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Carb Counting

Facts and how diabetic friend can help

How carb counting can help manage glucose levels and find out how diabetic friend can lend a hand.

Carb Counting

Knowing how to count the carbs in a meal will help type 1 diabetics maintain glucose levels and enable you to lead a normal life. Take the hassle out of carb counting by using our online database and diary.


Blood glucose is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas, small amounts are released slowly across the day with larger amounts released when you eat. Type 1 diabetics take two types of insulin, a long acting insulin and a short acting insulin usually taken just before a meal.

It is the short acting insulin that can be adjusted depending on what you are eating, you will need to know the amount of carbohydrates in your meal and your personal insulin to carbohydrate ratio. The more carbs you eat the more insulin you will need.

Carbohydrates in your meal

To ensure you know what carbs are in your meal you will have to know the portion size on your plate. Before you can start carb counting you will need to measure foods but as you get used to looking at a portion size you will know the size on your plate. Once you know the serving size you need to find out the carb content, you can view the label or look in a carb counting book. Even better view our online database.

Insulin to Carb Ratio

This ratio will vary from person to person and depends on factors such as body weight, activity levels and your sensitivity to insulin. Most adults will require 1 unit of insulin for every 8-15 grams of carbs. When trying to find out your personal insulin to carb ratio many adults start with 1 unit of insulin for every 10 grams. If you are starting to carb count you will need to keep close attention to your glucose levels and ensure a diary is kept. This will help you adjust your insulin level. Always consult your diabetic specialist before altering your insulin levels.

Once you know your own ratio you must divide the amount of carbs on your plate by the ratio, this will give you your insulin requirement for that meal.


Improve your glucose control
Eat restaurant food
Eat when you want
Predict how different foods affect you

Diabetic Friend

Use our online food database to find out the carbohydrates in everyday foods as well as restaurants. Enter the portion size and find out the value of the carbs on your plate. If you have entered an Insulin to Carb ratio you will be advised of the insulin to be taken. If eating in a restaurant you will be able to search on your mobile to ensure you know what carbs you are eating.

Other factors

Once you know your ratio and are using this to calculate the insulin you are taking always consider the following before taking your insulin:
Current glucose levels – are they high or low
Have you just exercised or going to exercise
Are you ill


Carb counting can be challenging and knowing what carbs are on your plate especially when eating out can be hard. Keep biscuits or glucose tablets with you at all times in case you estimate the carb content incorrectly and you become hypo.

When starting to learn how to carb count consult your diabetic specialist, carb counting is not for everyone and requires a lot of attention. However if you get this right the advantages are invaluable.

500 Rule

I received a comment from a user who uses the 500 rule when carb counting

“Had a look at the sight, Just a quick comment on Carb Ratio. to calculate your ratio you (can) divide 500 by your total daily insulin. i.e all your lantus and novo rapid you take in the day. For example my total daily insulin is 48 so 500/48.4 I do all my calculations using this ratio and my results have been amazing.” I do know this works for many people so if you are having difficulty calculating a ratio this would be a good place to start.

This rule can only be used for type 1 diabetics as People with type 2 diabetes usually produce some insulin naturally, in addition to the insulin they inject, so a total daily insulin dose cannot be calculated reliably.

Remember once this ratio has been calculated it can be changed – a lot of healthcare professionals recommend this is a great starting point.