 year old is very very thin so I try my best to get as much protein and calories in him and yet not overload him. When a whole apple is too much for his blood sugar, I slice it and give him half One day when he was insisting he wanted a peanut butter sandwich for lunch (after having a slice of toast for breakfast) i suggested we make a “dip” for his apple. It was nothing more than peanut butter to dip the slices into, but the word “dip” was magic. We spread a quilt on the floor for a picnic and he got to use the cookie cutters for the meat and cheese. I am careful about the meats we use because of the hidden sugars and nitrates in the deli meats. I usually get freshly roasted turkey and sliced cheeses and they slice them thin enough so that he can get the cookie cutters through them just fine. I do also give him hot dogs from time to time. And we use the reduced sugar ketchup which tastes pretty good. When he helps with the preparation I think he actually eats better. I also give him “chocolate” milk which is actually a low carb whey protein powder mixed with milk in between meals when he has been running and playing a lot. I know this is an added carb, but his little tummy only holds so much for a meal. Also if you are going to give him some fruit like frozen strawberries for pancakes with a dollop of whipped cream set his serving aside and sweeten it separately. Don’t sweeten the whole package and then give him his from that. He will get less sweetener if you do his separately. And if you give him “chocolate chip” pancakes by breaking up a bar of sugar free chocolate remember to give him only a portion of the bar. His little tummy at age 5 may get too much of a laxative effect from the sugar free chocolate if you let him have too much of it. It usually works out best to put some whipped cream on there and sprinkle a few chocolate pieces on. You probably already know all these things, but maybe somethng may be of help.


Maybe you can try some recipes from http://www.carb-lite.au.com/. They also provide the nutrition values for each recipe.

I tried the Bernstein diet a few years back, but found it too restrictive. It did give me great predictable blood sugar readings and and I lost some weight as well.

I’m back on the diet now for a week after re-reading his book. I think it’s all about mindset and approach. I’m now at the point where I don’t care about starchy foods nearly as much as getting my A1C back to a respectable number. It’s been a good blood sugar week to say the least.

On the other hand, to get your 5 year old son to adopt Dr. Bernstein’s philosophy may be challenging. Chances are your son is more interested in being a kid rather than adhering to a super restricted diet. I have to agree with some of the other posts…5 years old is too young for Bernstein.