Tracking Diabetes with MyNetDiary
- 28 Minutes Read
Welcome to MyNetDiary Diabetes Tracker! This article will help you use it to its fullest - as a powerful diabetes tracking tool. Tracking helps identify relationships between blood glucose, weight, exercise, medication, and food and beverage intake. Once these relationships are understood, you can analyze, plan, and then act to better control your blood glucose levels, and therefore, diabetes. Controlling diabetes is especially important to avoid or lower your risk for damage to your eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
If you haven't read the Diabetes Basics article, we highly recommend reading it first for background information on diabetes. I hope that after reading Diabetes Basics, you are convinced of the importance of tracking to improve blood glucose control and achieve optimal health.
MyNetDiary Diabetes Tracker is built from the ground up to store and organize your carb intake, medication, exercise, blood glucose, and other physical parameters all in one place, providing charts, overviews, and reports based on the information you track.
The mobile app helps you make your tracking consistent, since you are more likely to stay on top of logging if MyNetDiary is at your fingertips. Another benefit is that the mobile app optionally backs up data to the web and syncs up when a connection is available.
For Premium members, the website provides all the tracking features the mobile app has and more! You can view charts and reports on a large screen, enter all tracking data efficiently using keyboard and mouse, combine several charts to see them together, use more chart and reporting options (including printing). The website allows optional sharing of your diary with others, provides internet-enabled integration with Withings and Fitbit and offers community forum participation.
Buying Premium membership is a great value! You get full access to diabetes tracking and all other MyNetDiary features from both web and free mobile apps. That is, if you purchase Premium membership, you do not need to purchase the Diabetes Tracker mobile app.
Tip: Each web page on the site has a "Help" link that provides additional information, guidelines, and tips. Each screen in the mobile app also has a "Help" button. Make sure to use them!
I strongly urge you to create a MyNetDiary account so that your data lives on a server at MyNetDiary rather than just on your mobile device. MyNetDiary will not spam or sell your contact information so take advantage of this feature. Setting up an account allows you to login to multiple devices as well as the website and enter foods and exercise online, even with a free MyNetDiary account. And most importantly, losing your phone doesn't mean losing all of your valuable diabetes data.
Tip: If you purchase Premium membership from MyNetDiary online, then you can test drive diabetes tracking while getting all of the tracking bells and whistles with a 14-day money back guarantee. And remember, purchase of Premium membership means you do not have to pay for a mobile app. Just download the free mobile app and then login with your Premium account name and password to unlock all features in the free mobile app.
When a person measures their blood glucose (BG), they get a blood glucose reading. At MyNetDiary, a blood glucose reading is referred to in several ways but they all mean the same thing: the value or number that comes from your blood glucose meter or from your continuous glucose monitor (CGM). You will see all of these terms used interchangeably with blood glucose readings: BG, BG entry, BG value, BG checks, and BG number.
Once you start to enter your blood glucose readings, Diabetes Tracker will help you quickly identify high and low BGs on reports and charts. You can customize BG target ranges for each testing condition (e.g. fasting, before lunch, after dinner, before bed, etc.). Those testing conditions are called "labels" in MyNetDiary. If your BG is above your target range, then that number will be highlighted in yellow. If your BG is below your target range, then that number will be highlighted in red. These color-coded highlights are very easy to spot on reports and charts so you cannot miss them.
Web.Your blood glucose readings are considered tracker entries - the tracker is "Blood Glucose." You can add, view, or modify your Blood Glucose tracker in "Daily Tracking." Add a blood glucose reading by tapping "+ Add entry." You can customize your BG target ranges by tapping "Customize Trackers." For your convenience, the tracker Blood Glucose has default target ranges set up for you: 70-130 mg/dL before meals, 70-180 mg/dL after meals, 90-150 mg/dL before bed, < 70 mg/dL for hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), and > 240 mg/dL for hyperglycemia (very high blood glucose). Target ranges affect how your values are displayed on reports and charts - similar to what you see on printouts downloaded from blood glucose meters or insulin pumps. Please customize these targets according to your healthcare provider's recommendations.
