Carb Factors

If you have Type 1 Diabetes, you need to count carbs to figure out how much insulin to take. If you look at the food labels, you can figure out how many carbs are in each gram of the food, which is called the “carb factor.” Weigh the food and multiply it by the carb factor to find out the exact amount of carbs. Here are some files you can download that explain how to figure it out. Carb Factor Directions

This is the USDA food list. You can look at it online go here, or download this searchable list to your computer or Palm PDA. Use the “pcs18.exe” for the PC and the “pda18.exe” for the Palm. There is also a user’s manual for either one that you can download to your computer.

Another great website to check how many carbs are in foods, including restaurant items can be found at If you have a Palm PDA, you can also download CalorieKing for the Palm and get a free update here every Saturday.

Here is a link to a food scale that would work. You need one that weighs in grams and ounces and has a tare (zero) feature. This lets you put a plate on it, zero the scale and weigh the food. You can figure out how many carbs are in this food and then tare the scale again and add another kind of food to the same plate and figure those carbs. It is actually very quick and easy to use the scale! This link has other food scales available.


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