By BIRDY Latest Reply 2009-12-10 19:44:37 -0600
Started 2009-11-20 14:20:13 -0600

Hi everybody ,

I wonder something very much since I started this diabet thing.I read many many sources maybe thousands of pages since then but I still do not understand how to count the carbs or other items.I have been checking the recipes in this site and seeing that everyone knows any details like how many calories , carbs , proteins and it's exchanges.Is it because you copy them from somewhere else or you have a magic method to know.How do you calculate these details for a piece of cake for example.
Many many thanks and have a great weekend.

29 replies

mamaoak 2009-11-24 17:41:59 -0600 Report

i got a list when i was in hospital all so i use the book that has calorie and carbs it is called calorie king it is sold at wallmart. hugs

Pauline B
Pauline B 2009-11-25 16:12:45 -0600 Report

CalorieKing is a very good source but it doesn't list the protein. One has to calculate from the carbohydrate and fat grams how much protein there is. A gram of metablized food is different from a gram of portion weight, too. There's a lot to learn. 1 gram of Carbohydrate = 4 calories (properly called a Kcal due to base measurement on which it's based); 1 gram fat = 9 calories; 1 gram protein = 4 calories. You can see that fat has more than twice the number of calories than protein and carbohydrate.

Diana B.
Diana B. 2009-12-03 11:17:45 -0600 Report

How many carbs I need x day I'm 5'4 and weight 150 lbs. please help!!!!!

Pauline B
Pauline B 2009-12-04 11:07:45 -0600 Report

As we are not medical professionals we cannot say how many carbs you need daily. There are many variables to writing a diet to follow when you have diabetes that include your current A1c level, your fasting glucose levels average, other medical conditions you may have, and your own dietary philosophy regarding eating animal proteins. My doctor advised me toe at 150 - 200 grams of carbohydrates daily, and I kept track of everything I ate (measuring all portions and calculating nutrients) and found that I did better with 125 grams on average. I also eat more red meats, and eat real butter and cheese rather than the chemically manipulated low fat versions. My lipid panel remains under control with this appraoch. I also have anemias that are more bothersome to me as well as migraines that react favorably to a higher protein intake.

Your medical treatment team would be the best source of a diet plan to start you out on, and then after you see how the foods react in your own body you can adjust the amounts.

And, don't worry excessively if your daily numbers fluctuate (such as when you go to a party or buffet). Just limit your self to one desert and eat lots of salads (with little dressing).

RD03875 2009-12-10 05:07:39 -0600 Report

I guess I'm bad, I don't count carbs I count the total carbs in grams. I know not to go over 180 grams a day.
Sorry but I just can't get the counting thing down.

NewTerry19 2009-12-10 19:44:37 -0600 Report

I know! I hate counting the carbs. I don't do it all the time, but then when I see the bs go up, I reind myself why I have to.

gramma52 2009-11-23 18:24:03 -0600 Report

Hi, I'm new to all this and reading some of your comments has my head spinning. I was diagnose 3 weeks ago and haven't had a class yet. but people keep telling me to watch the carbs. Is there a list you can go by?

Elrond 2009-11-23 19:53:08 -0600 Report

Welcome Gramma,
There are many lists. One I use a lot is online at: is a good one too plus they have a good printed book that's handy to keep with you, especially when going out to eat.

hp5551935 2009-11-24 14:08:51 -0600 Report

Another good source for this is "The Complete Book of Food Counts, 8th Edition (Mass Market Paperback". Available on for $7.99. It has food broken down by calories, protean, carbohydrates, cholesterol, sodium and fiber. Making an educated guess about how many grams of carbs are in something is difficult, but the biggest factor is being honest about what is a cup, ½ cup, or ounce of something. The best teacher is experience. You have to compare the amount of food in a prepared meal vs what you have made and see how many carbs are in each. I find that comparing the diet versions of the meals in the frozen food section of the grocery gives me a good scale for comparison when I cook my own meals. And oh, yeah, the amount will not leave you feeling full. That is sort of the point.

