Counting Carbohydrate Grams or Servings

Counting Carbohydrate Grams or Servings

Overview

Your doctor, registered dietitian, or certified diabetes educator may suggest that you use one of two ways to count carbohydrates in your diet. Use the method that is easiest for you.

For both, 15 grams of carbohydrate equals one serving. You can either:

Count grams of carbohydrates.

For example, if you want to eat 45 grams of carbohydrates, you would choose three servings of carbohydrate food (3 servings x 15 grams per serving = 45 grams). You could choose one serving of three different foods (such as oatmeal, milk, and half of a banana) or three servings of the same food (such as a larger serving of oatmeal).

Count servings of carbohydrates.

Instead of counting grams of carbohydrates, you would count 3 carbohydrate servings.

How to plan your daily amount

Your daily amount of carbs depends on several things, such as your weight, how active you are, which diabetes medicines you take, and what your goals are for your blood sugar levels. A registered dietitian or diabetes educator can help you plan how many carbs to include in each meal and snack.

For most adults, a guideline for the daily amount of carbs is:

  • 45 to 60 grams at each meal. That's about the same as 3 to 4 carbohydrate servings.
  • 15 to 20 grams at each snack. That's about the same as 1 carbohydrate serving.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.