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Acta Diabetol. 2013 Dec;50(6):959-64. doi: 10.1007/s00592-013-0491-9. Epub 2013 Jun 19.

Nutritional education and carbohydrate counting in children with type 1 diabetes treated with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion: the effects on dietary habits, body composition and glycometabolic control.

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Department of Life and Reproduction Sciences, Regional Center for Pediatric Diabetes, Clinical Nutrition and Obesity, University of Verona, Via Bengasi, 4, 37134, Verona, Italy,


Carbohydrate counting (CHC) in combination with nutritional education has been used to optimize the insulin dose in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D). The aim of this study was to test the impact of CHC and nutritional education on changes in dietary habits, body composition and body fat distribution in children with T1D treated with insulin pumps (CSII). Twenty-five children with T1D and CSII were recruited and valuated at baseline and after 18 months of follow-up. They were trained in CHC and following standard nutrition education program (based on American Diabetes Association and International Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes guidelines); clinical, biochemical and nutritional variables were measured. In the total population, body composition, body fat distribution and biochemical variables did not change, at follow-up; HbA1c was significantly reduced (8.50 ± 0.77 vs 7.92 ± 0.74 %; p < 0.001) without changing insulin/kg/day requirement. In the sub-group of patients with a significant HbA1c reduction (ΔHbA1c ≥ 0.5 %, n = 12), the carbohydrate (CHO) intake was significantly higher at follow-up (53.0 ± 4.0 vs 57.6 ± 2.5 %; p < 0.01); on the contrary, fat (31.3 ± 3.6 vs 28.5 ± 1.6 %; p < 0.05) and protein intake (15.4 ± 1.8 vs 13.3 ± 1.6 %; p < 0.01) significantly decreased. Patients without a significant HbA1c reduction did not show any difference. CHC, in combination with nutritional education, does not affect dietary habits, body composition and body fat distribution in children with T1D treated with CSII. Moreover, the sub-group of subjects showing a significant improvement in glycometabolic control reported an increase in CHO intake and a reduction in fat and protein intake.

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