Richard K. Bernstein found out he had Type 1 diabetes at age 12 and over the years, he began to self-manage the disease. Though his method has not been approved by the ADA, he says it works.
He advocates an Atkins-like very low carbohydrate diet, constant monitoring of the blood sugar throughout the day, and the use of small doses of different types of insulin given at the times of day when blood sugar is highest.
He says it's very important to have good communication with your doctor, lose weight and exercise regularly.
Monitor Blood Sugars
Bernstein says, "We can keep blood sugars normal around the clock. I introduced blood sugars self-monitoring - where patients measure their own blood sugars about 30, 35 years ago and it was very much opposed by the ADA. It's now done commonly, but it's not recommended for what's called Type 2 diabetes, the maturity onset diabetes. Yet, it's essential for that type of diabetes also because without knowing what your blood sugar is after a meal or at other times of the day, you don't know what to do about it."
Bernstein notes how often diabetics should monitor their blood sugar depends on the type they have. "But, for most, we would measure on arising, before each meal, at bedtime and before driving a car."
Limit Carbohydrate Intake
Another important part of his method is to limit the carbohydrate intake. Bernstein says, "Everyone knows, carbohydrates are made up from building blocks of glucose, sugar. And they raise blood sugar very rapidly, depending upon the kind of carbohydrate, so starchy carbohydrates, sweets, fruit, things like that, will rapidly raise blood sugar faster than any medication that we know of can bring it down. For the past 35 years, I've been eating protein foods plus low carbohydrate vegetables."
And Bernstein points out by consuming less carbohydrates, you will have an easier time losing weight, which the ADA advises diabetics to do.
Bernstein says, "By cutting carbohydrates, you can lose substantial amounts of weight and if you're 100 pounds overweight, you can lose that if you reduce the dietary carbohydrate, whereas, if you eat an ADA diet with lots of carbohydrates, you're going to have a terrible time losing weight."
His method also includes using different insulins at different times of the day.
He explains, "For people who require insulin - I don't mix insulins like the ADA recommends. We use each insulin for a different purpose. Fast-acting insulin before a meal, a long-acting insulin to cover you in between meals."
Bernstein is well-known and respected in the diabetic world, although his methods have not been adopted by the ADA. The doctor controlled his own Type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent) by normalizing his blood sugars through a lot of activities.