The Bernstein Diet

This post is part of our low-carb diet series and is being published as a service to our users. We do not endorse any particular diet plan. You and your healthcare team should work together to find the meal plan that works best for you.

 

Who is Dr. Bernstein?

Richard K. Bernstein MD was born in 1934. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1946. Insulin was available at this time, but this was still the stone ages of diabetes history. ⚔️ Think: no meters, only urine samples to determine blood in glucose and using stones (pebbles, rocks) to sharpen one’s needles. But by 1969, he got his hand’s on the first blood sugar meter. And everything changed.

Being the engineer he is, Dr. Bernstein was determined to solve his own diabetes dilemma: high blood sugars. He checked his BGs 5-8x daily (unheard of at the time), an extremely early adaptation of self-monitoring. He quickly saw a common denominator: carbs. And so, Bernstein began his self-proclaimed, self-monitored low-carb lifestyle.

The Bernstein Diet

Fast-forward, and Dr. Bernstein is still holding strong, well and good at age 83. He became his very own endo, still runs his private practice, and has published six books on all his diabetes findings. While many are quite opposed to Dr. Bernstein’s restrictive diet, others swear by it. So what’s it all about?

The Bernstein Diet (or lifestyle) isn’t about weight-loss (although, most people do experience significant weight loss on his plan). Rather, it aims to maintain stable blood sugar levels at all times. Bernstein caps one’s total daily carbs at 30 grams, broken down into 6g of carbs at breakfast, 12g at lunch, and 12g at dinner. This is not your typical LCHF diet. Rather, Bernstein takes the LCHP approach: low-carb, high protein. Fats consumed on the Bernstein diet will come via protein intake. Additionally, this way of eating eliminates all types of high glycemic index food items, including some vegetables. It’s kind of like the 1st phase of the Atkins diet, forever. Or, the ketogenic diet without the high-glycemic vegetables and more proteins than fat.

There are recipes to try (like the ones pictured below), and lots of eat this, not that lists readily available on Dr. Bernstein’s website, as well as a much more detailed synopsis of the science behind the diet.

Foods to Avoid

Here is a concise list of foods to avoid listed in Dr. Bernstein’s book, The Diabetes Solution. It’s pretty easy to remember, once you start using it.

Sweets and Sweeteners
• Powdered sweeteners (other than stevia)
• Candies, especially so-called sugar-free types
• Honey and fructose
• Most “diet” and “sugar-free” foods (except sugar-free Jell-O gelatin when the label doesn’t mention maltodextrin, and diet sodas that do not contain fruit juices or list other carbohydrate on the label)
• Desserts (except Jell-O gelatin without maltodextrin—no more than ½ cup per serving) and pastries: cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, et cetera
• Foods containing, as a significant ingredient, products whose names end in -ol or -ose (dextrose, glucose, lactose, mannitol, mannose, sorbitol, sucrose, xylitol, xylose, et cetera), except cellulose; also, corn syrup, molasses, maltodextrin, et cetera

Sweet or Starchy Vegetables
• Beans: chili beans, chickpeas, lima beans, lentils, sweet peas, et cetera (string beans, snow peas, and bell and chili peppers, which are mostly cellulose, are okay, as are limited amounts of many soybean products)
• Beets
• Carrots
• Corn
• Onions, except in small amounts
• Packaged creamed spinach containing flour
• Parsnips
• Potatoes
• Cooked tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and raw tomatoes except in small amounts
• Winter squash

Fruit and Juices
• All fruits (except avocados)
• All juices (including tomato and vegetable juices— except for some people, in a Bloody Mary)

Certain Dairy Products
• Milk
• Sweetened and low-fat yogurts
• Cottage cheese (except in very small amounts)
• Powdered milk substitutes and coffee lighteners
• Canned milk concentrate

Grains and Grain Products
• Wheat, rye, barley, corn, and lesser-known, “alternative” grains, such as kasha, quinoa, and sorghum
• White, brown, wild rice, or rice cakes
• Pasta
• Breakfast cereal
• Pancakes and waffles
• Bread, crackers, and other flour products

Prepared Foods
• Most commercially prepared soups
• Most packaged “health foods”
• Snack foods (virtually anything that comes wrapped in cellophane, including nuts)
• Balsamic vinegar (compared to wine vinegar, white vinegar, or cider vinegar, balsamic contains considerable sugar)

True Life: Living on the Bernstein Diet

It’s a niche group (given the diet’s extreme nature), but people love it. Dr. Bernstein is a phenomenal example of the diet’s potential, as he has successfully reversed complications of diabetes and is doing very well at 83 years old. Back in 1946, when Dr. Bernstein was diagnosed, the life expectancy for people with diabetes was less than 40 years.

