New online carb counting program | Diabetes Qualified

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by Helen d’Emden AdvAPD CDE

Carbohydrate counting (carb counting) is an important skill for all people with type 1 diabetes to learn. Carbohydrate recognition and carbohydrate counting are also used to varying degrees for the management of type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

The NDSS has just released a digital online education resource for carb counting which you can find on their website here. This is not intended to replace health professional education, but will assist in a number of ways:

  • It will provide a base knowledge for individuals prior to a consultation with a health professional, and/or will reinforce the learnings post consultation.
  • Having a base knowledge of carb counting will enable the time spent in consultations with the dietitian to be maximised, so they can progress medical nutrition therapy for the individual.
  • It will be a valuable resource for relatives and carers to get a basic understanding of carb counting.
  • It will assist those who live in rural and remote areas who have less access to education.
  • It will help standardise carbohydrate counting and assist the education process for health professionals who are not specialised in dietary education for diabetes.

There are 11 modules in the online carb counting program, however no one will need to complete all 11 modules.

The first module provides an overview of the program and outlines the three streams of carb counting: 15g carb exchanges, 10g carb portions or carb counting in grams. The first module also provides a guide on where to start with carb recognition and carb counting if the individual has not been advised by their health professional as to which carb counting method to use.

The second module on carb recognition is helpful to gain a better understanding of which foods impact on blood glucose levels, as this is important before moving on to one of the carb counting methods. The last three modules provide optional further knowledge on the basics of label reading, apps, websites and books, and carb counting in recipes.

For many young families with type 1 diabetes intensive education at diagnosis is given over an extended period from a specialised diabetes multidisciplinary team. As stated these online modules will not replace the dietary education, but will reinforce the learnings during this period. Hopefully they will also assist other family members such as grandparents, who may not be able to attend face to face education sessions with the diabetes team, but are keen to learn more about diabetes management to support their family moving forward. Additionally, many adults diagnosed with type 1 diabetes do not have such access to comprehensive education, and these online education modules could assist in the education process for them.

In summary, this program will provide online teaching for carbohydrate awareness and provide basic carbohydrate counting skills that can be viewed as needed, to support education from health professionals. There are modules that will not only assist individuals with type 1 diabetes and their carers, but also those with type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. It will also provide options for accessing education for those living in rural and remote areas.