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Calculating Carbohydrate Exchange Based on Nutritional Information

January 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured

carbohydrate exchange work cloud in the shape of an apple

To utilize the carbohydrate exchange, first you and your doctor or dietitian need to set a daily caloric goal. A healthy diet consists of 45 to 65 percent of your caloric intake coming from carbohydrates. As an example we will use the normal suggested levels of a daily caloric intake of 1,200 recommended for women and 1,600 recommended for men. That would set the carbohydrate calorie levels at 540 to 780 for women and 720 to 1040 per day for men.

One gram of carbohydrates is equal to 4 calories, so you will need to divide the carbohydrate ranges by 4 to get how many grams of carbohydrates your daily intake allows. This will set the daily grams of carbohydrates between 135 to 195 for women and 180 to 260 for men.

Next, calculate the exchange rate of carbohydrates you are allowed a day. To do this divide the allowable grams of carbohydrates by 15 since 15 grams is considered one serving. For women this would be between 9 to 13 and for men it would be 12 to 17 carbohydrate exchanges.

Make sure you pay attention to serving sizes. Many food packages have multiple servings in one container. If you plan on eating the whole package you will need to multiply the carbohydrate grams by the number of servings. A package with 15 grams per serving and 2 servings would be equal to 30 grams of carbohydrates or 2 carbohydrate exchanges.

If nutritional information is not available then you can calculate carbohydrates based on weight. An ounce of uncooked spaghetti contains 7.5 grams of carbohydrates. So in a 2 ounce serving, there would be 15 grams of carbohydrates or 1 carbohydrate exchange.

Understanding how to use carbohydrate exchanges will allow you to better manage your blood sugar levels while still enjoying a diverse diet. There are several resources available as a reference for carbohydrate exchanges. There are quick reference on the internet, and the American Diabetes Association frequently publishes a book called Choose Your Foods that is for sale if you prefer to have the reference guide on hand.


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