A diabetic often must balance carbohydrate intake with insulin demands. Keeping track of carbohydrate content of various foods in the diet can improve weight control and avoid both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.


The basis for carbohydrate counting is the carbohydrate serving of 15 grams.


Exchange for 1 Carbohydrate Serving

Contents per Serving


15 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams protein, <= 1 gram fat


15 grams carbohydrate

milk or dairy product

12 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams protein


If fiber in the diet is high (> 5 grams) then the amount of fiber can be subtracted from the amount of total carbohydrate.


available carbohydrate in grams =

= (total carbohydrate in grams) - (fiber in grams if > 5 grams)


The total amount of carbohydrate in a meal is used to determine the amount of rapid-acting insulin to use in a basal-bolus dosing regimen.


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