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Carbohydrate Exchanges for Diabetes

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Updated May 09, 2009

Diabetes food exchanges can help you plan your meals. When you use the exchange system for keeping track of your carbohydrate intake, 1 carb exchange equals 15 grams of carbohydrate.

Foods that contain carbohydrates include starches, such as bread and pasta, fruit, milk and milk products, and some desserts.

If you don't have an exchange list handy, it can be difficult to know how much food equals 1 exchange.

What does a 15 gram carbohydrate serving look like?

1. Starches

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Bread - 1 slice

Cereals (cold) - 3/4 cup

Grains - 1/3 cup

Pasta - 1/2 cup

Legumes - 1/3 cup

Potatoes - 3 oz.

Corn - 1/2 cup

Pretzels - 3/4 ounces

Popcorn - 3 cups

2. Fruit

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Apple, banana, orange, nectarine - 1 small

Peach - 1 medium

Grapefruit - 1/2

Berries - 1 cup

Melon - 1 cup

Juice, unsweetened - 1/2 cup

Jelly, jam - 4 teaspoons

3. Dairy

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Milk - 1 cup

Yogurt - 3/4 cup

4. Desserts

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Cookies - 2 small

Ice cream - 1/2 cup

5. Sources

Food Exchange Lists. Retrieved May 7, 2009, from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute - Obesity Education Initiative Web site: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/fd_exch.htm#1

Kulkarni, Karmeen D., MS, RD, BC-ADM, CDE (2005 ). Carbohydrate Counting: A Practical Meal-Planning Option for People With Diabetes . Retrieved May 7, 2009, from Clinical Diabetes Web site: http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/23/3/120#TBL1

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