Dr. Bernstein

How to Find YOUR Protein Requirements

diaVerge Dr. Richard Bernstein Protein

Dr. Bernstein's plan is higher protein and lower fat than the most Keto meal plans.

For diabetes management, I've found Dr. Bernstein's macros to be better suited than high-fat-moderate-protein Keto.  

High fat works well for initial weight loss and the transition to low carb, but our bodies often adapt to it, creating insulin resistance and weight gain as a result, particularly in pre-menopausal women. 

Dr. Bernstein's plan is NOT high fat.

It is moderate, healthy fat and higher protein.

There are 'rules' for recommended protein consumption and we'll go into those below:

For the rest of you who want easy calculations, I recommend using the Ketogains Calculator, which will calculate your ideal macros (carbs, protein, fat consumption) based on your weight, estimated body fat and weight loss/muscle-building goals. 

Then use the Ketogains macros with your online food tracker to make sure you're consuming the proper amount of carbs-protein- fat. 

I do not recommend tracking your foods forever, but until you get into a routine, this is the best way to stay on track and learn from your reduced carb intake. 

To learn the background information and related calculations of Dr. Richard K. Bernstein's protein recommendation, keep reading here:


"The average non-pregnant, sedentary adult with an ideal body weight of 150 lbs/68 kg  required about 11.5 oz/326g of quality protein food (ie. 69 grams of pure protein) daily to prevent protein malnutrition" - Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution book, p. 203

The calculation that you can use for this can get a bit complicated: 

Most physically active adults will require 1-1.2 grams of protein per kilo of ideal body weight.  

Athletes and children require more.  Children should never be deprived of protein and it should be provided to satiety. 

You can use this online calculator to calculate your ideal body weight.

I'll go through a few examples:

I'm 165 lbs/75 kilos and moderately active. My IDEAL body weight is a bit less, so I'll choose 70 kilo as my ideal body weight.  

70 kilos x 1.2 grams of protein = 84 grams of protein MINIMUM per day for me.  

(Just for reference, I target approximately 100g protein per day)


90 lb /41 kilo child, protein consumption would be much greater.  2g-2.5g protein per kilo of body weight may be required, but possibly much more depending on growth, hunger and activity level. 

40 kilo x 2g  protein = 80 grams of protein minimum per day. 


240 lb/109 kilo sedentary adult whose ideal body weight is 190 lbs/86 kilo. 

86 kilo x 1.0 g protein = 86 grams of protein minimum per day.


Now if you've been paying attention, you'll have noticed that those protein amounts are very similar between three different weights and activity levels. The difference is the protein amount per kilo of body weight for each example. 

Mine, moderately active, was 1.2 grams protein per kilo of ideal body weight. 

The active and growing child was 2.0 grams of protein (or MORE-- potentially up to 6g carbs during puberty) per kilo of CURRENT body weight. 

The overweight, sedentary adult was 1.0 grams per kilo of ideal body weight.

Your calculation for protein consumption:  

(For a conversion from pounds, type your weight into google for a conversion. ie:  "170 lbs to kilo" or multiply your weight in lbs x 0.454 to get kilos.) 

Current weight in kilos: ___________________

Ideal weight in kilos: _______________________

Protein per kilo based on activity level: ______________________________

Child/athlete = 2 - 2.5 (or more!)

Active adult = 1.2

Sedentary adult= 1

Now take the second two numbers above and add them to the following: 

Ideal weight (kilos) _____________ x _____________ protein per activity level =

________________ grams protein per day MINIMUM

Did you catch all of that? No worries if you didn't! 

This is a HUGE section of the plan and is something that you'll have to go over again to find your ideal levels. 

*Protein may have to be adjusted up or down to ensure that you're full enough but not stuffed. 

The next step in this E.D. YOU series is how to adjust your food intake for weight loss/weight gain.

If you need additional help with this, I cover protein requirements in-depth in both of my online courses, Real Life Low Carb intro to LCHP, and Plan Your Plate Meal Planning Bootcamp.

REAL LIFE LOW CARB Online Course Launch!

Want to improve your diabetes management? Curious about low carb methods for diabetes? Maybe you're eating LC but not achieving the blood sugar results you'd like. Join our “Real Life Low Carb” online course! You'll get a supportive community, tons of useful, real life information, along with videos, coaching, and an ebook workbook. Join us today!

Ideal Treatment of Hypoglycemia - Plus Alternatives

There is no denying that pure glucose or dextrose (the crystalline form of glucose) is by far the fastest and most accurate way to treat a low blood sugar level.

Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution book states: 

"Glucose, the sugar of blood sugar, does not have to be digested or converted in the liver to anything else. Unlike other sweets, it's absorbed into the blood directly thought the mucous membranes of the stomach and gut. Furthermore...we can compute precisely how much a fixed amount of glucose will raise blood sugar." Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution book  (2011) p. 339

Glucose tablets are portable, measurable, predictable and fast-Acting. It's the ideal combination. 

But they lack one important criterion: readily available. 

