How to Count Carbs in Dry or Cooked Pasta

Pasta is a rich source of carbohydrates.

Pasta is a rich source of carbohydrates.

Take control of your health by monitoring the carbohydrate-rich foods you eat, like pasta. Tracking carbs is an effective way to control your blood sugar levels, keep your waistline trim and decrease your risk for diabetes. You can count the carbs you eat in pasta by measuring your portion size -- the number of servings of food you choose to eat -- using the nutrition facts label. Most adults need 6 to 11 servings of carbs each day. Just be aware that the serving size may vary according to the type of pasta and whether it is dry or cooked.

Locate the nutrition facts label on the back, side or bottom of the food package of the pasta you are going to eat. Alternatively, you can look up the nutrition information using an online nutrient database or calorie tracker. Identify the serving size -- usually located at the top of the label, and the amount of total carbohydrates -- usually located in the middle of the label. A typical serving size of regular or whole-wheat pasta is 2 ounces dry or 1 cup cooked and contains about 43 grams of carbs.

Measure out the amount of pasta you want to eat. You can measure dry pasta in ounces using a kitchen scale. Make sure you zero out the scale before weighing by following the manufacturer's instructions. You can also measure cooked pasta in ounces using a kitchen scale, or simply measure it using a measuring cup.

Calculate how many servings of pasta are in your portion size by dividing your portion size by the serving size. For example, if your portion size of pasta is 2 cups and the serving size is 1 cup, you would divide your portion size of 2 cups by the serving size of 1 cup, for a total of 2 servings. The calculation is the same whether you use ounces or cups.

Calculate how many carbohydrates are in your portion size by multiplying the number of serving sizes you eat by the amount of total carbohydrates per serving. For example, you calculated that you eat 2 servings of pasta. If each serving of pasta has 43 grams of carbohydrates, you would multiply 43 grams by 2 servings, which is 86 grams of total carbohydrate in your serving of dry or cooked pasta.

Items you will need

  • Pasta package
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Calculator
  • Measuring cup
  • Kitchen scale

Tip

  • When counting carbohydrates, use the amount of total carbohydrates because this number includes all of the different types of carbohydrates in foods -- sugars, starches and fibers. Some diets, like carbohydrate-restricted or diabetic diets, recommend that you subtract half the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate amount if the food contains 5 or more grams of fiber per serving. Fiber is not digested like other carbohydrates, and therefore does not supply calories or impact your blood sugar levels. Because whole-grain pastas are naturally higher in fiber and healthful nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium and selenium, limit white pastas and choose whole-grain pastas instead.

Warning

  • If you are diabetic or have a medical condition that makes carbohydrate counting an important part of your daily routine, consult with a health care professional to determine an appropriate meal plan and set carbohydrate goals. Always seek approval from your physician before starting a new diet plan.
 

About the Author

Beth Conlon is a registered dietitian with work published in several peer-reviewed journals. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Joseph's University and a Master of Science in nutrition from Marywood University. Conlon is currently pursuing a doctorate in biomedical sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

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