Counting Carbs with a Food's Weight - dummies

Counting Carbs with a Food’s Weight

By Sherri Shafer

The best way to hone your ability to “guesstimate” the amount of carbs is to train your eye by measuring precisely. Increase your carb-counting accuracy by using standardized measuring cups, and consider purchasing an inexpensive food scale for the kitchen.

The following table is useful because it’s designed for you to weigh the fruit with the peel on. Weigh the entire fruit. Don’t cut, core, or peel it until after it has been weighed. The inedible waste has been factored in, and the math has been adjusted to account for the part of the fruit that isn’t consumed. Fiber grams have already been subtracted from the total carbs.

Grams of Carb per Ounce of Food

Fruits Grams of Carb per Ounce of Fruit (Skin On) Starchy Foods Grams of Carb per Ounce of Food
Apple 2.9 Dinner roll 14.0
Apricots 2.5 Kaiser roll 14.2
Banana 3.7 French baguette 14.5
Cantaloupe 1.3 Croissant 12.1
Cherries 3.6 Whole-wheat bread 13.0
Figs, fresh 4.6 Cornbread 12.3
Grapefruit 1.0 Challah bread 14.0
Grapes 4.8 Baked sweet potato 5.0
Honeydew melon 1.2 Baked russet potato 5.4
Kiwi 2.5 French fries 7.0
Mango 2.8 Sweet potato fries 7.3
Nectarine 2.3 Corn on the cob 5.6
Orange 2.0 Potato chips 15.0
Papaya 1.5 Oyster crackers 20.3
Peach 2.3 Tortilla chips 18.0
Pear 3.2 Pita chips 19.0
Plum 2.6 Pretzels 22.0
Tangerines 2.4 Angel food cake 16.0
Watermelon 2.0 Biscotti, almond 17.0

The benefit of using this particular list is that you can weigh all of the bananas in the bunch, one at a time, and get the carb counts figured out in advance. Use a pen to write the carb count in small numbers directly on the peel. Then, a day or two later when you have another banana, the carb counting has already been done. Write on the peel of the orange too. For apples or other fruits that have a sticker, write on the sticker. Office supply stores sell stickers that can be used to mark carb counts.

To use the table, locate the fruit or starchy food that you want to weigh. The number listed directly to the right of the food indicates the amount of carbohydrate contained in 1 ounce of that food.

Note: Carb content of foods may vary. Data was obtained cross-referencing and averaging information from the following two websites:

So what kind of calculations do you need to make with this table? Using a food scale, weigh the food (for an entire fruit, include the peel, core, pit, and rind). Be sure to measure in ounces, and multiply the ounces by the number in the next column of the table. For example:

  • For an orange that weighs 10 ounces, multiply 10 by 2 for a total of 20 grams of carb.
  • For an apple that weighs 8 ounces, multiply 8 by 2.9 for a total of 23.2 grams of carb (you can round down to 23).
  • For a baked sweet potato that weighs 3 ounces, multiply 3 by 5 for a total of 15 grams of carb.

Fruits come in a wide range of sizes. Weighing fruit allows for a more accurate carb count. You don’t have to weigh every fruit from here on out, but by going through the motions and weighing periodically, you refine your ability to guess correctly. After weighing a few oranges, you’ll get pretty good at guessing the carb counts in the future.

Weighing food is something that a family member, friend, or roommate can do for the person with diabetes. Pre-weighing and marking carb counts saves time in the long run, and everyone learns to estimate carbs more accurately. When kids with diabetes repeatedly see the carb counts on foods, they learn to estimate better themselves.