We talked to One Dropper and avid Dr. Bernstein follower Abgr Xenda about how the diet plays a key role in his diabetes management. Diagnosed in 2011 with T1D, Abgr dealt with some extreme diabetes-related hospital visits. But after adopting Dr. Bernstein’s way of life, Abgr is not only a successful businessman, he is also an avid triathlete with consistently perfect blood sugars. Here’s what Abgr has to say about adapting Dr. Bernstein’s lifestyle:

“I found this WOE (way of eating) after my fourth hospital admission. It was the opposite of every doctor’s orders. I read it carefully, understood the science behind it, and it made sense to me immediately. So I applied it the very next day. And starting that next day after getting home from the hospital, this new WOE changed me into a different person entirely. I watched as my complications were reversed. Not only that, it activated the triathlon beast inside me. I was even able to run the ultra-marathon 240 KM in April 2017. I really recommend this WOE to all people, diabetic and non.”

The Keto Diet

This post is part of our low-carb diet series and is being published as a service to our users. We do not endorse any particular diet plan. You and your healthcare team should work together to find what meal plan works best for you.

 

Fill up on Fat

Lose fat by eating copious amounts of… fat? Makes no sense, right? But that’s exactly what the ketogenic (shortened to keto) diet proposes. Along with all the other low-carb diets we’ve been highlighting, the keto diet promotes a very low-carb lifestyle. But this low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) regimen takes things a few steps further: it encourages a very high-fat diet. Although there are no concrete rules to following keto, a typical diet would consist of a daily intake of 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% (or less) carbohydrates, give or take according to the plan being followed.

Lowdown

Keto’s been a thing for a while now — since the 1920s, to be exact. It has lots of ties to epilepsy treatment, and more recently has gained lots of traction among people with diabetes. Why? The benefits of keto mimic those of fasting. Odd, since there’s no fasting involved. Far from it, in fact!

When you’re loading up on bacon and butter, how does that equate to fasting, you might be asking yourself. On the ketogenic diet, fat is fuel. 🚀 The body runs entirely on its fat resources, meaning the need for insulin decreases dramatically and fat burning levels are on fire! This dynamic duo puts your body into the magical state of ketosis (not to be confused with DKA): an energy state created by the body in which fats are broken down to produce energy.

What’s the catch?

Keto, along with the other diets on our low-carb list, cuts carbs. The main difference, though, is that protein intake on this extreme LCHF diet is much lower than other low-carb diets. Cutting back on protein is an obvious challenge. And it definitely makes keto one of the more restrictive low-carb diets out there, if not the most. But as ketogenic enthusiasts will tell you, high levels of protein can turn into glucose, and catapult you out of your ketosis (you want to be in ketosis). While this lower-er protein intake does make the diet more restrictive, there are awesome alternatives out there, like this super cheesy, totally keto pepperoni pizza recipe.

Recap

Boost insulin sensitivity, burn fat, and keep blood sugar naturally stable. 🏆 Although the ketogenic diet is very restrictive, its followers rave about drastic weight loss and A1c results. Get more info on going keto from your One Drop | Expert! Then, talk to your doctor to see if keto could help you reach your diabetes management goals.

The Paleo Diet

This post is part of our low-carb diet series and is being published as a service to our users. We do not endorse any particular diet plan. You and your healthcare team should work together to find what meal plan works best for you.

We just took a look at the Atkins Diet. Now, we’re on to Paleo! What is it, what does it call for, what does it do? We tell all below.

Paleo 101

In a nutshell: the hunter-gatherer diet. Yep, this thing has been around since the dawn of time! The Paleolithic diet (shortened to Paleo), is exactly what it sounds like. The Paleo diet, founded by Loren Cordain, Ph.D., adheres to the concept of eating like a caveman: if a caveman didn’t eat it back in the day, neither should you.

What exactly did those cavemen eat?