Harlen 2009-11-20 17:16:39 -0600 Report

Hi Birdy
I use the book the calorie King
It has worked out well for me
It covers so much food and restaurants
But thats just me

P.S I was going to tell you
1 little 2 little 3three little carbs four little five little 6 little carbs eight little nine little ten little carbs with my chips lol

BIRDY 2009-11-21 07:57:05 -0600 Report

hehe your way is good too Harlen:)
Mine is a bit spiritual , I close my eyes and feel the carbs in it .Worked out ? We don't know yet but wel'll see begn of the new year.

Sue Turner
Sue Turner 2009-11-21 13:14:23 -0600 Report

I use the Calorie King too, Harlen. That book was given to me when I started on my pump by my endocrinologist. It is a big help. It is when I have to questimate, that really gets me into trouble. Sometimes, I go into a restuarant, order a meal, and just look at it, and say, "I just really don't have a clue!" I make a guess, and if it is wrong, I just do whatever I have to do later. LOL????????

Elrond 2009-11-21 16:02:00 -0600 Report

Frequently, I prepare recipes that aren't listed as diabetic and the carbs aren't already counted for me. That calls for some work. I go to my handy internet. The other night, I made a pot of chili that called for several different kinds of peppers and each had a different carb count. I just got on the internet and typed in: 'red bell pepper carbs' and got the carb count for that. Of course, some ingredients such as tomato sauce have the carbs listed on the can. I continued with the other ingredients until I had the total carbs for the entire recipe then divided by servings.

NewTerry19 2009-11-28 18:38:33 -0600 Report

I use that book too! It's very helpful. Have you tried any of the restraunts websites for the nutrtional info, that really works for, just in case the book doesn't have where I'm eatin.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2009-11-20 14:34:13 -0600 Report

When calculating the carbs in a recipe, I like to use the website I add up all the calories, fat, carbs, protein, etc for all of the ingredients. Then I divide the totals by the number of servings that the recipe makes.

It's not a perfect system, but I've found that it works out pretty well.

chugg26 2009-11-21 11:54:15 -0600 Report

Read labels!!! Read labels!!! When I take my insulin, I found out for every 15 carbs I use =1 unit of insulin. You have too find out what your counts are. Everyone is different. I try not to have more than 45 carbs per meal that would be 3 units.

keek 2009-11-21 13:12:35 -0600 Report

My nutritionist recommends for recipe analysis. I looked briefly at the site John gave, and for me the Calorie Count site is easier to use.
Take a look at both and use the one that works best for you.

Pauline B
Pauline B 2009-11-21 15:57:39 -0600 Report

I sometimes weigh the final product after it is cooked or baked (first having calculated the Kcalorie contant of food items and having tared the scale first before filling it) and then divide the final weight by 16 to get at an ounce weight. Then weigh your portion, and multiply that by the Kcalories per ounce. It isn't really that complicated once you do it a couple of times.

Twumwa 2009-11-22 04:41:03 -0600 Report

I found out my insurance pays for a diabetic control clinic. I've been twice and it's really helped me with the whole carb counting. They gave me lots of material that gives the carb count for most foods as well as fast food. They also shared good tips for portion control ( measure, measure, measure).

hbkunkel 2009-11-20 14:25:56 -0600 Report

Hi, When you read a label 15 grams of carbohydrates equal 1 carb. It gets more and more automatic as you do it. But it is very hard to guesstamate when the food is not labeled. Then you have to guess and that is not easy.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2009-11-20 14:30:00 -0600 Report

Just to clarify what Betsie is saying: the 15 grams of carbohydrates = 1 carb exchange (or called 1 choice in other places). For some, it's simpler to remember that they can have, for example, 3 carb exchanges at dinner. That means they can eat up to 45 grams of carbohydrates.

BIRDY 2009-11-20 14:32:19 -0600 Report

yes but this is valid for a ready food.How do you know when you cook it at home.For example for a home-made milky dessert or an apple pie how do you count the carbs or how do you know the calories etc. ? There are many recipes coming from the family elders.Is there a calculating / counting method for that kind of foods?