What diabetes books actually made a difference in the way you managed your health? We asked our community that very question, and we got a ton of responses. We thought we’d share the answers with you.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month, but you know what? If you’re reading this, you’re probably already very aware of diabetes. Let’s make this month about us and how we can live our best lives. So this year, we decided that we’re going to concentrate on tips and advice to help you thrive. And to do so, we’re leaning on our greatest resource: you. The Diabetes Daily forums and Facebook page are full of helpful smart people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. There’s someone who’s been through everything, and they’re usually ready to help.
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These are the five books that made the biggest difference for Diabetes Daily readers:
By far the most recommended book — no other title was even close. Many members of the Diabetes Daily community attribute their success to what they learned in this book.
Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars
The author, who has had type 1 diabetes himself since 1946, is a towering figure in the diabetes community. Today, Dr. B (as he is fondly called) is best known for the high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet that he recommends. His book has all the details on how and why strict carbohydrate restriction makes it so easy to get your blood sugars into a healthy range.
The severe low-carb approach isn’t for everyone, and we know that some members of our community are sick and tired of hearing about it. But for those frustrated with blood sugar levels that are tough to control, the book offers a game plan that has proven effective time and time again.
To be sure, Bernstein’s knowledge and influence goes far beyond low-carb eating — back in the 1970s and 80s, he was the single loudest advocate of blood sugar self-monitoring and intensive use of mealtime insulin, a diabetes management philosophy that would eventually become universally accepted. He was probably the first person on planet earth to regularly test his blood sugar at home, and in 1993, when the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) definitively proved that intensive blood sugar management was best, the New York Times published the following headline: “Vindication for a Diabetes Expert.”
Dr. B’s tome is a master class in living with diabetes — it contains extremely detailed advice on subjects such as insulin use, how to cope with illness, and gastroparesis. It’s now somewhat out of date (last updated in 2011, before the rise of CGMs or Ozempic), but remains a treasure trove of virtuoso diabetes knowledge and advice.
Adam Brown is not a doctor or diabetes expert, he’s just a guy living with type 1 diabetes who is trying to do his best. The power of his book — subtitled “The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Given Me” — is that it is brilliantly concise and practical. It’s like having a wise and sympathetic friend to show you the ropes.
Bright Spots & Landmines
This may be the best resource for people that are ready to improve their diabetes management, but aren’t ready for the extreme detail offered by authors like Bernstein and Scheiner. Brown doesn’t require you to adhere to strict eating plans, he just dispenses good advice that will immediately seem like good common sense.
Brown’s indispensable book is available for free as a PDF or e-book, or “name your own price” — the money will support the DiaTribe Foundation.
Another highly detailed guide to diabetes management written by a person living with type 1 diabetes. Scheiner, a diabetes educator who has written previously for Diabetes Daily, dives deep into the details of insulin usage. This book is for people with diabetes that are eager to get better at changing their own insulin dosing strategies by themselves. If you’re not sure how to adjust your basal rate or correction factor, this book is a great place to start.
Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes with Insulin
Think Like a Pancreas was last updated in 2012, which means it won’t have much to say about the newest tools at our disposal, including continuous glucose monitors, ultra-rapid insulins, or closed-loop pump systems. But it still has a lot of wisdom for those of us who like to keep managing our blood sugar old school.
Dr. Jason Fung, a nephrologist, is best known for his belief in the power of intermittent fasting. He advocates for a healthy low-carb diet — no sugar, few carbs, mostly whole and unprocessed foods — punctuated with regular extended fasting periods. Spending 12 or more hours between meals helps cut calories, and may deliver other metabolic improvements, such as improved insulin sensitivity.
(Diabetes authorities have decided, by the way, that we’re not really supposed to use the word “reversal” anymore.)
The Diabetes Code: Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally
Fung is a slightly controversial figure that makes some questionable claims. An even-handed review in the journal Clinical Diabetes decided that Fung’s recommended diet plan might be “welcome and useful” for some patients, but that his book contained assertions that were both “highly contentious” and “clearly untrue.” And a leading researcher into intermediate fasting told Diabetes Daily that Fung is “recommending some really dangerous stuff,” like long-term fasts.
Nevertheless, many people with diabetes have benefited from the book, and there’s little doubt that a diet free of sugar and processed starches can help people with every type of diabetes.
Inchauspe, a French biochemist, initially made a splash on social media by sharing her CGM graphs after meals. Inchauspe does not have diabetes, which makes her kind of “control” in an experiment, an example of what seems to happen to the glucose levels of a person with a healthy normal metabolism. And her data clearly showed that her own blood sugar levels were still affected significantly by what she ate.
Glucose Revolution: The Life-Changing Power of Balancing Your Blood Sugar
We all know by now that carbs lead to blood sugar rises, but Inchauspe is most interested in how the details of ingredients and meals affect the results. How different are brown rice and white rice, really? If you eat a salad before your pasta, does that slow down the blood sugar rise? How much does going for a walk after dessert help? Does apple cider vinegar do anything?
In Glucose Revolution, Inchauspe meshes her personal experience with a reading of the scientific literature, and offers tricks and hacks to help keep your blood sugar levels steady. She’s also tried all the latest food health trends, so if you want to know how your body is likely to handle chia seeds or oat milk matcha lattes, this is a good place to turn.