An empirical pictorial guide to carbohydrate counting in Uganda: A resource for diabetes meal planning and education

Background: Carbohydrate counting has become a popular meal planning strategy in achieving optimal postprandial blood glucose control and dietary flexibility among people with insulin- requiring diabetes. Yet, this aspect of diabetes care has not been well embraced especially in low-resource countries like Uganda. This study aimed to develop an accessible, easy-to-use and context-specific meal planning resource for use in diabetes self-management education and to assist in clinical decisions as reference for clinicians in Uganda. It will also contribute to addressing the dearth in locally contextualised diabetes education resources.

Methods: We mapped common foods consumed in Uganda from a variety of sources which we congregated into food groups. Typical portion sizes of the selected foods and beverages served in the Ugandan context were measured and corresponding carbohydrate content calculated from available food composition tables of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and the US Department of Agriculture Food Data Central. We provided descriptive summary statistics and comparisons of carbohydrate content across food groups. All analyses were conducted in STATA version 16.0.

Results: Images of Ugandan foods and dishes with corresponding carbohydrate figures were compiled into an electronic document that is freely accessible online. It features information from 100 food sets categorised into 12 food groups.

Conclusions: This meal planning resource can provide important guidance to meal planning, food choices, clinical decision making and nutrition education in clinical practice.


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