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Carbohydrate-Counting Chart for People with Diabetes

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. I really needed this! Report
This is a great article and a good resource. Report
Thanks for the chart. I printed it and place it on the kitchen as a ready reference. Report
Thanks! for info.great stuff Report
Good info...Thanks for the share. Report
Super article...now if only there were a simple diabetic exchange counter we could use easily here. I donít want to leave SparkPeople, but I also donít want to have to track in two separate places. I know, I know; itís all just tracking. But I was just given a diabetic-type exchange chart and I canít stand the thought of having to flip back and forth between chart and logging in foods here. Why hasnít this been done already? (Not expecting an answer here, I know. I will be copying and mailing emailing this to the friendly folks at SparkPeople for feedback.) Report
My husband is type 2 diabetic and this chart is extremely helpful. Thanks so much. Report
The chart is helpful. Report
Thank you for this excellent article. Report
ROCKS8ROX
Very convenient chart. Report
i know this is an older article, but it's really good information. Report
TOMATOCAFEGAL
HELPFUL CHART Report
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,
Dave Report
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. Report
Would like to see some carb suggestiins for bariatric patients. Report


 

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.
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