Type 1 diabetes - alimentation

Carbohydrate factor reference

How to measure carbohydrates

What is a carbohydrate factor?

A carbohydrate factor is a number that represents the amount of carbohydrates found in one gram of food. This number indicates the quantity of carbohydrates that increases glycemia and therefore excludes fibre. This is an alternative way to calculate the carbohydrates in the foods you eat. This method is especially useful for people interested in more accurate carbohydrate calculations, and better-suited for foods that are difficult to count with a measuring cup.

How to Use the Carbohydrate Factor

To use a carbohydrate factor, you need a digital food scale that can weigh foods to the gram. After weighing your serving, you multiply its weight by the carbohydrate factor for that food. The result calculated is the amount of carbohydrate in your serving.

One whole apple weighing 174 g
Carbohydrate factor = 0.11
Total carbohydrates in your apple = 174 x 0.11 = 19 g

How to calculate your carbohydrates with a digital scale and a carbohydrate factor

How to calculate the carbohydrate factor for your favourite recipes

You can calculate the carbohydrate factor for your own recipes. This is especially useful for breads, cakes and combination dishes such as lasagna.

To calculate the carbohydrate factor for your recipe, add up all the carbohydrates for the entire recipe using nutritional charts such as the Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods. Don’t forget to subtract all the dietary fibre. Finally, you need to weigh the product once it is cooked.

To calculate the carbohydrate factor of your recipe, divide the total grams of carbohydrate by the weight of the food (total grams of carbohydrate ÷ total weight). The resulting number should be less than one. This number will be the carbohydrate factor for that food. You can now take a serving, weigh it, and multiply it by the carbohydrate factor to get the amount of carbohydrate in the serving.

Banana Bread Recipe:
Total carbohydrate of all ingredients = 347 g
Weight of bread after baking = 630 g
Carbohydrate factor = 347 ÷ 630 = 0.55

Carbohydrate factors for various foods

The Montreal Children’s Hospital – McGill University Health Center
Facteurs de glucides pour divers aliments