Mobile Apps. The first tracker displayed on the home screen is Blood Glucose, with your daily, pre-meal, and post-meal BG averages displayed. When you tap to open the BG tracker, you can enter a new BG, set a reminder to check your BG at a certain time, and/or set automatic prompts to check your BG after meals (once a meal has been entered with a timestamp). To customize your blood glucose target ranges as well as hypoglycemia (low) and hyperglycemia (high) cut-offs, use "BG Settings" screen accessible from Blood Glucose screen.
As in the web program, these goals and cut-offs affect how your blood glucose values are displayed on reports and charts. If you prefer using a large screen to set up your trackers and target ranges, then no worries - as long as you login into your mobile app using your account name and password, you will see all customizations and changes you made in the web program.
If you use a blood glucose meter or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that can sync with iPhone Health app, then you can sync those BG readings from Health app to MyNetDiary's iPhone app.
Tip: If your BG sync does not seem to be working, check that you completed Step #3 above. You must allow MyNetDiary to read BG data. If you accidentally chose to have MyNetDiary write BG data, then the system is looking at MyNetDiary for BG data to send to Health app (the wrong sync direction).
Blood glucose is a tracker whereas the term you use to describe the blood glucose reading is called a "label" (e.g. "fasting" or "after lunch"). Once a blood glucose entry has been entered into MyNetDiary, you can assign a label to that reading. Labels are descriptions - they serve to make entries more meaningful to you. You do not need to assign a label to every tracker value, but I strongly urge you to consider labeling all of your blood glucose entries so that you don't have to guess under what conditions you tested (e.g. fasting, before breakfast, feeling low, etc.). Our labels are similar to the labels you see in your blood glucose meter, except that we have many more options and you can also create your own labels.
You are not limited to one label - you can assign multiple labels to a tracker value if you wish. For instance, you can assign your fasting blood glucose reading with both "fasting" and "before breakfast" labels. Or, maybe you felt like you had low blood glucose when you tested before dinner - you could assign that value two labels: "feeling Low" and "before dinner."
Web. If you want to see labels that have already been created for your use, tap "Label Catalog". You can use any label you wish on any tracker. If you do not see what you want, you can create your own label in "Custom Labels."
Mobile App. As with the web, you have access to many labels that have already been created for your use. When you add a BG, tap "Assign Labels" just below the timestamp to see the existing list. You will first see the most commonly used labels rather than the entire list. As you create and use labels, they will also show up on the list of choices. If you do not see a label you wish to use, you can add a custom label.
To add a custom label in Android app, tap "Assign Labels" and then type your desired label in the search box. Similar to a food search, selections will immediately pop up that match your search criteria if they already exist. If you do not see what you want, you can add your own custom label right there by tapping the text "Tap here to create label (custom name)." Tap "save" in the upper righthand corner, and then tap "save" again on the next screen.
To add a custom label in iPhone app, tap "Assign Labels" and if you do not see your desired label in the list, tap the gear icon in the lower left hand corner of the screen. In "Edit Labels" screen, tap "Add custom label" and type the desired label. Be sure to tap "save" in the upper righthand corner to save your custom label.
Tip: If you want your app's home screen to display accurate pre-meal and post-meal blood glucose averages, then be sure to use the appropriate built-in labels. Pre-meal will average all blood glucose entries if they are assigned these labels: before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner, and before snack. Post-meal will average all entries if they are assigned these labels: after breakfast, 2h after breakfast, after lunch, 2h after lunch, after dinner, 2h after dinner, after snack, and 2h after snack.
To view your daily tracker values (e.g. Blood Glucose, Insulin, Medications, and Exercise) over the course of the day, tap Day Timeline* which is located just below Medications on your home screen. This report is organized into seven, 3-hour time periods, starting with midnight and ending with 11:59 PM. Because tracker values are grouped into specific time periods, day after day, it is easy to see how your blood glucose values are changing over days within the same time period. A nifty feature is that you can toggle between viewing your day's view or your weekly view. Weekly View is helpful when you want to see changes over time, especially with a recent change to medication dose.
* If you do not see Day Timeline in older versions of the app, look for Diabetes Overview, Day Overview or Day Part Report. These are obsolete names of the same report.
