Dr. Bernstein vs. the ADA

Talk about your controversial subjects! I discovered a message thread on the dLife Message Board on the topic: “dr. bernstein vs the ada – whom do you believe?” that’s been raging since Jan. 23! To date, there are 65 posts (and counting) covering 7 pages of post thread. Some of them are long enough to hit a second page as a Word document. (I know, ‘cause I tried it: can you say, “Diabetic Internet Geek”?)

The topic, of course, is Dr. Richard Bernstein’s philosophy of ultra-low carb eating for diabetics — no more than 6 grams of carbs for breakfast and 12 each for lunch and dinner –- versus the ADA’s nutritional advice, recommending considerably more carbs.

To view the online debate, go to the dlife Message Board and select the “Introduce Yourself” area, then browse the topics to find it. ( I just added my two cents.)

The main antagonist, “walterj” likens the Bernstein method to anorexia (due to lack of life-supporting carbohydrates) and calls it “a desperate way of eating for equally desperate people.” He and others maintain that cutting carbs to such a low level causes serious health risks.

The Bernstein supporters -– including dLife’s own CEO Howard Steinberg — come out in force, claiming that his method has changed their life, helps them eliminate a number of health problems, and achieve consistent premeal BG levels of 80-100 and 2-hr postmeals of 85-120, along with A1C’s in the neighborhood of 5.5 (!)

Adversary walterj decries the “invasion of the heavy-hitters” from Dr. Bernstein’s site, and calls these devotees a “cult,” to which they do not take kindly.

There is also interesting discussion of Dr. Atkins and whether he followed his own diet. (Hmmph?!)

My take? Being on the skinny side myself, I simply do not feel well without a steady influx of carbs coming in. This makes my diabetes trickier to manage, for sure, but I feel I need the carbs to keep my energy up.

Fascinating stuff! And also proof that the dLife Message Boards are gaining ground as an alternative to the ADA’s, since many posting here voiced their disgust with certain practices of the ADA and are clearly looking for an alternative place to build their online community.

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9 Responses

  1. Living With Diabetes
    Living With Diabetes April 18, 2005 at 4:11 pm | | Reply

    Dr. Bernstein vs. the ADA

    Personally I’m more on the Dr. Bernstein side than the ADA. Diabetes Mine: Dr. Bernstein vs. the ADA I’m a big fan of Bernstein, and he has helped me tremedously. However, I find eating his way very difficult. On the…

  2. Nick
    Nick April 18, 2005 at 4:24 pm | | Reply

    By following the diet and exercise guidelines outlined in Dr. Bernstein’s book, I feel my blood sugar is much closer to my target–normal–range. My blood sugars are more stable now, and I have more energy and feel much better.

  3. John
    John April 18, 2005 at 7:37 pm | | Reply

    I have t2 diabetes and I have done a marathon while on Bernstein. My FBG is at 78 and my 2 hour PP is around 92. You will find that you can function quite nicely, full of energy, and feel great on 12g of carbs once your body adjusts to the new levels. I do not carboload before any running races, including the marathon… it’s simply unnecessary.

  4. Rich
    Rich April 19, 2005 at 5:07 am | | Reply

    Having D. for last 25 years and being under really good control per my Dr’s 6.5 or under
    hba1c. I have to say that I belive that Dr
    Bernstein has nothing but my deepest gratitude on this diet and program. My stomach concerns have left I no longer have a constant desire for carb’s my weight has dropped 12 lbs my eye site has improved over the course of the last four months. I now hardly ever have low’s perhaps 2 per week and my highs seldom exceed 200 if they do it is usually my mis bolus. This is the first time in a long time that I feel I have the chance to live to a old age and not die of diabetic complications I.E. a hypoglycemic event or complications from highs streched over years all I can say is
    Thank You Dr Bernstein

  5. Marcus
    Marcus April 19, 2005 at 5:10 am | | Reply

    “This makes my diabetes trickier to manage, for sure, but I feel I need the carbs to keep my energy up.”

    Bingo. I’m not sure why there are so many extremists out there. I do consume less carbs because it’s easier to control the diabetes, but there’s no need for them to be that low… I have 20g with breakfast every day and my pump handles it like clockwork.

    “In all things, moderation.” – Ben Franklin

  6. Jo
    Jo April 19, 2005 at 5:31 am | | Reply

    I have been using low carbing to keep my BSs in control (which anyone that reads my blog knows I’m not in total control yet), but the more “bad” carbs, the worse I feel. I haven’t hit the “major” number of carbs yet, but I too feel you have to have some to keep your energy up, and each person is different. What works for Amy may not work for me, but we all have to find out sweet spot, with carbs, or whatever.

  7. ThePef
    ThePef April 20, 2005 at 8:23 am | | Reply

    I have to side with Amy on this one. I find it hard to understand how a body can properly function on the lack of something that is described as a fuel.

    I admit that my carb intake is significantly below what it used to be. I try not to take in more than 20g at any one sitting, and I bounce. But I think that is a consequence of being on Lantus more than anything.

    I have found a great difference between my bodies ability to breakdown carbs associated with items like fruit, and even candy, as opposed to carbs contained in bread products, or potatoes.

    I don’t seem to have a problem with the former, but the starch based carbs present longer term negative affects.

  8. Nick
    Nick June 17, 2005 at 1:21 pm | | Reply

    Carbohydrates are not essential. Our bodies are like engines that run on four different fuels:
    (1) alcohol
    (2) carbohydrates
    (3) fats
    (4) protein
    I cut out the carbs a la Bernstein. I eat a great deal of fatty meats and cheese and cream.
    My favorite this time of year is rapidly becoming grilled bratwursts washed down with low-carb beer, and some cheesecake pudding for dessert.

  9. DJC
    DJC February 1, 2006 at 10:51 pm | | Reply

    I have been reading about Dr. Denise Faustman’s cure of the diabetic mice. She used the BCG injection which increased the natural TNF-alpha in the mice. This increased level of TNF-alpha apparently killed off the white cells that were attacking the beta cells. Then, her second step was to “retrain” the T cells to stop attacking the beta cells. She apparently accomplished this by supplying the white cells with a piece of protein. I guess this “fixed” the white cells, so that they would no longer iform the T cells to attack the beta cells. Is there someone out there who has biochemistry training who could explain this more clearly to me? I cannot figure out what the peptide or protein is, that corrected the white cells. Thank you. DJC

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