Nutrition & Diabetes

Archive for December 25th, 2010

This week’s question is: I have recently been diagnosed with diabetes and my wife has pre-diabetes.  New Year’s Eve we always have a large celebration with cocktails and lots of food.  We are growing weary of the party this year given my new diagnosis.  Any tips on how we can still enjoy the party?

There are many tips for you to still enjoy the New Year’s celebration with all those cocktails and foods around.  It is all about moderation and watching in particular the carbohydrate rich foods that are being served.   All foods contribute to to your blood glucose levels, but it is the carbohydrate rich foods like breads, starchy vegetables, crackers, and desserts that really make blood glucose levels rise.  Also, some alcoholic beverages can contain lots of carbohydrates.

This is a time to be excited for a brand new year and you should be excited about the party.  Below I have included some examples of different foods that might be served at the party to give you an idea of what to look out for.  The examples show what one serving of a particular food cost in terms of how carbohydrate rich it is.  I hope this helps.

According to the Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes by the American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association:

One serving (exchange) of starchy foods like breads, cereals, grains, starchy vegetables (i.e., potato, corn), crackers, beans, and peas = 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

One serving of dessert = 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

One serving of milk = 12 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

Compare the starchy foods, desserts, and milk to non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, carrots, cucumber that have 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving.   The non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates compared to the  desserts, starchy foods, and milk.

Eating too many servings of starchy foods, desserts, and milk can potentially make your blood glucose levels to become too high.  People usually eat more than one serving size of food, so keep that in mind when keeping track of the carbohydrates that are being consumed at a given time.   Try to go more for the protein rich foods and non-starchy vegetables.

Keep in mind that one serving of fruit also has 15 grams of carbohydrates.  Fruits are good for you, but having too much can raise your blood sugar levels.

Lean, medium-fat, and high-fat meat do not have carbohydrates.

Plant-based protein and alcohol varies in carbohydrates.


Alcohol (1 alcohol equivalent (1/2 oz absolute alcohol) = 100 calories)

12 fl oz of light (4.2%) beer =  1 alcohol equivalent + 1/2 carbohydrate exchange (7.5 grams of carbs)

12 fl oz regular (4.9&) beer = 1 alcohol equivalent + 1 carbohydrate exchange (15 grams of carbs)

1  1/2 fl oz distilled spirits = 1 alcohol equivalent

1 fl oz Liqueur, coffee (53 proof) = 1/2 alcohol equivalent + 1 carbohydrate exchange (15 grams of carbs)

1 fl oz Sake = 1/2 alcohol equivalent

3  1/2 fl oz Wine, dessert (sherry) = 1 alcohol equivalent + 1 carbohydrate exchange (15 grams of carbs)

5 fl oz Wine, dry, red or white (10%) = 1 alcohol equivalent

Starch examples:

6 crackers or 3 cups of popcorn or 3/4 oz of pretzels = 15 grams of carbohydrates

13 tortilla or potato chips = 15 grams of carbohydrates

1/2 cup of mashed potatoes or 1/3 cup of rice or 1/2 cup of beans = 15 grams of carbohydrates

1 slice of bread or 1/2 of a hot dog bun or 1/2 of a hamburger bun = 15 grams of carbohydrates

Fruit examples:

1/2 cup orange juice or 1/2 cup of pineapple juice = 15 grams of carbohydrates

1   1/4 cup of whole strawberries or 17 small grapes = 15 grams of carbohydrates

Other drinks:

1/2 cup of cranberry juice cocktail = 15 grams of carbohydrates

1 (8.3 oz) can of Energy drink = 30 grams of carbohydrates

1 cup (8 oz) of fruit drink = 30 grams of carbohydrates.

1 can (12 fl oz) can of soda = 37.5 grams of carbohydrates

1 envelope of hot chocolate made with water = 15 grams of carbohydrates

Dessert examples:

1  1/2 inch square brownie that is 7/8 high = 15 grams of carbohydrates

2-inch square frosted cake = 30 grams of carbohydrates

2-inch square unfrosted cake = 15 grams of carbohydrates

2 chocolate chip cookies = 15 grams of carbohydrates

3 gingersnap cookies = 15 grams of carbohydrates

1 small frosted cupcake = 30 grams of carbohydrates

1/2 cup of fruit cobbler = 45 grams of carbohydrates

1/6 of a 8-inch commercially prepared fruit pie with 2 crusts = 45 grams of carbohydrates

1/8 of a 8-inch pumpkin or custard pie = 22.5 grams of carbohydrates


December 2010
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About Me

Iris M. Pacheco, MS, RD, LD/N

This was a blog I wrote during 2010-2011 while I was a dietetics and nutrition student.

Through this blog I volunteered to answer questions from people with diabetes that were submitted to is a website that helps people with diabetes make better food choices. It holds of large databases of food items and gives recommendations on which foods to have "More Often," "In Moderation," or "Less Often."

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