Assistant Professor Food & Nutrition, Kerala University, India
Submission: December 09, 2017; Published: February 19, 2018
*Corresponding author: Mini Joseph, Assistant Professor Food & Nutrition, Kerala University, Head of the department of Homescience, Government College for Women, Trivandrum Kerala, India- 695014, Tel: +91 8289840242; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Carbohydrate counting is a tool used by insulin dependent diabetes patients. It helps them to maintain the blood glucose level at euglycemic state even on days of feast and famine! The underlying principle is that if the person is aware of his carbohydrate intake, then by adjusting his insulin shots he can maintain euglycemic control.
Carbohydrates are one of the main energy giving nutrients found in foods. The other major nutrients are proteins and fats. However, only carbohydrate is only counted as they are easily digested and affect the blood glucose. (Proteins and fats consumed at each meal is not computed as they take longer to digest and does not cause a sudden rise in blood sugars).
The amount of insulin required by individuals varies and it depends on their carbohydrate intake. Hence the carbohydrate content of each meal is computed and the insulin dose is adjusted accordingly ensuring acceptable post-prandial blood sugars. This is particularly useful on non-routine days and on special occasions as it provides the patients with greater flexibility and variety in his eating habits; ensuring good glycaemic control throughout the day.
The Insulin Carb ratio tells us the amount of carbohydrate in grams for which 1 unit of rapid acting insulin is required. Using this insulin to carbohydrate ratio, the patient takes a bolus insulin dose before meals after estimation of carbohydrate in that meal. Patient education of carbohydrate content of different foods is necessary. Reading and understanding the food label ensures better blood sugar control.
I. The ratio can be roughly calculated by using the
thumb rule of dividing 500g. of carbohydrates by total
insulin daily dose.
Insulin Carb ratio= 500/total daily insulin dose
II. This method is used for patients with good glycaemic
control. The total carbohydrate intake of the patients per
day is computed from his dietary recalls and it is divided by the total daily insulin.
Insulin Carb ratio= total carbohydrate intake per day/total daily insulin dose
There are a number of carbs counting tables available and the table below shows the carbohydrate content of some commonly used Indian foods. The list of foods given below contains 15gms of carbohydrates. The content may vary depending on the ingredients that are added in the preparation of the dish.
(Foods marked with an asterisk* contain fat; 1 cup=200ml)