Way back when, in the paleolithic era to be exact, most of the calories consumed by humans came from eating animals, including insects, amphibians, birds, eggs, fish and shellfish, small mammals and occasionally some larger. Depending on where you lived (closer or further away from the equator), you’d eat more plants and veggies in the warmer climates, or more meat in the colder ones.

What is this, a diet for ants?!

While our paleo ancestors definitely, probably did make apps out of ants, you will not catch us serving those up on any platter 🤮 Although the Paleo diet does take a more primitive approach to eating, it primarily calls on eating plants and animals. Our physical bodies have transformed over time so that anatomically, our modern-day digestive systems can’t quite handle the exact same meal plans of our ancestors. But simply put, the Paleo diet calls for us to eat the foods only available in pre-agricultural days. Meaning? Things like meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, or, only food items that can be hunted or gathered. What does that look like in a recipe? Like this absolute (and 100% paleo-friendly) deliciousness. 🤩 It can also look like the meal-plan guide below, published by The Paleo Diet.

What’s the point?

If we can’t eat just like our ancestors, then why follow a diet (or lifestyle) that’s contingent upon it? According to John Durant, author of The Paleo Manifesto, “it is about mimicking the effect of such a diet on the metabolism with foods available at the supermarket.” By rejecting grains (starches, sugar, processed foods) of all kinds and promoting whole, unprocessed foods, our bodies need less insulin, we have fewer blood sugar spikes, and maintaining weight and diabetes overall becomes much easier.

The Paleo diet is an extreme variation of the low-carb diet, but some people swear by it! While we don’t advocate for going Paleo one way or the other, it is an option. And one we thought you might want to know more about!

The Atkins Diet

This post is part of our diet series and is being published as a service to our users. We do not endorse any particular diet plan. You and your healthcare team should work together to find what meal plan works best for you.

Diet Dr. Atkins

The Atkins Diet is perhaps the most recognized of any low-carb diet. American physician and cardiologist Robert Atkins put his program on the map in the 1970s when he published his best-selling book, Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution. The diet promotes cutting all carbs and focusing primarily on proteins. The theory? The body needs fuel; by limiting the body of carb-fuel, it must turn to alternative fuel-sources like stored fat. The result? Pounds are shed and blood sugars remain intact. Plus, you can revel in meat-tastic recipes like these slow-roasted carnitas.  

The Gist

The Atkins Diet is broken down into 4 different phases:

In Phase 1, the Induction Phase, you’ll eat 20g of carbs or less each day for two weeks. This phase is the key 🔑 to kickstarting your fat burning metabolism. By significantly dropping your carb intake in this phase, your body shifts from burning primarily carbs to burning primarily fat.

✅ Acceptable Foods: veggies, proteins, healthy fats, cheeses, nuts, seeds

In Phase 2, the Balancing Phase, you’ll slowly start adding more foods back into your diet. Phase 2 is all about maintaining your momentum from the Induction phase and continuing the process of finding your personal carb balance. ⚖️

✅ Acceptable Foods: the above + berries, cherries, melon, whole milk, greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, legumes, tomato juice

In Phase 3, the Add-On Phase, you’ll continue adding more carbs to your diet, little by little. This stage is about fine-tuning your diet so you can eventually focus on maintaining your weight loss. This is the final stretch before maintaining lifelong Atkins low-carb #goals.

✅ Acceptable Foods: the above + additional fruits, starchy veggies, grains

In Phase 4, the Lifetime Maintenance Phase, you will reach your ‘goal’ weight, as well as transition to a permanent way of eating. This is not so much a ‘phase’ as it is an actual lifestyle. Adjust, tweak, and experiment as needed, while maintaining in-range blood sugars and goal weights!

✅ Acceptable Foods: all of the above

Get Started

Go for it! Run any questions by your One Drop | Expert or endo; otherwise, get started with your Atkins diet at any time at atkins.com. The crux: remember to avoid carbs above all else, and enjoy protein and fats until full. 😋

 

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Low-Carb: What is it and how can it help me?

It’s not all fat & games (but fat does play a role!)

You may have heard a thing or two recently about low-carb diets. More and more news articles are popping up online and on TV, both for and against, doing the low-carb thing. With so many different cooks in the kitchen, the low-carb thing can be confusing.

