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If someone needs to restrict their protein intake because of kidney damage, is it safe to do a low carb diet?

The restriction of protein intake is an outdated thought. It was born of a study by Barry Brenner, at Harvard, back in the 1980s. He did a survey of the diabetologists in Boston asking, “At what blood sugars do you like to keep your diabetics?”  The collective answer ultimately was 250 mg/dl.

He designed a rat study where he clamped the study rats at 250 mg/dl, and put half on ordinary rat chow and half on a high-protein diet. All the rats died of rat diabetic kidney disease, but those on the high-protein diet died twice as fast. 

He got funding that enabled him to travel around the country promoting  this discovery. He went to a meeting of the ADA organization in New York and asked if they recommended blood sugars of 250 mg/dl. They all agreed except me. I stood up and challenged it, and said, “Diabetics are entitled to normal blood sugars,” and I got booed.

That was the end of it as far as the general medical population knows, but five years later I was collaborating on a study with the top hypertension researcher in the New York area. His research fellow and I were working on a study that involved kidney function, and he presented the results at a kidney conference in Washington DC, which was on the agenda for the same day as Barry Brenner. Brenner had repeated his study with rats, and this time had clamped their blood sugars at 90 mg/dl. As a result, no rats died of kidney disease, and they all lived healthy rat lives, but that only got published in the abstracts of this meeting. 

Unfortunately, it never hit the general medical population, and Harvard did not pay for press releases or for a tour around the country.


Richard K. Bernstein, MD is one of the most knowledgeable, committed and successful pioneers in the field of diabetes today.  He invented blood sugar self-monitoring  and basal/bolus insulin dosing, when he was an enginee.

Dr. B is Director Emeritus of the Peripheral vascular Disease Clinic of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His private medical Practice in Mamaroneck N. Y. specializes in treating diabetes and obesity.

He is a physician, research scientist, thriving Type 1 for  67 years, and best-selling author of nine  diabetes books including Diabetes  Solution , The Diabetes Diet and several E-books. This link will give you more information about his publications. To  sign up for his free monthly teleseminars, visit


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