Book Review: Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, newly revised and updated

The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars,  R. K. Bernstein, MD.  2007  www.HachetteBooks.com.

Review by Wm Olkowski, PhD

This was the clincher for me to go to a low carbo diet.  The heart attack helped, but after reading Taubes I knew the low fat hypothesis was the wrong way for me.  Like alcoholics, we were addicted to sugars from added sucrose in our coffee and teas, fructose from honey, sucrose in candy bars, etc, and glucose from pasta, potatoes, rice and other grain products of all sorts.  We were following the USDA pyramid with some added sugars we excused, because of our high activity levels. We resolved more than three times to clean our diet and our bodies from sugars of all sorts, starting with our storage closet in the kitchen.  I kept finding more hidden jars of jams, jellies, preserves etc.  Just like an alcoholic hides a bottle as insurance, we did the same with our sugar sources.  Start reading the labels and try, just try to eat fewer than 10 grams of sugars from the foods you normally eat.  Fewer sugar calories will not kill you, but chronic ingestion of sugars (from any source) will lead to diabetes, a slow painful and debilitating death.  Diabetes is a precursor to many other maladies, certainly cardiovascular problems like stroke and heart disease.

That’s my conclusion now, but reading Dr. Bernstein’s story just gave me the clinical data I needed.  Bernstein was born with Diabetes I, with a poorly functioning pancreas that normally leads to death in youth.  His history starts back when insulin was first discovered and needed to be injected in large amounts.  This lead to lumps wherever it was injected.  He used this old system to make his way through college, gaining an engineering degree.  After graduation he got a job with a medical device company, which had just received early models of the glucose meter. This excited him to learn to use these devices to manage his own diabetes, which is a most interesting story, particularly if you are a diabetic now.  He describes his methods in detail.  And they go against the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommendations.

However, the next part of the story is even more interesting.  Although he had managed his own diabetes with the new device, he could not interest MDs.  They didn’t believe patients could or should have a role to play in managing their conditions.  He became so frustrated he went back to school and got an MD degree and now is a highly respected practitioner, specializing in diabetes.  This story reinforces a view of a most power-holding, fossilized, money grubbing, medical profession (except for pioneers like Bernstein).

His approach to managing type II diabetes is to minimize eating glucose-containing foods.  Then, at the worst, one has only to use insulin as a supplement, if at all.  This goes against ADA and AMA advice.  His chapter on carbohydrates alone is worth the cost of the book, as few other health food books go to this depth.  But there is much more in this book, so that I reread it periodically and always find new stuff about supplements and exercise, for example.

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