But low-carb diets are exactly what they say they are: diets low in carbohydrate intake. They limit foods with carbohydrates (like pasta, bread, cereal, rice, potatoes, crackers, chips) and, instead, promote foods high in protein and fat (like nuts, fish, eggs, meat, seeds, vegetables). Technically, that does mean more bacon and butter. 🥓 Who’s in?

Why all the carb fuss?

Because: blood sugar. It’s that simple. Carbs, as wonderfully delicious as they are, increase blood sugar when consumed. Carbohydrates, along with sugar, will have the biggest, and possibly most detrimental, affect on blood glucose. All carbs raise blood sugar in some form or fashion; upon consumption, they immediately break down into glucose in your bloodstream. And the more glucose we have in our bloodstream, the higher our blood glucose levels, the worse we feel, and the higher our risk for serious complications.

How does low-carb help with diabetes?

Low-carb can be beneficial to absolutely everyone. But for those of us living with diabetes specifically, a lifestyle low in carbohydrates can truly be a lifesaver. Going (and staying) low-carb keeps blood sugars significantly more in-range; it means less insulin required and eliminates the yo-yo-ing we so often experience when sugars rise after eating carbs and we over-correct (and then over-correct by eating too much to over-correct the initial over-correction!).

Once you really get started on low-carb, you will be amazed at how well you’re able to maintain steady blood glucose levels. Not only that, but you’ll find you’re less hungry (weight loss!), and you might even notice a increased feeling of overall well-being (fewer blood sugar swings = fewer mood swings!). It all goes so hand-in-hand.

And if all of the above is still not enough, check out a few low-carb study findings here, here, herehere, and here to see just how beneficial limiting carbs can be.

📢 PSST! Don’t miss the One Drop Guide to Carbohydrates for a detailed breakdown on carbs. 👇

One Drop Guide to Carbohydrates!

What are my options?

There are tons of different low-carb options out there, so find one that works for YOU! This is not a one-size-fits-all deal. It’s a find-what-works-for-you mentality! In the next few weeks, we’ll be giving you the rundown on:

Atkins Diet

Paleo Diet

Ketogenic Diet

Dr. Bernstein Diet

Low-Glycemic Diet

South Beach Diet

And, of course, before getting on any low-carb diet plan, be sure you talk to your healthcare team (or One Drop | Expert) to discuss a game plan. Then, let us know which one you decide and how it works for you!

RECIPE: 5-Step Fresh Cucumber Soup 💚

One of the healthiest foods in the world! Cucumber is a fruit with almost no sugar! So fresh and delicious. It’s packed with minerals and has magical hydrating power. Let’s celebrate freshness with cucumber and feel light and bright ☀️

Detox Cucumber Soup

We need a blender for this one.

But if you don’t have a blender, chopped herbs, cucumber, avocado and minced garlic with fresh lime juice and a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste may become one of your favorite salads or refreshing sides. The blended soup has creaminess, though…  hard to beat that.

Choose super fresh and, if possible, organic ingredients. It’s important because we are becoming one with the food we eat.

You will need:

Chopped Cucumber (Japanese cucumbers preferred) – 2 cups

Whole Garlic – 1 clove

Chopped Dill – 1 cup

Fresh Lime squeezed – 1

Avocado for the blend – 1/2

Sea Salt (Pink Himalayan Salt) – 1/4 tsp

You may want to replace or add some ingredients. For example you can use sea salt instead of pink salt, or olive oil instead of ghee.  Do you like spice? You may feel like adding fresh jalapeños, cayenne pepper or crushed red chiles — it’s 100% up to you and your taste buds!

Steps:

1 – Dice one cucumber and 1/2 avocado to add to blender

2 – Blend all into an amazing creaminess and put in a big bowl.

3 – Dice 1 cucumber and 1/2 avocado into small cubes and toss it in the tender green creaminess.

4 – Add your favorite extras! Experiment to add hints of different flavors. For example, you can add rosemary to the blend, decorate with basil leaves, try it with cilantro, use lemon juice instead of lime, replace avocado with pine nuts or just sprinkle them over the soup in the bowl.

5 – Use black, red, cayenne or any other pepper you like to finish off the dish – they are all great!

How to serve?

So many options!

Serve with:

♥ sliced avocado, tomato and red onion;

♥ a side of green salad; or

♥ sliced fresh cucumber.

Enjoy!

RECIPE: Creative Frittata (Because eggs are naturally low carb!)

This dish is a canvas—you can create your own with all the colors and flavors you want!

