Nutrition Articles

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

  • 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
  • It is my understanding that if you we eat too much of anything, including healthy foods like grilled chicken and steamed low carb veggies, the body turns extra calories into glucose for energy for the brain and/or stores the calories for fat.. I think the key is not only watching the carbs but watching the portions of everything, even what are considered "safe" foods. I have found that daily walking, and I try to do intervals of low intensity and then high intensity has made a difference in my glucose insensitivity (I am pre-diabetic). The lowest carb fruits are the berries....if you eat bananas, the greener the better....they get sweeter as they ripen. Also, fiber matters, so apples are much better for us than bananas! When you count your carbs you can subtract the fiber from the carb count of a food....avocados, while they have a lot of fat, have so much fiber, it almost cancels out the carbs. But be careful of the fat, and remember that avocados can make you hungrier...if they do, don't eat them and if you do choose to eat them, only 1/4 of one a day. - 7/19/2015 9:58:00 PM
  • My Dr. put me on insulin pump in Feb. since my A1C was 12.5. I have been working hard on eating healthy and exercise since then as I want to get off the pump and be healthy. My A1C is now 7.7 and hopefully when reviewed at next blood test will be below 6. My cholesterol levels are also now in order and my high blood pressure down. My bloodwork tells how hard I have been working. I have found that eating either eggs or avocado for breakfast starts the day out right. (Eat whole avocado and mix in tab bit of lemon juice and hot sauce w/Salt&Pepper). I spread it on 2 pc. of Jewish Rye toast (15 carbs for 2 pcs.). Spend hours at your grocery store reading the labels and choose only products that are the lowest in carbs. Watch the sugars too, but mostly carbs. Try to keep under 30 carbs a day. I drink Kumbacha green tea with my breakfast. No pop or cola's. Only tea, water and an occassional Powerade Zero but trying to cut those out too. Light & Fit Greek Yogurt seems to be the lowest carbs for yogurt as well. Buy frozen veggies and not canned. Fill up on veggies!!! - 7/19/2015 1:26:24 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

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