In my experience living on three continents within the last two years and working with people all over the world, I've learned that glucose tablets are not frequently available outside of the USA and Canada. In North America, we seem to assume that the same goods are available everywhere. They're not.

Glucose tablets are nearly impossible to find in some places of the world or so exorbitantly priced that they're out of reach of many. 

So while not ideal, we do what we have to do. 

As an alternative to glucose tablets, you can use 'Dr. Bernstein Approved' candy similar to 'Smarties" in the USA.

smarties+candy photo.jpeg

(Please note, these are different than Smarties in Europe).  Dr. Bernstein also recommends 'Bottle caps" or SweeTARTS candies (or similar) as alternatives and lists these on page 343 of Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution book. These small candies often contain nearly 100% glucose/dextrose and similar candies can be found in many countries.

Smarties nutrition.jpg

Avoid any candy with a sugary shell such as Skittles, M&M's, Rocklets and many others, particularly chocolates, as these will be digested much slower due to the waxes and fats contained.

You also want to avoid treating a low blood sugar level with food or beverages. Food is not measurable, predictable or fast acting. When treating hypoglycemia with food, we usually end up eating far too much (defeating the Law of Small Numbers) before the symptoms of our low blood sugar are alleviated and as a result, creating a rebound-high. 



Another approved alternative is glucose/dextrose powder which is normally more accessible than tablets.

Glucose powder and/or Dextrose granules are a great way to treat a low blood sugar level at home. You can measure the appropriate amount of powder/granules to treat your blood sugar level and mix with water to drink. Alternately, if you want to create a great chemistry experiment, you can attempt to make your own glucose tablets at home.

I've also tried powdered glucose packets available at some pharmacies that recommend pouring into the mouth directly. I DO NOT RECOMMEND these, nor do I recommend pouring ANY powdered glucose directly into your mouth because of the probability of aspirating (breathing in) the powder. Been there. Done that. Not fun. 

Out of all of the options, the most accessible thing that I've found worldwide is sugar... 

And I wrote about it here while living in Argentina for 5 years. While table sugar is not ideal because of the fructose/glucose combination which slightly slows the absorption, it's available in small packets which meets the requirements of portable, measurable, readily available and fast-acting (although as I mentioned, slightly slower than pure glucose). 

Is TABLE sugar ideal to treat a low? No

Will it work? Yes

There are many tips and tricks to diabetes management-- which is obvious by the sheer size of Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution book. We always want to remember the Law of Small Numbers and in the treatment of hypoglycemia, the key requirements of small, measurable, predictable corrections.  

But I will never be a purist about glucose tablets. Glucose tablets are amazing and I highly recommend glucose tablets if you have access to them. 

But if you can't get glucose tablets, look for the approved alternatives listed above.

Then there are other alternatives, like sugar, that I see as the lesser of all the other evils. 

I will never say that glucose is the ONLY way to effectively treat a low blood sugar level because I've been there for years - without any access to glucose tablets - and using what I could to keep the corrections small, measurable and predictable.

We all do what we have to do. 

For more information on Hypoglycemia and the Treatment of Lows (including a chart on how to calculate your corrections based on body weight) click the red link to the diaVerge article. 

If you're interested in making a change to low carb and don't know where to start, or have questions or challenges following the plan, we'd love to help you improve your diabetes management and quality of life. Click here for more information about diaVerge Diabetes Wellness Coaching. 

If you still haven't read Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution book or want to buy another copy as a gift to your doctor or a friend, click the link to buy it on Amazon. 

Low Carb Diabetes Influencers

Low Carb Diabetes Influencers

These people are dedicated to spreading knowledge about low carb for diabetes management. They work tirelessly as doctors, nurses, professors, researchers and community-builders. Thank you to each of these people, and the many more who are not listed here, for your work as a "Low Carb Diabetes Influencer."

Let Food Be Thy Medicine

We've been told by advertisers that we're too busy to cook fresh meals. We've believed that convenience foods are in our best interest. We've been tricked. Large food corporations are funding our medical organizations with sponsorships. What happens if we DON't buy into that? What can we do instead?  

Dr. Bernstein Interview Part 3 - Family, Autoimmunity & Our Continuing Battle

In the third and final part of of our interview with Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, we discuss the autoimmune issues that he and his family experience, his view of the "low carb battle" we are waging and the interview wraps up with his favorite and most dramatic subject. 

An Overview of Dr Bernstein's Plan for Diabetes

There are many recommendations for the management of diabetes but low carb eating, along with modern medicine, is the best treatment to avoid long term diabetic complications. Listed here are at-a glance tips from Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution, to help maintain your best possible health with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. 

Low Carb Profile Week 1: Susanne

Low Carb Profile Week 1: Susanne

For each of the next 6 weeks, we'll feature an interview with a person with Type 1 Diabetes who follows Dr. Bernstein's plan for low carb eating and diabetes management.  We're asking their diabetic history, their thoughts/feelings about eating low carb, and what changes they've seen in their lives since switching how they eat.