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Dr. Bernstein – The Revolution of Diabetic Nutrition and Self-Control – Part 2
November 16, 2020 / Nutrition / Beginner / Child / Pregnant women / Type 1 / Type 2

Dr. Bernstein – The Revolution of Diabetic Nutrition and Self-Control – Part 2

15 min read

A series about a pioneer of a different approach to diabetes

The old and wrong healthy eating pyramid

 When you have diabetes, it is very likely that you also received dietary instructions from your doctor.  The usual guidelines contain information that your diet should contain about 55% carbohydrates, in other words, the diet of people with diabetes should be based mostly on carbohydrates.  Your doctors didn’t invent it, so large amounts of carbohydrates (i.e. complex sugars) are truly compatible with the old official guidelines of the American Diabetes Federation that many have copied.


Richard K. Bernstein, who was born in 1934 in New York City, has been suffering from diabetes since he was twelve and is still alive.  Such a long and very fulfilling life expectancy is not at all common for a person with diabetes.  Something special is needed for such success.  In the beginning, like most diabetics, he lived as a “regular diabetic” for more than twenty years, following the classic dietary guidelines with high amounts of carbohydrates.  Despite perseverance in implementing everything he learned about diabetic self-control, diabetic complications began to intensify and many organs slowly perished.

In 1969, Bernstein came across an advertisement for a sugar measuring apparatus that used one drop of blood.  Such braces were a complete unknown until then.  With his new, modern toy, Bernstein began measuring sugar about five times a day and realized he had huge oscillations throughout the day.  He soon increased the number of insulin injections from one to more (so-called intensified insulin therapy), and began to monitor the food he ate.  He soon focused primarily on monitoring his daily carbohydrate intake.  In the meantime, he also came across scientific studies on animals that proved that diabetic complications can be corrected by normalizing blood sugar.

 Refining his diet and insulin injections, after many years, Bernstein began to feel a remission of chronic fatigue and complications.  He felt new energy, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels finally returned to normal.  Bernstein soon became one of the first advocates of self-control by frequently measuring blood sugar which met with tremendous resistance from doctors at the time who considered themselves only competent to measure and interpret blood sugar values.  It was common practice at the time for a diabetic to see a doctor once a week to have his blood sugar measured.

Dr.  Bernstein turned 82 in 2016 and greatly exceeded the life expectancy of type 1 diabetics. He attributes his longevity to a low-carbohydrate diet and other recommendations he developed for diabetics.  Given the life expectancy of a diabetic who has far surpassed, not only in life expectancy, but also in its quality since there are no complications, it is logical to expect that this is a rather radical lifestyle for our notions.


Some of Bernstein’s guidelines:

  •  Very small amounts of carbohydrates that allow excellent control of blood sugar, specifically: 7.5 grams for breakfast, 15 grams for lunch, and 15 grams for dinner
  •  Complete avoidance of foods with added sugar, flour, dough, potatoes, rice, fruits, etc.
  •  Recommended foods are those that have the least or no effect on the growth of blood glucose, such as: fish, meat, green vegetables, fats, mushrooms, eggs, fermented cheese, butter etc.
  • Measuring blood sugar up to 8 -12 times a day
  •  Normalization of body weight and daily physical activity

 In addition to leading diabetic practice, Bernstein is the director emeritus of the Peripheral Vascular Disease Clinic at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and the author of several professional books and papers on diabetes.  One of his best books is The Complete Diabetes Solution, available at www.Amazon.com.  It is the most complete diabetic guide that describes in detail many aspects of living with diabetes, with special emphasis on diet, therapy, and complications.  At least one Croatian diabetologist from Vuk Vrhovec has read the book and his reaction is excellent.

Despite the incredible results and longevity achieved by Bernstein and his patients, conventional medicine is very slowly adopting its principles, but shifts are still being noticed.  Even the American Diabetes Association has eliminated such large amounts of carbohydrates from its official guidelines, but they have already written politically that the amounts of carbohydrates should be adjusted to individual needs.  It’s far from Bernstein’s reality, but it’s still a step in the right direction.

A recent Harvard discoveries about forged scientific work in which the food industry switched the brunt from sugars to fats with the help of bribed scientists will also contribute to change the opinions of deep-rooted attitudes and prejudices. As a group, the most advanced are probably the Canadian doctors, because of the recent unimaginable initiative that was signed by almost 2000 of them. Read the details HERE.

Regardless of all the studies and teachings of all experts, a person with diabetes is obliged to research, try and find for themselves the optimal ways to control blood sugar.  For a diabetic, it is a matter of life and death and for a doctor, it is a matter of career.  Optimal control is not only HbA1c below 7 mmol / l but, blood sugar throughout the day below 7 mmol / l with a minimum number of hypoglycemia.  And it’s not impossible as it seems, perhaps just with the help of the guidance and teachings of Dr. Bernstein who is a remarkable pioneer in this field.

End of the second part.

Davor Skeledzija Read more posts by this author
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