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Carbohydrate-Counting Chart for People with Diabetes

A Single-Serving Reference Guide

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By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian         
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Carbohydrates are your body’s main energy source. During digestion, sugar (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) break down into blood sugar (glucose). If you consume too much carbohydrate-rich food at one time, your blood sugar levels may rise too high, which can be problematic. Monitoring your carbohydrate intake is a key to blood sugar control, as outlined in a plan by your doctor or dietitian.

Carbohydrates are found in lots of different foods. But the healthiest carbohydrate choices include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, beans, and low-fat dairy products. The chart below shows a single serving of carbohydrate-containing foods, which equals 15 grams:
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • I am on a keto low carb diet to control my diabetics . I have only been on it for 16 days and my sugar reading has gone from 250 to 180 in 2 weeks. Just by watching my carbs. - 4/18/2016 9:39:15 AM
  • Oh! Would have been perfect if you'd included soy milk - 1 cup = 15g of carbs or 1 serving. - 4/16/2016 4:04:22 PM
  • This is really helpful! I don't believe that dairy is good for diabetics (or the planet) but easy enough to copy this onto an Excel sheet and make it dairy-free. Thanks! - 4/16/2016 4:00:15 PM
  • Dry cereal, 3/4 cup?

    It depends on the cereal!! Puffed wheat or rice is so light and puffy, 3/4 of a cup would not be 15 grams, it would be less. Grape nuts, OTOH, are so very dense, we can only eat a small amount. Probably the article is referring to flakes, which would be in the middle.

    I read labels and look at the actual food. - 4/16/2016 7:16:07 AM
  • I'm trying to watch how many carbs I eat. I'm not a diabetic. My son is a type 1. So I'm always looking for chart to simplify how much is a carb. This is very helpful. Thank you. - 1/8/2016 7:57:07 AM
  • I am in the same boat. Just found an outstanding site http://www.dietdo
    ctor.com which is LCHF program. Hope it helps. - 12/17/2015 12:29:56 PM
  • I am in the same boat. Just found an outstanding site http://www.dietdo
    ctor.com which is LCHF program. Hope it helps. - 12/17/2015 12:29:56 PM
  • i am a type 2 diabetic and my a1c is 11 . I was told by my doctor i can have 15 to 20 carbs daily and i need a meal plan i need some adivice - 12/14/2015 6:49:57 PM
  • i just got told that I am pre diebetic I been a member of spark for a few years , but I am more into it this time than I was before . glad I found this page ......
    so if anyone want to spark mail me and give me info on this it would be greatly appreciated.since I been told this I have been going out walking 4-4.5 miles per day .. including little jogging in that info also ..

    looking to hear from some spark people ..
    Thanks - 10/18/2015 6:46:50 AM
  • DOTSHARP
    Good morning , I am on an Insulin pump , I had problems finding an easy to to goto chart this is it. I know it helps me to see just how much I am using and I can and from there . Most people do not understand that this is just a chart to help you add your carbs , like one slice of bread is 15 grams if you have two slices add them with what ever you put on it and EX, egg and cheese you have a sandwich= which would be about 45 grams ( estimating) . I have just learned this fact from my dietician , she loves this site . - 10/8/2015 9:00:03 AM
  • CINSCHULTE
    I like the article and the table but was also surprised to see any type of fruit juice listed. I have always been told to stay away from juice because of my diabetes. - 9/12/2015 10:35:29 PM
  • MAMACOLON7
    I always thought that beans & legumes were a form of protein but this list has them as a carb. Will have to ask the dietitian when I visit her. - 9/9/2015 10:14:34 AM
  • I'm not diabetic but I'm liking this chart. - 9/7/2015 8:20:33 PM
  • This is a wonderful guide and article for a diabetic struggling to understand - 7/21/2015 7:26:01 PM
  • 1ALISSUCCESS I read your post and from what I have found (and I research all of the time) we should never eat fruit alone. Fruit is changed immediately to glucose to a lesser or greater degree depending on the fiber in it or lack of fiber. I have read that when we eat something that is higher on the glycemic index we should eat something with it that will slow down the digestion and therefore keep the blood sugar from spiking. Fat (but make it healthy fat) and protein slow it down. It is good to add a bit of fruit to a green salad with a few nuts and just a bit of olive oil, or eat half an ounce of a fatty nut like walnuts or almonds with a small bowl of berries with no sweetener, or have a small apple with 1 TBS of nut butter.....all of those things slow down the digestion so all of the sugar doesn't hit your bloodstream at the same time. - 7/19/2015 10:07:49 PM

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