To the 5? To the 10? Exact?

How exact do you get when entering carbs into your calculations?

Looking back on the last few weeks of my pump history, all of my carb values are rounded numbers, either on the 10 mark, or the 5 mark.

I think this is due to a couple of different things.

The Jackson 51) Carry over from the old-fashioned “exchange system” days, where a “carb (or starch) exchange” was 15 grams. So, to me, a slice of bread is always 15 grams. Even though many of the breads these days are more like 18 grams! It’s like my brain is stuck in the old system. Or, maybe a slice of bread has always been 18 grams, and the “exchange system” rounded it down to 15 to simplify. I don’t know.

2) I have been doing corrections independent of my meals. No special reason, just the way the day rolls out. For example, I test when I wake up. Not two seconds after my feet slide into their hard soled slippers am I reaching for my test kit. So I will correct depending on what that number is. Even if it’s a respectable 120 or something, I’ll dose to get closer to my target of 100. Then when I eat breakfast 15 – 20 minutes later, there’s no sense in calculating in another correction, so I will use my touch bolus button (which counts up in 10g increments) to bolus for that. Or I’ll not want to be bothered by pulling my pump out to bolus (how silly is that?!), so I’ll guesstimate my way into convincing myself that what I’m eating is an even “10” number (40, 50, 60, etc.).

In many cases I’m miscalculating by a few carbs by using either of the above two scenarios. I had always thought that it didn’t matter that much. I had also always thought that I did exact calculations for most of my meals & boluses – but the data shows otherwise!

Looking at my ratios, it can be gathered that being inaccurate by 1 gram of carbs will have an effect of about 4.7 BG points. That’s not too much. However, being off by 10 grams changes that number quite a bit! Now we’re talking 47 points! That is a very big difference when you’re trying to “catch the trap” on the aircraft carrier!

So, my question to you – how anal do you get about your carb grams. Do you enter each and every gram? Do you round to even numbers only when SWAG bolusing? When you round off, is it just a matter of not wanting to do the math, or is it to take some other “shortcut”?

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…