Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Help a newly diagnosed diabetic find a way to check carb info on the go!
July 22, 2010 4:16 PM   Subscribe

What's the best (diabetic) carb tracking repository, database, software or app?

So recently I found out that I probably have diabetes. In June my company had a free health-screening and my A1c level came back fairly elevated , (11.2). Because my father is a type 2 diabetic I set up a meeting with his doctor to get checked out.

So a week before the appointment I started checking my blood sugar with one of my father's spare meters. I was averaging in the 200s every day and even crested 300 once. Since then I have been watching my carbs (especially pure sugar or white bread/flour etc). I was put on the generic Glucophage and Metformin, twice a day which is starting to bring it down a little bit. I'm to go to the hospital for diabetic training, complete one of those whole day pee in a bottle tests and get another blood screen done. The doctor also has me checking my blood sugar 2-3x a day (although I've been checking more like 4-5, before and after meals).

Now my question is two-part...First off who else has gone through this? I'm pretty sure I'm type 2 and I'm still producing insulin and don't need shots. I'm overweight, (252 lbs at 6'4" but I lost 30 lbs the past year) but am starting to exercise again. Is it unreasonable to think if I really step up the fitness I may be able to go off meds again? (I'm only 28 which is why this is scary and I don't eat that poorly really)

The second question is are there any excellent tracking websites or apps I could use (besides my OneTouch meter of course) to track what I'm eating, how many carbs are in things etc? The rule of thumb is 45 for a meal, 15 for a snack...but labels aren't always available...I have an Android phone and access to computer most of the time. Suggestions?
posted by PetiePal to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'd recommend SparkPeople for tracking food. (It has a lot of articles and other stuff there that may be of interest to you as well.)

Sorry to hear about this happening. :(
posted by mordax at 4:25 PM on July 22, 2010


Oh, and for getting unlabeled nutritional data, nothing wrong with looking it up on the go. This site is pretty handy.
posted by mordax at 4:32 PM on July 22, 2010


I'm Type I and have found the iPhone app Food IQ to be useful. It's written by a group called Obsessive Code, and true to their name, they've cataloged an extensive list of foods with a lot of practical options that reflect different ways you might portion or cook a certain food.

I also use it to check on the carb density of foods I'm unsure about - jicama was a recent example.
posted by pearl228 at 4:47 PM on July 22, 2010


You'll really want to speak with a doctor that focuses on Diabetes, and a nutritionist... Some of the things you're saying here are a bit off, or not entirely safe assumptions.

For tracking carbs, I use Calorie Counter by FatSecret. It'll let you use the camera to scan in items you eat, and has a huge database, as well as a great web interface to fix things you might not be able to do from an Android phone.

It's entirely possible that between exercise and diet, you'll get off medication entirely, at least for awhile. This is critical, as medications have side effects such as hardening arteries, further abusing your pancreas to force Insulin production, and so on.

Glucose testing is best done before meals, and MAYBE 2 hours after meals, but the after-meal check is really misleading as it doesn't take anything in terms of metabolism or the nature of the sugars you consumed into account. Before meals shows you at about your lowest glucose after eating, which is a useful indicator of both how much you can afford to take in, and how effective your management is.

45g for a meal and 15g for a snack isn't exactly a rule of thumb, so much as what some people are told to aim for. A nutritionist will be able to better tell you what your body needs, and how to best get that while dealing with Diabetes. With Metformin (this is Glucophage - If you are taking both Metformin AND Glucophage, call your doctor immediately), you can safely eat 0 grams of carbs, and only deal with the effect of that on your body. Glipizide and the like actively force your pancreas to produce more Insulin, potentially resulting in very low glucose in the blood, causing hypoglycemia if you do not eat enough carbohydrates to counter this effect.

All told, talk to a doctor familiar with Diabetes as soon as humanly possible to get medication and diet guidelines that make sense for your particular situation. Diet and exercise will probably carry you once you get things under control, but an 11.2 A1C suggests you have a long road ahead of you before a doctor would recommend it - A goal for a well-managed diabetic is under 7%, and this is a 3 month rolling window, effectively. So 3 to 6 months before results will be noticed in this sort of test, long-term.

All told, you're not in a bad situation. Diabetes is annoying, but not life-threatening so long as you deal with it. Don't let it stress you out. I'm in almost the exact same situation you are, diagnosed as Type 2 at 27, and have managed it well enough that barring medical issues such as infections causing glucose issues, I'm completely self-managed through exercise and diet. It's not world-ending, and has actually changed my life for the better - I'm in much better shape and eat a lot better as a result of having to be aware of it.
posted by Rendus at 4:55 PM on July 22, 2010


First off who else has gone through this?

Been there, done that, I'd recommend The First Year Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed.

Is it unreasonable to think if I really step up the fitness I may be able to go off meds again?

Not at all, it's completely within the realm of possibility, but you're going to have to lose weight.

The second question is are there any excellent tracking websites or apps I could use (besides my OneTouch meter of course) to track what I'm eating, how many carbs are in things etc?

Fit Day does a good job of this, except for recording your blood glucose. I've yet to find an all in one application or App, but I haven't looked very hard, since I was doing this before Apps became popular. I just keep track of my carbs, download the meter readings and use the Lifescan software to graph it over time. Yes, you have to pay for it and the cable to connect it to your computer. Welcome to diabetes, the expensive disease!

