The book every diabetic should read

The book every diabetic should read

I am convinced from my personal experience, from the experiences of my patients, and from reading the scientific literature, that people with normal blood sugars do not develop the long-term complications of diabetes.

Dr Bernstein

Dr Bernstein is my hero. I was lucky enough to come across his book The Diabetes Solution when I was newly diagnosed. It advocates normal blood sugars for diabetics by following a very low carbohydrate diet. At the time I was carb counting, or trying to match the grams of carbohydrates in my meals with larger insulin doses. It was hit and miss, even though I was eating a low carbohydrate diet (120g/day) I would often spike above 10mmol/l (180 mg/dl). This happened especially after breakfast.

Following Dr Bernstein’s approach you eat a maximum of 30g of carbohydrates a day, and derive your glucose from protein instead. You dose with regular insulin, rather than fast-acting. This approach stops post-meal spikes and gives you normal blood sugar levels. Dr Bernstein sets a target value of 5 mmol/l (90 mg/dl) for his type 1 patients, and non-diabetic HbA1c goals below 37 mmol/mol (5.5%).

I’ve read a lot of books on diabetes, and this is the only one that goes in depth on diet. To contrast the International Book of Diabetes, a massive tome with more than 1200 pages, dedicates a full seven pages to diet. Dr Bernstein lays down a road map for how to get your blood sugar levels under control, with a section on low carbohydrate recipes. He also covers how to manage other aspects of your diabetes, such as sick days and insulin injections.

Whats interesting about Dr Bernstein, who’s now in his eighties, is that he’s a type 1 diabetic himself. He suffered complications while following the standard high carbohydrate diet many doctors recommend. An engineer at the time, he became a doctor himself to get the medical community to take him seriously.

Since then he’s helped many people. The book opens up with testimonials from his patients. There’s the Type One Grit community, who follow his approach, with great results. A study conducted last year into a sample group showed they had a mean HbA1c of 5.7%. The average HbA1c for type 1 diabetics in the US is way above that at 8.2%

If you’re diabetic should read this book. Then you can make an informed decision on if you want to follow the DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating) route or go low carbohydrate. For me this way of eating has been a complete game changer. It’s allowed me to come off the blood sugar roller coaster I was on, with the horrible mood swings that go with it. My latest HbA1c is 32 mmol/mmol (5.1%), and there is no way I could have done it without this book. Thank you so much, Dr Bernstein.

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