Carb counting in the Quin app

Barry Rogers
Barry Rogers

At Quin, we’ve heard so many times from people we’ve interviewed in our research programme that they would like to reduce the time spent and effort involved in counting carbs. The Quin app has a new feature for recording meals and snacks which we think can help.

Here’s a quick introduction and run through of the thinking behind personal portion sizes and carb ranges.


Personal portion sizes


Everyone is different and this is a great thing. This is especially true when it comes to food. We all eat different meals in different sized portions with different ingredients to suit our own tastes.

We’ve found through our research that most people with diabetes have a usual portion size for frequently eaten meals. This is more common with breakfast and lunches than evening meals but still seems to hold true for the majority. 


When not eating a usual portion, people may have a smaller portion of that meal or sometimes a larger portion but often not much more variation than that. It’s the way we instinctively see meals. Carb counting or carb estimation is an additional thought process layered on top of that.

So we’ve designed our portion size recording feature with this in mind. From now on, when you use the Quin app, you can record your meals as you see them – small, usual or large. 


Carb ranges for different meals


Carb counting precisely is challenging. We live in a world of averages and estimates and trying to achieve precision in this world is incredibly difficult. 

For example, take two slices of toast.

A slice of bread, once weighed, could be 12g of carbs according to the loaf packaging. This comes from lab experiments performed on many slices of bread and averaged, and maybe your slice of bread is baked very slightly differently. So it could be a little more at 13g of carbs.

For toast, it might be on average 1g of carbs more than a slice of bread because of the toasting. Your toast may be more or less burnt than the average piece of toast, so potentially 3g of carbs more than a slice of bread.

For two slices of toast, you could be eating between 26g (12g per slice of bread plus 1g from toasting and multiplied by 2) and 32g of carbs (13g per slice of bread plus 3g for toasting and multiplied by 2).


Carb ranges in the Quin app allow for this estimation range and also for any rounding for your carb ratios. If your carb ratio is 1 unit for 10g of carbs, then for 3 units of short-acting insulin you may round 25g of carbs up to 30g and 35g down to 30g.

So if your usual toast portion is 2 slices, then you may store 25g to 35g of carbs as your Usual portion in the Quin app. When you eat 1 slice, you may store 10g to 15g as your small portion and for 3 slices, 35g to 45g as your large portion. If you only ever eat 2 slices of toast, you never even need to enter the small or large portion ranges.

The next time you eat toast, you can come to Quin and all you need to think is whether this is a small, usual or large portion for you and Quin will tell you your personal range of carbs you’ve previously recorded. No estimation or calculation required.


Flexible and personal to you


We know this carb counting approach won’t work for everyone. It’s impossible to build a solution that could cover every possible way people with diabetes view food but we’ve left some flexibility in there. 

Food name entering is free form and long, so if you want to detail every ingredient of a meal in a single entry, you have the option. If you would like to define each ingredient and assign carbs to each, this is also possible. Carb ranges even allow you to specify the exact carb value by entering the same value in both gram inputs so you can be precise if you want to. 

We hope you enjoy the latest version of the Quin app. If you’re unsure if this would work for you try it for a few days and see how it goes!

To download Quin and change the way you think about diabetes, click here.

Barry Rogers
Barry Rogers