Helpful Books, Software, and Tools
Below you will find listed several books, apps, and gizmos that we recommend to supplement the information found on this site. If you know of other diabetes-related books, apps and other products that add value to the information on this site and which are in line with the philosophy expressed here, let us know. We are always open to your suggestions.
Note: This site is partially supported by associate fees paid by Amazon when you buy items on their site by following the links you will find on this page.
Books for All People with Diabetes
Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars by Richard K. Bernstein
Dr. Bernstein is most famous for his advocacy of a very low carb diet for blood sugar control, but the book covers a lot more than diet.
His advice on how to deal with hypos is the best I've seen anywhere.
His advice on how to use insulin is must reading for anyone with Type 2 whose doctor has given him or her a prescription and only the most rudimentary "education" in how to use insulin.
There's a lot here that explains why complications happen and why they don'thave to happen.
No matter how long you've had diabetes, I bet you will learn something worth knowing the first time you read this book.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes: A Guide for Children, Adolescents, Young Adults--and Their Caregivers, Third Edition by Ragnar Hanas, Stuart Brink, Jeff Hitchcock
Don't let the title fool you, this book will extremely helpful to anyone dealing with a recent diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. I learned a couple very helpful things from it that applied to my own diabetes, even though it isn't Type 1. The author uses CMGS data to show you common patterns of blood sugar fluctuation that result in confusing readings and has many helpful ideas for how to deal with early morning hypos and much more.
Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes with Insulin by Gary Scheiner, Barry Goldstein
I see this book recommended by people with Type 1 quite frequently.
Using Insulin, Everything You Need for Success With Insulin by John Walsh.
This is another book that people with Type 1 diabetes frequently recommend to others.
Type 2 Diabetes
The book version of this web site. Highly recommended by Dr. Bernstein and other reviewers.
A gentle but comprehensive introduction to managing Type 2 diabetes with some very good ideas about how to use your blood sugar meter to figure out what you can eat.
Books to Help You Cut Back on Your Carbs
Protein Power: The High-Protein/Low Carbohydrate Way to Lose Weight, Feel Fit, and Boost Your Health-in Just Weeks! by Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades
You'll find much more information in this book explaining how cutting back on carbohydrates affects your body and your health than you will in other more simplistic and hype-filled books like those of Atkins or The South Beach` Diet.
After you read this book, you'll understand more about how the carbs in your food affect you and what foods are more likely to give you normal blood sugars.
There's also good advice on what to eat when you are in restaurants and pages you can copy and use as a pocket guide to carb counting. Look for the cheap 1998 mass market paperback as it is all you need. They've published some expensive sequels that don't add anything really significant.
This is the cookbook most serious long-term low carbers recommend. Ms. Carpender originally self-published it before the "Low carb fad" of the early 2000s. The recipes, unlike those you will find in many other supposedly "low carb" recipe books are actually low in carbohydrates
AVOID Any Cookbook with the word "Diabetic" in the Title!
Sadly, the word "Diabetic" in a cook book title generally means "High carbohydrate/low fat recipes full of starch that will raise your blood sugars to scary levels, written by people who don't have diabetes." Most "diabetic" cookbooks feature a ton of pasta recipes because pasta will give you lovely blood sugar readings at 1 or 2 hours. Unfortunately, pasta may also give you extremely high blood sugar spikes at 4 of 5 hours after eating. But because nutritionists don't have diabetes and don't test their won blood sugar they don't know this.
Software to Help You Learn About What You Are Eating
The best way to learn about how much carbohydrate in your meals is to buy a food scale and then use software to learn what the actual carbohydrate count is in the foods you enjoy.
This is a free online service that many people use.
I haven't used CalorieKing myself, but it has been recommended by people I trust. It is shareware, and it runs on the Mac,operating system, too.
MyFitnessPal is the free computer and mobile app that appears to have the most fans. It has a huge food database and available in both a computer and mobile version .
The ability to take mobile apps with you everywhere you go is a big plus. There are many others that require a paid subscription that I have not evaluated. Try downloading a few that have free versions and test them out before springing for the paid version.
The best software whether computer or mobile based not only tells you what you are eating at a given meal but also keeps track of your total intake over a day, week, and month, while logging your weight from day to day and, ideally, your blood sugar from meal to meal so that you can figure out exactly what meals and daily intake provide the long term results you are looking for.
Software for Determining What to Eat
Nutritional calculators use your current weight, age, gender and other parameters to calculate how much you must eat to lose weight. Some will also tell you what mix of carbs, fat, and protein to eat each day. But after reviewing the calculators available on the web I found most of them to be based on an outdated formula that is now considered inaccurate. None suggested nutrient intakes in a way that would work for someone who was interested in cutting carbs the way we recommend on this site. So I wrote my own.
My calculator uses the most scientifically sound formulas to estimate how many calories you burn and provides the ability to estimate your metabolic rate using your body fat percent, not just your weight or BMI.
In addition, it will recommend the optimal mix of protein and fat you should eat each day based on the number of grams of carbohydrates you have decided to eat. It also tells you the minimum amount of protein you need to eat to avoid cannibalizing your own muscle and the maximum you should stay under to avoid stalling a low carb weight loss diet.
It embodies the single most important fact I learned when reviewing low carb diet research--that as carb intake rises you must lower your fat intake to avoid damaging your health. As your chosen carb intake rises out of the low carb range, this calculator switches you to the Zone Diet nutrient mix, which is the one quite a bit of well-designed research has shown to be the most effective for healthy weight loss when carbs exceed 120 g per day.
You can find my Nutritional Calculator for Weight Loss and Maintenance HERE.
The FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitor
A new device, the FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitor came on the market at the end of 2017. It is not covered by insurance for anyone save people using meal-time insulin. However, the reader costs only about $80 and a sensor that lasts 10-14 days is about $33 self-paid. You will need a doctor's prescription to get the reader and sensors, but many doctors will prescribe one if you assure them you won't bother them about getting insurance to pay for the device.
The cost of the device and a month's worth of strips is not much more than what you would pay for a brand name blood sugar meter and 200 strips. The continuous glucose monitor will give you far, far, more information and make it much easier to learn how to get normal blood sugars.
I wrote up a detailed description my trial of the first version of this device HERE. If you are interested, there are several closed groups on Facebook where advice is available from many long-time users from outside of the U.S., where the device has been available for years.
One Last Extremely Helpful Tool: The Food Scale
Diets and insulin only work properly when we understand exactly what it is that we are eating. Knowing that there are 29 grams of carbohydrate in one ounce of bread isn't helpful if you don't know how much bread that is.
That's where the food scale comes in helpful. Using it, you can get a much more accurate idea of what you are really eating. You'll learn portion sizes and that is often the key to making diets and insulin work properly.