Nutrition Articles

Carbohydrate-Counting Chart for People with Diabetes

A Single-Serving Reference Guide

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:

Grains 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Bagel (white or whole wheat) 1/2 of a small
Bread (white or whole wheat) 1 slice (1 ounce)
Bun (white or whole wheat) 1/2 of a small
Crackers, round butter style 6
Dry cereal, unsweetened 3/4 cup
English muffin 1/2 of a small
Hot cereal (oatmeal, grits, etc.) 1/2 cup cooked
Macaroni, noodles, pasta or spaghetti 1/3 cup cooked
Pancakes and waffles 1 (4-inch diameter)
Pizza crust, thin 1/8 of a 12-inch pizza
Rice (white or brown) 1/3 cup cooked
Beans & Legumes 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Baked beans 1/3 cup cooked
Beans (navy, black, pinto, red, etc.) 1/2 cup cooked
Lentils 1/2 cup cooked
Starchy Vegetables 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Baked potato (regular or sweet) 1/2 medium (4 inches long)
Corn 1/2 cup cooked
French fries, regular cut 10-15 fries
Peas 1/2 cup cooked
Winter squash (acorn, butternut, etc.) 1 cup cooked
Vegetable soup 1 cup
Fruits 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Apple 1 small
Banana 1/2 medium
Blackberries/Blueberries 3/4 cup
Canned fruit (in light syrup or juice) 1/2 cup
Cantaloupe 1 cup cubed
Cherries 12 to 15
Grapefruit 1/2 large
Grapes 17 small
Honeydew melon 1 cup
Orange 1 small
Peach 1 small
Pear 1 small
Raspberries 1 cup
Strawberries 1 1/2 cup whole
Watermelon 1 1/4 cup cubed
100% Fruit Juices 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Apple juice 1/2 cup
Cranberry juice 1/3 cup
Grape juice 1/3 cup
Grapefruit juice 1/2 cup
Orange juice 1/2 cup
Pineapple juice 1/2 cup
Dairy Products 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Milk (skim or 1% fat) 1 cup
Yogurt (plain, light or sugar-free) 1 cup
Sweets & Snacks 1 Serving = 15 g carbs
Cookies 2 small
Chips 0.75 oz
Frozen yogurt, regular 1/2 cup
Ice cream (light) 1/2 cup
Popcorn (plain or air-popped) 3 cups
Pretzels 0.75 oz
Pudding (sugar-free) 1/2 cup

For more information about eating with Type 2 diabetes, click here.
For more specific information or help, talk to your health care provider. The American Diabetes Association's National Call Center also offers live advice from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday at 1-800-DIABETES or 1-800-342-2383.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Amy Poetker, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator.

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Member Comments

  • Thank you for this excellent article.
  • Very convenient chart.
  • i know this is an older article, but it's really good information.
  • 1CARLA4,
    I don't know how old your request for tips for getting back on the wagon are, but here's what I use to keep me motivated to control my diabetes...
    TEST CONSISTENTLY: test your blood anywhere from 3 - 6 times per day. Start as soon as you are up and around in the morning before consuming any food and finish right before going to bed. I have found nothing better to getting a grip on my carb intake than seeing a BG over 200 BEFORE eating lunch.

    Sprinkle your other testing around at random times of the day with an awareness of what you've eaten and how long it's been. My bottom line is that I don't want to lose my eyesight, my fingers, toes, or kidneys to this degenerative condition. Therefore, the long term habit of doing frequent testing keeps me constantly reminded that my pancreas is no longer as healthy as it should be.

    Blessings upon your efforts to regain control over your health,
  • 1CARLA4
    Hi, I was diagnosed about 10 years ago as type 2 diabetic, I followed a low carb diet by watching carbs and portions, when I started I weigh about 245 I ended up at 189 which was good because my a1c was 10.1 and I got it down to 6.1, well I literally fell off the wagon and am having a hard time getting back on, even though I know I have to but just can't do it!! I am trying following the low carb diet and portion control and do it for a few days then off the wagon I go. Any ideas how to get past the few day thing and stay on the wagon short of putting on a seat belt!! Anyone having problems? Would love to know and woud love to have help and maybe help each other!! thanks for listening! My a1c is now 8.2.
  • Would like to see some carb suggestiins for bariatric patients.
  • very helpful & useful
  • Good information
  • Very informative and helpful.
  • JANNEBARN what a weird comment!! First off....note the date of the article. Spark often re-publishes old articles. Don't blame the author. Second...what EXACTLY is out dated about the chart???

    While in recent years there has been more discussion of the effect of other diet influences than carbs, I don't see ANY recommendations here for ANY specific amount of carbs that any one of us should consume. The actual grams of carbs in foods is baseline, scientific information. How YOU choose to use it depends on the parameters you and your medical advisors have set up.
  • Helpful...thank you. There are positive and negative/hurtful ways of saying things. I appreciate the people who take the time to find a positive way to say things.
  • Typical Becky Hand - outdated information.
  • I am diabetic and this chart will really help! Thanks!

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.