Web. If you like the big screen experience and prefer to look at tracker values for the day and over the course of a week all at once, be sure to view the Day Timeline on the web. To scroll through days in the web program, just page down to go backwards in time. You can also print detailed reports with varying time periods as a PDF file, or you can export the report to an Excel spreadsheet.
Mobile App. Tapping Day Timeline jumps you into the current time period. To view other time periods within the same day, just swipe your finger to the right or left to go forwards or backwards in time. Tap the horizontal date arrows to go forward or backward in days while staying within the same time period (e.g. 6 PM - 8:59 PM).
If you need to email your Day Timeline to another person, then purchase Premium membership so that you can access diabetes tracking from the web program. This will allow you to download the report in Excel or PDF format so that you can attach it to an email.
To see a nice, large graph of your blood glucose readings over time, "Diabetes Charts" on the web gives you the best view as well as the capability to print. As you scroll vertically down the page, you will see graphs of macronutrient intake, exercise, medications, and other items you have chosen to track. To print these charts, you need a need a Premium membership. To email the chart, download the PDF report and then attach it to your email.
In the mobile app you can also see the graphs in "Charts" row, but the view is smaller and you cannot print from the app screen. Still, it gives you a quick visual representation of your blood glucose readings and out of range values are easily spotted by color.
You are no longer stuck with those limited and awkward carb counters that some meters or pumps provide for carb counting, nor do you have to purchase a carb counting book. Diabetes Tracker has a large, high-quality database of over 845,000 foods, updated daily. If a food is missing or outdated, you can use PhotoFood Service to have MyNetDiary enter or correct a food item for you. This grows the database with quality control.
For veteran MyNetDiary users, entering meals and snacks is the same. However, there are a few safety features implemented for Diabetes Tracker, as well as some tips that you might find helpful.
Timestamp Food & Exercise. Use this feature so that the system totals your carbs by meals and snacks correctly. If you enter meals and snacks earlier or later than the actual time consumed, then be sure to correct the time stamp for those entries. This feature is also helpful to get a correct time stamp for exercise performed. To use this feature, turn on time tracking (or time stamp) in Settings. Time stamp will also help you take advantage of automated prompts to check your post-meal BG at the correct time. Timing is important when you review your reports to find relationships between food, exercise, medication, and blood glucose.
MyNetDiary provides four types of meals, but snack foods eaten within one hour will be grouped together, so you will have separate carb counts for as many snack meals as you need. If you are a late night eater, then remember that the day changes at 12 AM. If you prefer to see your foods grouped together on the previous day (and you ate close to midnight), then you could simply choose to log your intake at 11:59 PM. If food time tracking is not displayed, you can turn it on in Settings.
Carbs quick view. For your safety and convenience, you can view a food item's carb count in the app during food entry, without having to tap to view the Nutrition Facts panel. This allows you to quickly check that you have chosen the appropriate food item and serving size (and therefore, carb count) before logging the item.
Choose the correct food item. Make sure you select the right food, even if you use the built-in barcode scanner. Occasionally, a food is out of date or the pack size changes and affects the portion size, and therefore, carb count. To add a missing food item, you can either create a custom food and enter the nutrients yourself, or you use PhotoFood Service and let MyNetDiary enter the data for you based upon pictures you take of the food package. PhotoFood Service for Diabetes Tracker app allows you to enter carbs in addition to calories, to ensure correct carb count while your request is being processed.
If you log mostly basic foods, then learn how to find them by reading MyNetDiary's blog post 4 Tips for Searching & Finding Basic Foods.
Enter an accurate serving size. Entering an incorrect portion size can throw off your carb count and make it too high or low. Ideally, measure or weigh your food and beverage intake for best accuracy. Read Measuring & Estimating Portion Size for more tips.
User contributed foods. To improve carb count accuracy, foods entered by others ("Contributed") are hidden from view when Diabetes Tracking is toggled on in Settings. However, your existing custom-entered foods are still available if you are a MyNetDiary member who has upgraded to Diabetes Tracker. Also, you can still copy foods and recipes from other members if they allow sharing. To learn more about how to share custom foods or recipes, please see Appendix A: Sharing Custom Foods & Recipes.
Tracking carbohydrates with MyNetDiary Diabetes Tracker is unique - you have the choice of three different types of carb totals to track: Total Carbs, Net Carbs, or Diabetes Carb Count. Choose which method you prefer in Settings.
