An Exploration into Understanding Perceptions about Food Estimation and Portion Control in Type 2 Diabetic Thai Adults: A Qualitative Study


  • Pornsawan Prutanopajai Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chulalongkorn University
  • Jongjit Angkatavanich Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Chulalongkorn University
  • Thiti Snabboon Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand


Portion control, Food estimation, Type 2 diabetes, Healthy food, Diabetes education, Qualitative study


Control of portion size is a crucial goal in medical nutrition therapy for people with type 2 diabetes. This study aimed to explore the understanding about food estimation and portion control in Thai adults with type 2 diabetes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 Thai adults type 2 diabetes. A deductive thematic analysis of the transcriptions of audio recording was used to create codes, an index, and themes. Four major themes were identified: (i) Misunderstandings surrounding the most appropriate diet for diabetics and sources of carbohydrate; (ii) Problems with the methods of food estimation; (iii) External factors contributing to overconsumption; (iv) Attitudes leading to malpractice. Participants misunderstood some dietary concepts, especially those surrounding carbohydrates. They perceived that rice as being a bad carbohydrate source, while fruit is a good one. Participants’ misconceptions surrounding portion controlled to inaccurate food estimation and lower varieties of food types. Diabetes educators need to clarify the concept of a healthy diet with people with type 2 diabetes as well as concepts of diabetes management and a treatment goal. The usual estimation techniques need to be adjusted to suit local Thai eating styles. The addressing of external factors affecting behavior should be of greater concern during dietary education; the factors including constraints around jobs and the social impact of family and friends.


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How to Cite

Prutanopajai, P., Angkatavanich, J., & Snabboon, T. (2018). An Exploration into Understanding Perceptions about Food Estimation and Portion Control in Type 2 Diabetic Thai Adults: A Qualitative Study. Journal of Nutrition Association of Thailand, 53(2), 54–70. Retrieved from



Research article