Abbreviated dietary self-monitoring for type 2 diabetes management: Mixed methods feasibility study

Kelli Marie Richardson, Gloria Cota Aguirre, Rick Weiss, Ali Cinar, Yue Liao, Kari Marano, Arianna R. Bedoya, Susan Schembre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) can be managed through diet and lifestyle changes. The American Diabetes Association acknowledges that knowing what and when to eat is the most challenging aspect of diabetes management. Although current recommendations for self-monitoring of diet and glucose levels aim to improve glycemic stability among people with T2D, tracking all intake is burdensome and unsustainable. Thus, dietary self-monitoring approaches that are equally effective but are less burdensome should be explored. Objective: This study aims to examine the feasibility of an abbreviated dietary self-monitoring approach in patients with T2D, in which only carbohydrate-containing foods are recorded in a diet tracker. Methods: We used a mixed methods approach to quantitatively and qualitatively assess general and diet-related diabetes knowledge and the acceptability of reporting only carbohydrate-containing foods in 30 men and women with T2D. Results: The mean Diabetes Knowledge Test score was 83.9% (SD 14.2%). Only 20% (6/30) of participants correctly categorized 5 commonly consumed carbohydrate-containing foods and 5 noncarbohydrate-containing foods. The mean perceived difficulty of reporting only carbohydrate-containing foods was 5.3 on a 10-point scale. Approximately half of the participants (16/30, 53%) preferred to record all foods. A lack of knowledge about carbohydrate-containing foods was the primary cited barrier to acceptability (12/30, 40%). Conclusions: Abbreviated dietary self-monitoring in which only carbohydrate-containing foods are reported is likely not feasible because of limited carbohydrate-specific knowledge and a preference of most participants to report all foods. Other approaches to reduce the burden of dietary self-monitoring for people with T2D that do not rely on food-specific knowledge could be more feasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere28930
JournalJMIR Diabetes
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Diabetic
  • Diet
  • Diet records
  • Dietary carbohydrates
  • Feasibility studies
  • Type 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management
  • Biomedical Engineering


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