Diabetes and Carb Counting – Why is it Important?

Counting carbs (short for carbohydrates) is a critical component for not only controlling you blood sugar, but also for weight management.

Diabetes and Carb Counting – Why is it so important?

As many of us know, carbs are what have the biggest impact on our blood sugar. In addition, these foods also provide our body with ‘high-octane’ fuel — meaning, carbs are our bodies preferred energy source (gasoline). Therefore, setting a goal for how many carbs you eat per meal can help keep your levels closer to your target range.

If you are someone that is taking mealtime insulin, knowing how many carbs you are eating will allow you to keep your blood sugar levels within target range.


Counting the amount of carbs you eat in a meal is an important way to help manage your blood sugar, your cravings and your weight. By looking at a food label, you will be able to see the serving size, servings per container and the total carbohydrates.

The serving size is two ounces. Which contains 35 grams “total carbohydrate” (this includes sugar and fiber). There are four servings in this whole box. If you eat the whole box of pasta you have now consumed 140 grams of carbs. Which is equivalent to eating nine slices of bread!

You can also get nutrition information on websites and most food manufacturers and restaurants have menus posted within their facility or online. This is available to you so you can review before you order.

I also love this book and use it daily with my patients. This is also a website, but I personally like to have something tangible. The book is updated yearly. I keep this in my car and one in my work office. It’s been around for years and is a valuable resource, especially if you are someone who tends to eat out.


If you don’t have a label, or a resource like the book above, then you will have to estimate how many carbs you are eating. Here are some examples. There are about 15 grams of carb in each of the following:

    • 1 slice bread
    • 1 small apple or orange
    • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes or cooked potatoes (includes sweet potatoes and yams)
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/3 cup cooked rice or pasta


Your Next Step

Try counting the amount of carbs in your next meal. Then see how that number of carbs affects your blood sugar level.

Don’t check your blood sugar? It’s still important to control the amount of carbs in your meal. In general, it’s appropriate for most men and women to aim for 2-3 carb servings with all meals. This, of course, depends on your lifestyle and activity level. It’s a good place to start.

As always, let me know if you have any questions. Nutrition and carbs are my jam so I love talking about this. Comment below or send me an email:


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Author: Katie

Hi! I'm Katie, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. This website it dedicated to those looking to heal their bodies from the inside out - and it all starts with balancing out your blood sugar. Let's heal disease together one plate at a time.

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