Expert Q&A

Whole Grain Servings: New Food Pyramid Recommendations for Diabetics

I’m confused about the new food pyramid. How many servings of whole grain foods should I eat? How does that fit into a diabetic meal plan?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new food pyramid recommends that adults eat at least 3 ounces of whole grain cereals, bread, crackers, rice, or pasta every day. 1 ounce is approximately:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 cup of breakfast cereal
  • ½ cup of cooked rice, cereal, or pasta.

For diabetics who count carbohydrates, this is where the math comes in. For example, I eat 1 cup of brown rice. As a diabetic, I know that one-third cup of rice equals 1 carbohydrate choice. Therefore, I just ate 3 carbohydrate choices and fulfilled the recommendation of eating 3 servings of whole grains a day. Or, I can easily meet the requirement by having 1 slice of whole-grain toast at breakfast and using 2 slices of whole-grain bread to make a sandwich for lunch.

Keep in mind that when you read food labels, look for whole-wheat or whole-grain on the label. If it just reads as wheat, then it is not a whole grain and you should purchase another product.

Cindy Guirino, RD/LD, CDE, CNSD, ACE PT
Contributing Expert

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