Thinking back to the questions that I asked and some responses, I probably should say that I’ve done carb counting as well as carb limiting in the past, but for the most part, it was all with the foundation of carb counting.
Do you carb count?
Yes. I use nutritional data when I can (typically Google). I learned a very basic form of carb counting (net carbs), so this is the first time that I’ve heard of counting 50% of protein grams as part of a carb counting plan.
How do you make carb counting work in an efficient manner (use of scales, pre-planning food, etc)
I use digital scales first and foremost. I typically pre-measure my fruits into 15g or 20g carb servings and then pop them in the fridge. I use Google (now wondering if calorie king is better) to get the majority of my information. I tend to stay away from processed foods, but since I’ve moved to Japan, that has become a bit difficult.
What was on my mind when I was thinking about this question is this- how to carb count while also taking consideration to time management. I even went as far as buying 200ml cups (liquids in Japan is measured typically by 100ml or 200ml servings) when I need to quickly spot out carbs for my journal.
Has carb counting improved your A1C or reduced your overall highs
I started thinking the answer to this question was yes, but after reading karen57, I have to take consideration for her input. I know my numbers go off when I don’t do my routine walks. If I walked 25km less in one week, I’d see a major difference in my weekly average. At the same time, I feel like carb counting as helped lay a foundation (much in the same way that Sam said) to assist my management.
I probably see a more significant drop in my A1C and overall highs when I routinely exercise as well as when I keep a log.
Does your Endo / CDE understand carb counting more / less than you do
All the CDEs that I have met thus far, as well as my Endo, understand and encourage carb counting, as well as how to manage insulin management when exercising. I’d stop there but of course, I moved to Japan.
I’m having trouble finding an Endo (not sure if they have CDEs here) that understands carb counting, as well as other type 1 diabetics in Japan. I went to a clinic seminar in town last month and while I didn’t have much time to talk to the nurses at the seminar, but when I showed them my logs, they misread my ratios as the amount of insulin I take per meal.
What are some challenges that arise when you carb count? Feel free to add your own considerations!
The first actual challenge that I came up with carb counting for me was actually getting an accurate amount of carbs after cooking something such as zucchini. I’d fry the zucchini in olive oil and then measure it… wrong way to do it. Now I measure everything raw, and if it’s a large amount I do my best to get it as accurate as possible. Also, like Jen mentioned, pasta is a pain. I typically pre-measure my own pasta dry, boil it, and cook the rest of the pasta for my wife! Barley can be tough too, Cooking methods vary so much because of the amount of water it can absorb.
Time management can also be a problem, so I pre-plan and make the most of it.
How would you feel if essential nutritional information (particularly dietary fiber) for many products were not included?
This comes back to the fact that I’m living in Japan. Case in point, a while ago I bought a 12oz jar of peanut butter (no sugar added variety). Now, I know how much carbs are in peanut butter, so I don’t have to look at the label, but if I didn’t, I might end up assuming that there is no dietary fiber in peanut butter. Japan lists dietary fiber as “recommended information” for nutritional labels (out of three, compulsory, and optional). “Recommended” seems to get relegated to the same level as optional- it’s barely on any food label.
I also have to consider the fact that I speak English. I found a handful of websites in Japanese for nutritional information. I did a search for carrots on one of them and got a reading for carbs without fiber in a 100g serving. No information on net carbs.
So perhaps the overall consensus is that carb counting has helped, but it also has to start from the diabetic. I tend to feel that carb counting is just one tool in the toolbox. It’s probably just as important in my management to exercise and to keep records.
As far as my journey around Japan, I’ll have to get more information from the community here. I’m curious to see how diabetics in Japan tackle their condition.