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Carbohydrate-Counting Chart for People with Diabetes

A Single-Serving Reference Guide

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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

  • ANNINBAR
    your web site is a waist of time - 6/21/2015 12:39:20 PM
  • I am 35 and have type 2 diabetes , as well as being allergic to wheat, tree nuts,and latex, (which includes things like bananas ,avocados) I am struggling on keeping my BS down my average has been in the mid 200's . I am not sure how many carbs per day I should even be eating . Any Advice? - 4/10/2015 10:53:59 AM
  • wow I am kind of shocked to see the bagel and bread as a snack. Most bagels make your sugars soar Fruit juice as snack?? what am I missing? - 3/22/2015 5:25:38 PM
  • BIRDLADY54
    hello new to this site. I am also new to diabetes type 2 I saw on here a grocery list chart. for low carbs also a list of foods good for you. now I can not find it I was going to print it. Can someone guide me to the printable food lists?? Thanks so much - 3/4/2015 11:41:53 AM
  • I really need help. I am diabetic and have heart problems. One doc says Diabetic diet and the other says heart healthy diet. One day I only had 535 calories total and it said to much cholesterol. My fasting BS runs between 200 and 208. I am extremely confused as to what I should eat and what I shouldn't et. I love egg white omelets and I love veggies of all types. I eat a lot of roasted, baked and grilled chicken and fish. Very seldom fried foods. Not a big bread or potato person. If I have a hamburger I use lettuce for a bun. What am I doing wrong? Any help would be appreciated. I also have high blood pressure, Hyperlipidemia, Fibromyalgia and other things. I take Niacin 1000 mg 2 times daily, Glipizide, Metformin and insulin shots once per day for diabetes. - 2/5/2015 12:42:49 PM
  • I, too, have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I am 71, and thankful that I have made it to this age before any problems started. It took care of both my parents with Type 2 Diabetes, therefore, I'm pretty used to the diet.

    A great start, and for some people it will be extremely difficult, but NO EATING OUT! Unless you are eating at a healthy restaurant.

    Next, NO prepackaged 'shortcut' meals. Make things from scratch. It's not difficult, and you know exactly what is going into your body.

    You will be surprised at the difference this makes in blood sugar numbers, and weight. You will be able to eat more food when you are cooking from scratch than when you eat packaged or prepared foods that have all the 'bad' additives, and added sugar and carbohydrates included, with very little food substance.
    - 1/26/2015 10:17:09 AM
  • hi
    i was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes Oct 13,2014 I have had pre diabetes for several years and theDR told me i am over the hill now and i need to eat healthier, lose weight and excercise well no HELP and how do you expect me to do that , he never gave me any advise no diet and nothing on where do i start in the next couple of weeks i had a app with my gyno and i had to tell her about my new life she asked me wheat i was doing and I said NOTHING she said your Dr didn't tell you what to do NOPE so she set me up app's with a nuturist and a dietican I got some advise but i am still scared . i am on a diabetis group they nothing white (flour,rice,potat
    oes, pasta or bread ) no corn or beans so what are you supposed to eat ? people on here sent me messages but i am not being able to read them ...

    - 1/12/2015 11:12:19 PM
  • My husband is diabetic & has been having trouble getting his numbers right. This will help immensly as I think our problem is too may carbs! I am also pre-diabetic & I worry about my 3 children as well... - 12/26/2014 11:35:21 AM
  • FRANCINEJM60
    MHoward Read your post. I have type 2 DM. The nutrionist put me on 60 carbs for each meal and 15 carbs for snacks 2 snacks a day. about 1500 cal. - 10/9/2014 7:18:16 AM
  • Thanks for the info. I'm pre-diabetic and have been keeping things under control for a couple of years now. What a wake up call! The info in the chart is very helpful. Is there any way to make if "printer friendly"? Great info to post on the frig! - 10/8/2014 10:07:17 AM
  • I have been diagnosed with pre diabetes. My A1C is 6.4 I have been put on a high protein diet. Tonight , 2 hours after dinner I took a reading and it was out of sight at 181. I had green beans, steak(3 oz) and fruit. Totally freaked out. - 8/25/2014 11:33:19 PM
  • CATHYOWENSBY
    this is to all of you who are dealing with type 2 diabetes. Fatty liver disease as tigereyes mentioned is something to take VERY seriously. I was diagnosed with fatty liver disease 3.5 years ago and did not take it seriously. in fact I was trying to fool myself that the doctors must have this all wrong. I ate what I wanted and my weight stayed above #.
    well, three months, 8 days ago I had a liver transplant. yes a transplant. all this from not taking fatty liver disease SERIOUSLY.
    So,after almost losing my life, losing almost 80#'s (not from dieting but from being VERY ill!), changing my eating habits along with counting carbs and proteins, I have learned the hard way!
    tigereyes2 don't be a fool like myself. I would not wish this on my worst enemy! - 7/22/2014 6:15:06 PM
  • UTOO73
    I have added concentrated whey to my diet. If I maintain carbs and fat... protein ALWAYS falls short. I rarely exceed 1500 calories in a day and average around 1250. One of the reasons though I looked into protein was having a high glucose count upon awaking. Even though I had eaten less that 50 carbs a meal and under 20 fat. Turns out the body naturally kicks in your insulin around 3AM.. and since you are lowering carb and fat, there is nothing there to digest. So I began to fix a soy and protein shake before bed... using about 1/4 to 1/2 a serving of the whey protein. It dropped my morning blood sugar between 30 to 40 points. I almost register as normal.

    One cautionary note...if you get no exercise, you probably want to limit how much protein you add. For me... I had to learn. A good sign you are adding to much is having to urinate often...it's your body trying to shed excess.

    Anyway, that's what's working for me... - 2/24/2014 3:54:29 PM
  • Fitness barb, I am having trouble with by Blood Sugar numbers, they have been really high and I have been following the suggested SP diabetic food plan requested of me, except sometimes, going over the requested range of calories.
    I hear about other people on a 1500-1700 calorie food plan. Mine is 1700 to 2100, isn't that too many calories? What can I do about my high BS numbers, should I eliminate fruit as a snack after lunch?

    Can you please reply and advise me, i'm waiting to see a Nutritionist until next month. This is my second week in the program, and I am stuck with my weight , at a plateau, from 225-231, back and forth. I lost 92 pounds from the middle of October to the middle of December. Then the yo-yoing began. I guess my body just needs to figure out what is my set point weight. I am thinner than I have been in year, since before I got married, over almost 30 years. I am happy with my present weight loss but anxious to continue and reach that illusive goal weight. I heard on SP that your weight loss is not a race but a lifetime of changes. I still haven't completely given up sugar, that's the next step. - 2/21/2014 11:32:30 PM
  • TIGEREYES2
    I am where many of you are., I am a newly diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic, I also have NAFL (non alcohol fatty liver) I've been on this group and they insist on the low carb/high fat way of living, but I cannot bring myself to accept this as being healthy. I have seen my sugars coming down from 9.3 to an average of 5 or 6 in about 4 weeks, (diagnosed Dec 23/13) I do have some carbs, but have not seen a dietician yet. I see her in Feb. - 1/25/2014 10:19:08 PM

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