Dr Richard Bernstein and 'Diabetes Solution'

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Type 1 diabetics have traditionally been advised to have a diet high in carbohydrates and to use their insulin injections to keep their blood sugars under control. However frequently blood sugar control is poor with large fluctuations and high HbA1c levels.

For some time now, especially following the publication of Dr Richard Bernstein’s book Diabetes Solution, there has been a small but rapidly growing Facebook group mainly comprising of parents of children with Type 1 diabetes called TypeOneGrit. These people use a low carb diet to improve control of blood glucose levels and to lower the required dose of insulin.

This week in the medical journal Pediatrics a study was published which looked at the blood sugar control of a group of people from the TypeOneGrit group – 316 in all of whom 130 were children. The study was not a randomized controlled trial, but rather an observational trial which is not as rigorous. The most striking finding of the new report was that HbA1C levels, on average, fell from 7.15 percent, in the diabetic range, to 5.67 percent, which is normal.

The New York Times article below gives a good summary of the paper here.

Richard Bernstein has an interesting story. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1946 at the age of 12. In 1969, after following diabetes guidelines for more than twenty years, Richard had many of the debilitating complications of the disease. Sick and tired of being at the mercy of his disease, he obtained one of the early blood glucose meters. He discovered that he could normalize his blood glucose through diet, exercise and medication.

When the then-engineer Richard Bernstein tried to persuade the medical community that he had found the answer, the medical community roundly ignored him—even told him that it was impossible. So, in his mid-forties, he decided to leave his successful career in business and go to medical school.

He then wrote his book Diabetes Solution in 1997 and it has had a massive impact on thousands of diabetics around the word. Bernstein has now been living with his diabetes for 72 years, possibly longer than any diabetic in the world. He is still going strong.