Total Carbs. The most common method of carb counting is to count total carb grams listed on the Nutrition Facts panel. This is the method of carb counting most often taught in diabetes education classes, especially for people newly diagnosed with diabetes.
Net Carbs. This value comes from subtracting all fiber and sugar alcohol grams from total carb grams. This method is no longer taught in diabetes education classes since it underestimates the total digestible carb load (and therefore, the expected rise in blood glucose after eating). Some amount of soluble or viscous fibers, although not digested in the small intestine, can be broken down in the large intestine, absorbed, and then converted to glucose. Also, some amount of sugar alcohols (low caloric sweetener) can be broken down and converted to glucose. This form of carb counting is fine for low carb diets but if you take rapid-acting insulin and find that your post-meal blood glucose is too high, then you might want to get help with adjusting your insulin to carb ratio or choose a different carb counting method.
Diabetes Carb Count. For those of you who use an insulin to carb ratio to dose your rapid-acting insulin, you might have been taught advanced carb counting. MyNetDiary Diabetes Tracker includes this method of carb counting as "Diabetes Carb Count:"
Total Carbs - 1/2 (fiber if >= 5 grams/serving) - 1/2 (sugar alcohols if >= 5 grams/serving)
Please talk with your diabetes educator about the type of carb counting to follow or if you need help transitioning from one method to another.
Safety Tip: Diabetes Tracker counts carbohydrate grams from all foods and drinks. This means that the carb count is going to be higher than manual carb counts from just the major carbohydrate-containing food groups (i.e. starches, sweets, milk, and fruit). If you are new to using a device to count carbs and you use an insulin to carb ratio, then your ratio might need to be adjusted so that 1 unit of insulin covers more grams of carbs. Your post-meal blood glucose readings will inform you if your insulin to carb ratio is still appropriate or not. If you have always counted carbs from all foods, then no change to your insulin to carb ratio is anticipated. Please consult your diabetes care team if you need help adjusting your insulin to carb ratio.
For people who take insulin, MyNetDiary provides a special insulin tracker. If you don't need it, you can turn off insulin tracking in Settings. If you use insulin but do not see it on your app's home screen, then go into Settings and toggle on "Show Insulin" (iPhone) or go into Settings / BG & Diabetes Settings, and check mark "Show Insulin" (Android). Note that you can track more than one type of insulin.
Web. Go to Diabetes tab, and then tap Customize Trackers link. Tap "Select Insulin" button and check mark which ones you want to track. If you don't find your insulin, you can tap "Add Insulin" button to enter a customized insulin.
Mobile Apps. In Insulin row on Home screen, tap the gear icon, then tap "Select Insulin" to check mark the ones you wish to track. There are many types of insulin already set up for you to use, but if you do not see yours, then go back one screen, tap Create Insulin Tracker, and then enter the details in the Create Tracker screen and save. You can always deactivate an existing insulin tracker by dragging and dropping it into the Inactive Trackers area.
After you choose which types of insulin to track, enter your dose by tapping the insulin row and then type of insulin. Enter the dose and correct time of dose. You do not have to assign a label to your insulin dose, but you can if you feel that the time stamp is not enough of a description. If you want to add a lengthier description, then use the "Notes" field (just below the label field).
If you log using the web program, go to Diabetes tab, Daily Tracking link, and then tap "+ Add Entry" to enter your dose and time. You can assign a label and enter notes about the dose - both are optional.
For those of you who manually mix your insulins, you can decide how you want to track the two insulins. The safest way to track is to choose to track both insulin types so that the correct dose and time for each is displayed. For instance, if I take 5 UNITS of Humalog and 12 UNITS of NPH, then I would have two entries: Humalog, 5 UNITS and NPH, 12 UNITS and both should have the same timestamp.
However, if that is a nuisance, then you can simply create a custom insulin tracker with a name that includes both insulins and their doses (e.g. 5 Humalog + 12NPH), with Insulin Type = MIX. When you enter your dose, enter the total # of units. For my example, I would enter my dose as "17."
For reporting and later analysis and learning, it is most important that you enter the correct dose and time that you took your insulin.
