A picture-based carbohydrate-counting resource for somalis

Muna Sunni, Carol Brunzell, Jennifer Kyllo, Loren Purcell, Phillip Plager, Antoinette Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Carbohydrate counting is essential for effective management of type 1 diabetes (T1D). Somali diet-specific carbohydrate-counting references are lacking, creating an additional barrier to effective diabetes control. We developed a picture-based carbohydrate-counting resource for Somalis with T1D. Methods: Traditional Somali foods were selected using a variety of methods. Serving sizes and carbohydrate calculations were tabulated using the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Carbohydrate contents of home-prepared foods were calculated by measuring the total yield and total carbohydrates of ingredients in the recipe divided by the number of servings to be consumed. When available, recipes were used for food preparation and analysis for more accurate carbohydrate estimation. Results: Photographs of prepared Somali foods were compiled into a PDF file. While introductions are written in text, the resource is primarily picture-based to bypass limited literacy. The resource is shared free of charge via the following link: http://journals.sagepub.com/ doi/suppl/10.1177/0300060517718732. The link will be updated annually with new information. Conclusion: There is a necessity to tailor educational materials to address the needs of Somalis with diabetes. We have created a picture-based nutrition resource for carbohydrate counting of traditional Somali foods and have made this freely available to individuals worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-224
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of International Medical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (Award Number UL1TR000114). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2017.


  • Carbohydrate counting
  • Dietary resource
  • Somali
  • Traditional Somali food
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Visual-based reference


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