Some ingredients require more cooking time and some may be added for just a couple of minutes. Some may need to be precooked and some are good fresh. Sometimes you may feel like making a mellow comforting cheese and sour cream frittata or playing with textures and contrasts, creating brightness and intensity by combining rainbow of vegetables, herbs and spice!

Lets try one simple and fast creation as an example:

Fresh Dill and Goat Cheese Frittata!

You will need:

Eggs

Plain organic yogurt

Ghee (or olive oil)

Pink salt (or regular sea salt)

Goat cheese

Fresh dill (finely chopped)

You may want to replace or add some ingredients, for example you can use sea salt instead of pink salt, or olive oil instead of ghee.  Do you like spice? You may feel like adding fresh jalapeños, cayenne pepper or crushed red chiles — it’s 100% up to you and your tasted buds!

Steps:

1 – Beat the eggs with a few spoons of plain organic yogurt till mixed well and smooth (two eggs per person)

2 – Preheat your skillet on a medium fire (skillet should be hot enough for a drop of water to immediately evaporate)

3 – Put ghee on the hot skillet and let it melt, spread melted ghee over the bottom and the sides of the skillet

4 – Pour egg mixture on the skillet, distribute evenly by tilting the skillet gently

5 – Add a little bit of salt

6 – Crumble goat cheese over the eggs

7 – Sprinkle the eggs and cheese combination with chopped dill, add pepper if you would like.

8 – Cover your skillet and reduce fire to low

9 – The dish is going to be ready in minutes, stay close and touch the lid, when the lid is hot, check your frittata. It should look plump and eggs should not be runny. If there are places that look liquid use a wooden chopstick to make openings for the heat to reach the surface and cover again for a few seconds.

When ready, shake the skillet to separate the bottom and slide the dish on a large flat plate.

How to serve?

So many options!

Serve with:

♥ sliced avocado, tomato and red onion;

♥ a side of green salad; or

♥ sliced fresh cucumber.

OR

♥ Make yourself mini wraps by cutting the dish and wrapping each slice in lettuce!

Enjoy 😊

The Ultimate Meal Plan: Low-Carb & PWD-approved!

Meal plan (low carb, diabetes-friendly)

Boy, are we all in for a treat. One Drop | Expert Rachel Head CDE has put together a meal plan for us that is undeniably delicious and extra gentle on the BGs. These recipes will excite your taste buds, fill your belly, and keep those blood sugars where they belong. Does that sound like the ultimate meal plan to you?

I thought so.

Now, before we jump in to Rachel H’s top picks for a week of wonderful eats, let’s learn a little bit about what meal planning is…

What is meal planning?

Meal planning is taking the time to plan nutritious meals and snacks for a specified time period. According to Mayo Clinic, meal planning can help you lose weight and stick to a healthier diet. Your meal plan can last a week or more — just depends on how far in advance you’re willing to plan. (Personally, I like doing it weekly, since I go grocery shopping every Saturday morning and generally have a little time to plan on weekends.)

How do you meal plan?

It’s easy as 1-2-3!

Follow these 3 simple steps to set you up for meal planning success (courtesy of TheKitchn – kindred spirits who also like to meal plan on weekends!):

Plan on Friday: Look at the week ahead, assess your schedule and the nights you plan to cook at home, and then decide on the recipes you want to make.

Shop on Saturday: After you have a chance to scan your recipes, check the pantry and make a grocery list. Then head to the grocery store to shop for your meal plan.

Prep on Sunday: A Sunday prep session in the kitchen (even just 30 minutes), helps put your meal plan into action and makes weeknight cooking feel a little easier.

Ready to get started? Check out the link below!

Meal plan (low carb, diabetes-friendly)

Let us know what you think by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

 


 

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One Drop Guide to Carbohydrates!

Are carbohydrates the enemy? Before you stop eating carbs altogether, learn how they can fit into diabetes management.  Use our One Drop Guide to Carbohydrates to learn how our bodies process carbs, how they impact blood sugar levels, and what carbs are best to eat. Bon appétit!

One Drop Guide to Carbohydrates

One Drop Guide to Carbohydrates

 

For some amazing low carb recipes, check out our other posts:

40+ Mouth-Watering, Finger-Licking Low-Carb Foods

No Carbs, No Problem: Sushi, Sandwiches and More!