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Carbohydrate-Counting Chart for People with Diabetes

A Single-Serving Reference Guide
  -- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
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: <pagebreak>

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.