Ever wonder how exercise affects your blood glucose? Stop relying on memory - now you have a specific tool to help you see relationships between exercise calories and blood glucose control. In addition to calories burned, exercise entries contain exercise description, amount, time of day and user notes. For experienced MyNetDiary users, exercise logging remains the same except for the option of including a time stamp. I strongly urge you to use a timestamp for all exercises so that you can see how it affects blood glucose readings.
Tip: If you are trying to discover timing relationships between exercise, medication, and blood glucose, I advise you to turn off Step Bonus feature and instead, track exercise so that you have an accurate time stamp for each bout of exercise.
In addition to tracking blood glucose, insulin, carbs, and exercise, you can also track oral and injectable medications, heart rate, blood pressure, blood lipids, and Hemoglobin A1C. You can also track "Comments" if you wish - this might be a good place to track your perceptions of stress on a daily basis. You can also create your own custom trackers.
Finding existing medications and adding new custom medications is performed in the same way as you just learned about for insulin.
Mobile apps: To select other trackers (e.g. blood pressure), tap the "Trackers" row on the home screen (iPhone) or in drop down menu (Android). Tap the gear icon and select what you wish to track. You can define a target value for each tracker if you wish (e.g. 130/80 for blood pressure). Please be sure to use targets that your healthcare provider and/or diabetes educator has recommended for you. For instance, many folks with diabetes use these goals:
Once a tracker is selected, you can enter your lab value, time, assign a label and write notes about it.
Hemoglobin A1C. Please consider including this predefined tracker - it is the strongest predictor of complications due to diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends A1C testing every 3 months until target is achieved. For most folks, an A1C < 7% is the target but please follow your health care provider's recommended target which might be higher or lower.
Ketones. You can track ketones as a custom tracker. Tracking ketones is especially important when you are sick, your blood glucose readings are very high, and/or when you are pregnant.
These tests are also important in your management of diabetes and all of these can be added as custom trackers:
Diabetes Tracker provides more than just macronutrient planning - there is nutrient planning for up to 40 nutrients. Following a heart healthy meal plan is extremely important given that people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease than if they did not have diabetes. Default goals are consistent with the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association guidelines. Nutrient goals can also be edited to suit your personalized plan. For veteran MyNetDiary users, this functionality is the same.
As with MyNetDiary, Diabetes Tracker displays Daily as well as Weekly Analysis in Analysis row in the app, and in the Details tab on the web. The Analysis screen highlights both your calories status for the day as well as provides a quick snapshot of your current nutrient intake compared to specific goals. This screen also toggles to a weekly summary of highlights. Weekly Summary is super nifty in that it also tells you how many days you tracked and which meals were missing. This makes correcting your food record very easy. Read Planning Weight & Calories and Planning Your Nutrient Needs for more information about the many tools MyNetDiary offers to help you eat healthier and achieve a healthier weight.
Important safety issue: MyNetDiary default nutrient goals are not appropriate for people with gestational diabetes, advanced kidney disease, or after bariatric surgery. Please customize nutrient targets with the goals recommended by your healthcare provider instead of using the default goals.
MyNetDiary was originally designed to help a person lose weight. Losing weight and avoiding weight regain is especially important for those who have prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes since it improves insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. Diabetes Tracker has a flexible calories and macronutrient planner, supported by Daily and Weekly Analysis feedback. An "autopilot" feature on the web Plan page allows automatic plan adjustments so that you achieve your target weight by your target date.
MyNetDiary supports English and metric units for weight and height. For blood glucose readings, both mg/dL and mmol/L are supported. Kilojoules can be selected instead of calories. For clock settings, mobile apps use your phone settings. In web program, you can select 12-hour vs. 24-hour clock in Settings (see Date and Time). See MyNetDiary Settings for these options.
I encourage you to login to MyNetdiary's web program and visit Community. You can choose to share your data with other members, find peer support, join groups and teams, or simply post questions or reflections on forum threads. If you have questions for our dietitians and diabetes educators, please feel free to comment in MyNetDiary Community Forum or MyNetDiary Facebook page. We love hearing from our members!
Last Updated on May 15, 2018
You can share custom foods and recipes with other members! Here is an easy way to do this without allowing access to your log or weight history.