I was put on the generic Glucophage and Metformin

Could you clarify this part? I wasn't aware both could be proscribed at the same time. Are you really on both of them?
posted by new brand day at 4:59 PM on July 22, 2010


First off who else has gone through this? I'm pretty sure I'm type 2 and I'm still producing insulin and don't need shots. I'm overweight, (252 lbs at 6'4" but I lost 30 lbs the past year) but am starting to exercise again. Is it unreasonable to think if I really step up the fitness I may be able to go off meds again? (I'm only 28 which is why this is scary and I don't eat that poorly really)

I was diagnosed as Type II a bit over a year ago; I weighed ~230 lbs. at 5'10". My doctor put me on metformin, and I spent the next few months working out heavily and watching my carb intake. About 6 months later, I was down to ~190lbs. and both my A1C and fasting blood glucose were back in the normal range. At that point, my doctor was comfortable having me go off the metformin. (I still can't eat whatever I want -- a bad meal and my blood sugar will spike over 180 -- but at least I'm off the meds.)

Good luck!
posted by asterix at 5:03 PM on July 22, 2010


Oh, I just went looking for an iPhone App for diabetes and Track3 Diabetes Planner seems to be what I'm looking: a way to track blood sugar, food and exercise in one app, while also having a database of common foods, plus the ability to add your own. They've also made an Android version. I haven't used it yet, but it has 4.5 stare on iPhone App store, with 90 reviews
posted by new brand day at 5:14 PM on July 22, 2010


Also, I want to stress that well you may be able to go off the meds, you will always be classified as diabetic and at some point when you're older, you'll probably have to go back on them. Not trying to scare you, just want to emphasize that there is no actual cure for this, but you can still live a pretty normal life, just remember that it's there and you gotta watch your health!
posted by new brand day at 5:18 PM on July 22, 2010


I'm a type 2 who was diagnosed a few years ago.
This book was very useful to me to get a handle on things at the beginning. I hope your class is as good as mine was. We went over portion sizes, using your meter, target numbers and tons of other info that was really good to have. It made me understand things a lot better. I tend to check nutritional info online for restaurants that have it.

As for the medicine - it depends on your body and your dr so I'll say maybe. It depends on how well your numbers go and they may not want you to try until you've been well managed for a while. I should be trying to get more exercise and eat better so that I don't have my medication upped.
posted by oneear at 5:25 PM on July 22, 2010


I'm pretty sure I'm type 2 and I'm still producing insulin and don't need shots. I'm overweight, (252 lbs at 6'4" but I lost 30 lbs the past year) but am starting to exercise again. Is it unreasonable to think if I really step up the fitness I may be able to go off meds again? (I'm only 28 which is why this is scary and I don't eat that poorly really)

IANAD: you can also be a late onset Type 1, in which case you may still be in the honeymoon period where your islets are still producing some insulin. Your doctor should have tested you for islet autoantibodies if this is the case. It's fairly common for late onset Type 1s to get misdiagnosed at Type IIs if they are overweight. Try to get an appointment with an actual endocrinologist, if your current doctor is not one.

There could be several things going wrong with your body currently - the simplest and most common explanation is that you are insulin resistant due to overweight and inactivity. In this case losing weight and increasing activity may get you to a point where your insulin producing cells can produce enough insulin for your body mass.

Other causes could be that you were born with a smaller amount of islets than average, and your current weight is too much for them to handle, even without any insulin resistance.

There is also MODY to consider, which is neither Type I or Type II.

The doctor also has me checking my blood sugar 2-3x a day (although I've been checking more like 4-5, before and after meals).

Good! Also remember that one day of really clean data is better than 10 days of crap data. I'm an advocate for testing 10x a day (first thing in the morning, afternoon, pre/post meals, bedtime, 3am if you can hack it) so you can generate some good graphs initially, then test less frequently once you stabilize.
posted by benzenedream at 5:42 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


livestrong.com's myplate food diary has something called "MyPlate D", which is intended for diabetics. It does track glucose and insulin in addition to the regular food tracking. If you pay the fee for the gold service, you will get by meal totals (other apps do that for free, but whatever).

If you go this route, you should try the free version first to see if it works for you - I find their regular database to be pretty horrendous because it allows members to enter whatever they want. So you have to pick your way through 50 shrimp entries that vary wildly. However, once you validate an item for yourself, it will mark it with a star so you only have to go through the process once.
posted by smalls at 5:49 PM on July 22, 2010


Just a follow up, I bought the Track3 Diabetes Planner App (available for both Droid and iPhone) and I'm liking it a lot, especially the food tracking. After having input my daily totals for calories, carbs, fat and protein and entering everything I eat, it's a good way to stay abreast of what i've done nutritionally for the day and more important, what I need to do. It's a bit tedious to enter in everything, but that'll get easier once I more of what I usually eat in there.

In short, I'd recommend it and fully intend to use it myself.
posted by new brand day at 8:16 AM on July 23, 2010


« Older I'm looking for examples of co...   |  It's going to be 98 degrees an... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.