Jewels Doskicz is a registered nurse, freelance writer, patient advocate, health coach, and long-distance cyclist. Jewels is the moderator of Diabetic Connect’s weekly #DCDE Twitter chat, and she and her daughter both live healthfully with type 1 diabetes.
If you think carbohydrate counting has its limitations in diabetes therapy, you may be on to something. As our own best experts in daily decisions with our diabetes, we have a unique insider's view of what works and what doesn't.
I'm not a dietician, but I am diet savvy enough to understand "a carb is a carb" doesn't cut it for me. Most everyone with diabetes has heard a brownie equals a cup of cooked carrots for carbohydrate load, but the nutritional aspect of foods we eat seem to have been lost in translation.
Apparently I'm not alone in my dietary thought processes. I live and breathe diabetes management every day for myself and my daughter. I am a carb master 24/7, and I know that is only part of the focus. I watched my mom precisely portion, weigh, and measure the healthy foods hitting my plate and stomach for years as a child—before carbohydrate counting became the standard practice.
Kirstine Bell PhD of the University of Sydney says, "There's limited evidence to recommend carbohydrate counting over other dietary interventions for improving glucose control in type 1 diabetes. And it's concerning that there are only six studies that could be identified when this is such an integral element of diabetes management in type 1 diabetes. It affects the management of millions of people around the world."
This study did lead to a conclusion that the overall quality of life with diabetes improves with carbohydrate counting. Surprised? Of course not—counting carbs leaves room for Snickers bars and other unhealthy items that were never sewn into traditional teachings of a well-balanced diet.
Diabetic or not, some food choices are poor regardless of one's ability to dose insulin for them.