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Serving Sizes and Diabetes

Watching your serving sizes can help you keep the complications of diabetes in check. A dietitian can advise you on how many servings from each food group you should eat per day. But how much is a "serving size?"

The amount of food that is counted as one serving is listed below. If you eat a larger portion, count it as more than one serving. For example, a dinner portion of rice using the chart below is 1/3 cup. The amount you eat may be 1 cup. This would count as three servings from the breads and starch group.

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Serving Size Based on Food Groups

Fruits Serving Sizes

1/2 banana
1 small apple, orange, or pear
1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit

Vegetables Serving Sizes

1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
1/2 cup of other vegetables; cooked, raw (chopped), or canned
1/2 cup of vegetable juice

Bread, Cereal, Rice, Starchy Vegetables, and Pasta Serving Sizes

1 slice of bread
1/2 English muffin, bun, small bagel, or pita bread
1 6-inch tortilla
4-6 crackers
2 rice cakes
1 ounce ready-to-eat cereal
1/2 cup cooked cereal, pasta, or bulgur
1/3 cup cooked rice
1 small potato or 1/2 large potato
1/2 cup sweet potatoes or yams
1/2 cup corn kernels or other starchy vegetables such as winter squash, peas, or lima beans

Nuts, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Dry Beans, Cheese, and Meat Serving Sizes

2-3 ounces cooked lean beef, veal, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, or fish
2-3 ounces low-fat natural cheese (such as Swiss, cheddar, Muenster, parmesan, mozzarella, and others)
1/2 cup of cooked dry beans
1/4 cup tofu (bean curd)
1 egg (or equivalent serving of egg substitute)
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
2 ounces of processed cheese (American)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup canned tuna (packed in water)

Milk and Yogurt Serving Sizes

1 cup of low-fat milk
1 cup of low-fat yogurt (unsweetened or sweetened with aspartame or other artificial sweeteners)

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on June 25, 2013

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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