Counting carbs may help with type 1 diabetes
New York: Tallying the number of carbohydrates in the diet may be helpful to people using an insulin pump to treat type 1 diabetes, a small study suggests.
The study, of 61 adults on insulin pump therapy, found that those who learned to count carbs had a small reduction in weight and waist size after 6 months.
They also reported gains in quality of life and -- at least for those who consistently counted their carbs with each meal -- an improvement in blood sugar levels.
The findings, published online by the journal Diabetes Care and scheduled to appear in the April print issue, do not prove that carb counting is the answer for people with type 1 diabetes.
But it is widely recommended that people on insulin try to estimate the carbohydrate content of their meals to help calculate their insulin doses, said Dr. Sanjeev Mehta, of the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Carbohydrate counting is one way to do that, noted Mehta, who was not involved in the study.
Other ways include paying close attention to portion size, using diabetes "exchange lists" and choosing foods based on "glycemic index" -- a measure of how far and how fast a given foods sends up blood sugar.
"There is no definitive data to suggest the superiority of one method over another in terms of ease of use or (blood sugar) control," Mehta told Reuters Health in an email.
A few studies have suggested that carbohydrate counting can help people with type 1 diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes arises when the body no longer produces the blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin, due to an abnormal immune system attack on insulin-secreting cells.
As a result, people with the disease have to take synthetic insulin -- either through daily injections or an insulin "pump" that is worn outside the body and continuously delivers insulin through a catheter placed under the skin in the abdominal area.
Until now, no studies had looked at whether carb counting is specifically useful to people on insulin pump therapy.
For the new study, researchers led by Dr. Andrea Laurenzi, of San Raffaele Vita-Salute University in Milan, recruited 61 adults on insulin pump therapy. They randomly assigned them to either learn how to count carbohydrates or serve as part of a "control" group.
In sessions with a dietitian, participants in the carb-counting group learned how to calculate the amount of carbohydrates in each of their meals and estimate how much insulin they would need to "cover" those carbs.
After 6 months, Laurenzi`s team found, the carb-counters showed a slight reduction in weight and waist size, on average -- possibly, the researchers say, because they were paying closer attention to their diets or exercise habits.
When the researchers looked at the whole carb-counting group, there was no clear effect on hemoglobin A1C levels -- a measure of long-term blood sugar control. But when they focused just on the 20 participants who consistently counted carbs for most of their meals, there was evidence of better blood sugar control.
Mehta, however, said that finding is of "uncertain significance."
And in general, he said, the study had too many limitations to draw firm conclusions. One problem, Mehta noted, is that it`s unclear what kind of intervention the control group had -- whether they paid no attention to their carbs, or used another method to estimate them.
Still, he pointed out that keeping tabs on carbs, in some way, is clearly important for people with type 1 diabetes.
"It has been recognized for decades that optimal (blood sugar) control depends on meticulous attention to diet, insulin and exercise," Mehta said.
For people who are interested in learning how to count carbs, there are books and online resources. But some people have difficulty learning or sticking with the method, Mehta noted, and help from a professional -- such as a dietitian or certified diabetes educator -- may be needed.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- One year of Modi govt: PM promises to fulfil aspirations
- Watch: Mumbai cops find new secret agents in housewives!
- Hundreds die as heat wave continues in India
- 2G scam: Ex-TRAI chief alleges Manmohan Singh had warned him to cooperate
- Pranab Mukherjee defends Bofors scam, says it was just a media trial
- Salman Khan attends sister Arpita's wedding reception in Mandi
- Zee Media's mega survey on Modi govt
- Zee Media Exclusive: Vidya Balan chats about 'Hamari Adhuri Kahani'
- Para athlete Deepa Malik complains of callous service by Air India
- Smriti Irani visits Amethi, promises to pay insurance money to 25,000 women
- One year of Modi govt: Amit Shah addresses media
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Mathura rally: PM Modi's ten power-packed dialogues
- BBV: What challenges lie ahead of Modi govt?
- One year of NDA govt: PM Modi writes open letter to nation, promises to transform India
- Arpita-Aayush wedding reception: Salman Khan spreads love in Mandi, says `hum aapke hain`
- World optimistic about India: PM Narendra Modi on 1 year of NDA govt
- MSBSHSE Class 12th HSC results 2015 to be declared at 1pm tomorrow
- Bharatiya Janata Party lacks majority for Ram Temple, Article 370: Amit Shah
- Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at one year of Modi govt, wishes 'happy birthday' to 'suit-boot ki sarkar'
- AAP govt moves resolution against MHA notification: As it happened
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced on May 28
- Heatwave kills 90 more in Andhra, Telangana; toll crosses 800
- UBSE Results 2015 (ubse.uk.gov.in): Uttarakhand 12th Result 2015 to be announced today at 11 AM
- Gujjars adamant on holding talks in Bayana; rail tracks remain blocked
- CBSE 10th result to be declared tomorrow