Between counting calories, carbohydrates, and sugar intake, and tracking your blood glucose levels, exercise, and weight, managing diabetes can be a full-time effort. If you feel overwhelmed by all of the work involved, a diabetes management app could take some stress out of the equation.

A Breakthrough for Managing Diabetes

"Smartphones and apps have been a real breakthrough for patients and educators, since they enable patients with diabetes or prediabetes to fine-tune their management skills," says Elaine M. Massaro, MS, RN, CDE, a clinical nurse specialist, certified diabetes educator, and research coordinator associated with the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE). Most apps eliminate the need for diabetes patients to rely on memory, or to carry papers and pocket calculators, Massaro notes. Instead, a variety of apps make it easy to gather essential information right from a smartphone or computer.

Finding the Right Match

Marina Chaparro, MPH, RDN, CDE, LD, a clinical dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has seen firsthand how apps can help people of all ages with diabetes to feel more in control. She says that with so many great options available today, the challenge is finding the right one for the patient.

Top Diabetes Apps

Here are of some of Massaro and Chaparro’s top picks for popular diabetes apps, most of which can be used on both androids and iPhones:

  1. Fooducate: This free health app is designed to help people eat well and take control of their health. Use the app to plan balanced meals and track weight loss progress. As added bonus, users can scan bar codes on foods to see a grade for the item’s calorie count and nutritional value. You can also look up the nutritional information for popular foods through the Fooducate website. This makes it an especially important resource for people who need to know what is in every bite of food they eat. (You can also upgrade to a paid version for more personalized advice.)
  2. Glucose Buddy: The basic version of this app is free and works in conjunction with the user’s blood glucose monitor, downloading blood sugar readings throughout the day and keeping them in a detailed log. Users can also log their blood pressure, medications, weight, and exercise data, as well as add personal notes and set reminders, helping them develop a comprehensive snapshot of their health status.
  3. ControlMyWeight: This paid app ($4.99), works with the Calorie King website and book, both of which are often recommended to diabetes patients by health care professionals. Use ControlMyWeight to check calorie count on foods and make sure that your calorie intake and expenditure are optimal for weight loss. No Internet connection is needed, so the app can work wherever you are. The website also provides a host of nutritional information for popular fast food places to help navigate eating on the go.
  4. Fitbit : The free Fitbit app syncs with several different types of Fitbit wearable exercise health trackers, as well as the Fitbit website. The trackers, which sell for between $50 and $100+, make it easy to compile activity data through the app, such as how may steps you took, miles you walked, and calories you burned over the course of the day. In addition, you can use the food log feature to track your calories. Your app logs can also be accessed through the Fitbit website, enabling you to move between your mobile app and computer seamlessly.
  5. Diabetes Goal TrackerThis app, which is available at no charge from the AADE, is designed to help you set reasonable goals based on the best practices in diabetes management. These include eating better, becoming more active, monitoring blood glucose, taking medications as prescribed, problem solving, reducing complications, and seeing your progress over time. The app also provides regular tips to help you stay on track with your efforts. 
  6. Insulin Calc: This free app is for people who require multiple injections daily. Users can plug in their individual settings, such as their insulin to carb ratios, target blood glucose, and glucose sensitivity (the amount that one unit of insulin drops blood glucose). People with diabetes can enter information about what they are eating and their blood glucose reading, and let the tool calculate needed meal-time insulin, along with corrections for high blood sugars. An online version is available at
  7. mySugr Companion: This free app makes logging information easy and convenient; it’s helpful for staying on top of your daily food intake, blood glucose, and insulin. The app helps you stay motivated by offering feedback on your entries and setting up friendly challenges to encourage you to achieve personal goals. You can earn points for accomplishments, which some users find makes managing diabetes more individualized and less stressful. It also allows you to create reports and send right to your health care providers. (A more robust version is available for $19.95.)

Food for Thought

These are just a handful of the many apps you can download today to manage diabetes. And while most apps can be helpful, keep in mind that some of the "free" apps may require an upgrade to a paid version to get the full range of features available. In addition, how you use the app is crucial to get the best results: "Remember that even the best app won’t be completely effective without your participation and also support from your physician and diabetes educator," Massaro stresses.

Marina Chaparro, MPH, RDN, CDE, LD, and Elaine M. Massaro, MS, RN, CDE, reviewed this article. 


Marina Chaparro, MPH, RDN, CDE, LD, clinical dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Email interview, June 5, 2014. 

Elaine M. Massaro, MS, RN, CDE, a clinical nurse specialist, CDE, and research coordinator associated with the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE).