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The life story of Dr. Richard Bernstein
November 16, 2020 / Nutrition / Beginner / Child / Type 1 / Type 2

The life story of Dr. Richard Bernstein

11 min read

A series about the pioneer of a new approach to diabetes – part 1

Dr.  Richard K. Bernstein is a legend in the diabetic community.  He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes more than seven decades ago, devised an approach to measuring blood sugar at home, developed a diabetes management program based on the philosophy “everyone deserves normal blood sugar“, and then became an endocrinologist himself to others took it more seriously.

His diet rules are based on low carbs, high protein and moderate fats.  The so-called LCHP principle (low carb, high protein).


 He recommends this approach because it significantly increases the chances of achieving normal blood sugar levels.  Under normal levels, Richard Bernstein considers only blood sugar levels that are in the same range as in healthy people.  He disagrees with the thesis that looser criteria are acceptable for diabetics.  He expects blood sugar values ​​from his patients in the range of 3.9 – 5.5 mmol / l.

At a time when the “dark age” of diabetes was being discussed, in 1946, Richard Bernstein was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12.  He had to test his urine sugar using a test tube heated above a flame, and sterilize needles and glass syringes every day by boiling.

In his book Dr.  Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution 2011, available on Amazon.com explains how he didn’t manage his sugars well at the time.  Fat was then considered the main culprit of poor health, so a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet was recommended.  During the first two decades of his life with diabetes, his development was slowed down, and almost all organs soon began to suffer from the effects of chronically high blood sugar.  Unfortunately, already as a young man he experienced serious complications caused by the disease.  Fortunately, blood glucose meters have just begun to be available to diabetics themselves:

 “In October 1969, Bernstein came across an advertisement in Lab World magazine for a glucometer that reads blood sugar levels within a minute based on one drop of blood.  The device was intended for the staff of the emergency service in hospitals so that they could recognize diabetics – alcoholics.  It weighed about 1.4 kg, cost $ 650 and was only available to licensed doctors and hospitals.  Bernstein, thanks to his determination to take control of his health, asked his wife, a doctor, to order one such glucometer for him.


 Taking into account inflation, today the price of such a device would be around 35.000 kn (4.000€)!  Bernstein experimented with his glucometer, to find out why his blood sugar levels were rising and falling.  The cause of complications in diabetics is high blood sugar levels that should be avoided, as well as fluctuations in blood sugar levels.  If people with diabetes were to maintain as normal a blood sugar level as possible, consistently, they could prevent, if not cure, the consequences that arise.

Having personally experienced complications, Bernstein knew how much this could help diabetics.  After being able to fine-tune his blood sugar check, diet, and exercise, he experienced normalized blood sugar and many of his complications significantly improved or disappeared.


 Bernstein presented to the medical community this astonishing information that could change the lives of sick people.  It was the early 1970s.  The medical community did not accept his ideas, and many even rejected them completely.

Bernstein still felt compelled to share this news with diabetics and after years of waiting for the medical community to change his mind about what he had discovered, at age 45 he decided to quit his engineering job and enroll in medical school.  In that way, he could publish his discoveries in professional journals and gain the attention of medics.

 In 1983, he became a physician with his own practice and finally began personally helping diabetics achieve the most normal blood sugar levels possible by monitoring their blood sugar levels themselves, practicing a low-carbohydrate diet, and exercising.

End of the first part.

Downloaded, translated and adapted from several sources:



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