Study: Counting carbs can improve quality of life in Type 1 diabetes patients on insulin pump therapy

NEW YORK — A study published online in the journal Diabetes Care, and slated for the April print issue, suggested that counting carbohydrates could lead to an improvement in quality of life and a reduction in body mass index and waist circumference in patients with Type 1 diabetes who receive continuous subcutaneous insulin infusions.

The study, "Effects of Carbohydrate Counting on Glucose Control and Quality of Life Over 24 Weeks in Adult Patients With Type 1 Diabetes on Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion: A randomized, prospective clinical trial (GIOCAR)," is the first to look at whether counting carbs specifically helps patients on insulin pump therapy.

Led by Andrea Laurenzi of San Raffaele Vita-Salute University in Milan, it involved 61 adult patients with Type 1 diabetes receiving CSII who randomly were assigned to either learn carb counting (intervention) or estimate pre-meal insulin dose in the usual empirical way (control), according to the study.

Intention-to-treat analysis showed improvement of the Diabetes Specific Quality of Life Scale score related to diet restrictions (week 24 – baseline difference, P = 0.008) and reduction of BMI (P = 0.003) and waist circumference (P = 0.002) in the intervention group compared with control subjects, according to the study.

Per-protocol analysis, including only patients who continuously used carbohydrate counting and CSII during the study, confirmed improvement of the DSQOLS score and reduction of BMI and waist circumference, and showed a significant reduction of HbA1C (−0.35% versus control subjects, P = 0.05), according to the study.

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