**CARBOHYDRATE COUNTING IN PRACTICE**

Knowing the Carbohydrate content of meal is called Carbohydrate Counting.

In general, a pump user gets a flexibility of eating any meal at any time with any composition but pump user needs to learn art of Carb counting, so as to decide the right amount of bolus insulin to match the meal. For this estimation of Carbs , there are various methods-

**Carbohydrate Counting - **

There are two basic methods of counting carbohydrate and they are very similar:

1. Carbohydrate Gram Counting

2. Carbohydrate Exchange Counting

Exchange is not as accurate as gram counting and for pump user gram counting is a better option. Following are methods for Carbohydrate Gram Counting:

1. Weighing the food.

2. Using reference list.

3. Food labels.

1. **Weighing the food:** A few foods like sugar, candies are purely carbohydrates, so their weight on a gram scale will be exactly the same as the number of grams of carbohydrates they contain. E.g. 1tbsp sugar (15gm) contains 15gm of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate quantity in grams can be determined in mixed food, if its ingredients are known and their composition is known.

In order to determine the carbohydrate content in such foods one needs the help of tools like weighing scale, calculator and a reference list. The carbohydrate content may be calculated in following manner -

a. Weigh the food and find out the total weight in grams / serving size.

b. Find the carb percentage of food item from a food list.

c. Multiply the foods total weight in grams to its carbohydrate percentage. The result of this multiplication divided by 100 gives the number of grams of carbohydrate that the food contains.

E.g. 30gm of raw rice gives 23.4gm of carbohydrate i.e. because the carbohydrate content in rice is 78.2% i.e. 30 x 78.2 / 100 = 23.4gm of carbohydrate.

Similarly if one needs to know the carbohydrate content present in Matar-Paneer vegetable then it can be done in a similar way.

a. Find out the serving size.

b. Find out the percent of carbohydrate present in Green Peas (Matar) and also in Paneer. Add up the two and the net value will be the total carbohydrate present in this dish.

E.g. 50g of Green Peas contain 7.95gm of carbohydrate and 25gm of Paneer (Toned Milk) contain 5 gm of carbohydrate. So 1serving 75gm of this dish has (7.95gm+5gm) = 12.95gm carbohydrate.

In order to calculate the carbohydrate total for a meal one needs to add carbohydrate gram values for all the foods eaten at that meal.

E.g. Breakfast 2 Alu Paratha + 200 ml Toned Milk with ½ tsp Sugar + 1 Fruit (Apple 100gm).

** Food items Servings in gm Carbohydrate grams**

Wheat flour 60 32

Potato 50 11.3

Milk (toned) 200 ml 10

Sugar 2.5 2.5

Apple 100 13.4

Total = 69.2 gm

Thus simply add up the exact number of grams of carbohydrate in each food item to know total carbs in grams in a meal. Another example of same method is as follows:

Breakfast 200 ml Milk with ½ tsp sugar + 2 Parathas stuffed with potato + 1 Fruit

**Counting Carbohydrate - **

** Item Quantity Carb in grams **

Milk 200 ml 10

Wheat flour 60 gm 42

Potato 20 - 25 gm 5

Sugar ½ tsp 2.5

Fruit 100 20

Total = 79.5 gms

**2. Using reference list -** There are a few lists that provide nutritional information on a fairly accurate basis to the user. Generally these state the food composition (carbohydrate, protein, fat content) of commonly used raw foods. Some lists may even provide information about cooked foods, mixed meals and also some commercial ready to eat foods.

Using a reliable list is an easy method to look up the carbohydrate content in foods. These lists give the amount of carbohydrate present in a typical serving of each food. If what one eats varies from the serving size given in the list then one may need to weigh or measure the actual serving size of the food one wants to eat and then need to do the necessary calculations to convert the carbohydrate content of the given serving size into the actual serving consumed.

**3. Food Labels -** Most packaged and processed foods have nutrition information labels on them. These labels clearly state the carbohydrate content per serving of the food or per packet 100g of the food products. Hence this requires minimal numerical calculations. However one has to minus dietary fibers from carb content and should be sure about quantity of carb in 100 gm vs serving size.

**E.g. **

Kurkures Masala munch clearly states the carbohydrate as 29.46g/packet (55g). If one consumes ½ a packet then the carbohydrate will be 14.73 (half of the total carbohydrate also).

Thus there are various ways to know carb content and with practice, pump user can learn the art of carb counting and can master it.