17 Small Grapes

Most of you know I’m a diabetes educator/dietitian..

nerd day at work

One of the main things I teach people is how to follow a consistent carbohydrate diet. It’s a really good diet because they’re able to meet the needs of their brain (130g glucose per day) while not overwhelming their body with a huge insulin response.

There are three main ways I teach people to count carbs:

  1. Reading Labels – Easy peasy. The only major hang up is when patients want to count “Sugars” instead of “Total Carbohydrate.” 
  2. Looking up Foods Online – Mostly for restaurant foods or foods with labels that they forgot to check, but eat frequently.
  3. Carbohydrate Counting – A way to (pretty accurately) estimate carbohydrates by sight. It basically teaches a person the portion/serving = 15g carbohydrate. For example, 4 inches of banana is 15g of carbohydrate. So, if I see an 8″ banana, I would automatically think “30g.”

Here’s where the 17 grapes come in…

Everyday, invariably, I will say something like, “This [gestures to handout] says 17 small grapes is equal to 1 carbohydrate choice or 15g of carbohydrate… but we don’t see small grapes anymore. We have BIG grapes. So, I’ll just write in ‘1/2 Cup of grapes = 15g carb.’ Mmk?”

Never have I had a patient call me out on this. They usually accept it and we go on with the education. Noooo problem. But, in the back of my mind, I’m always wondering, “Are 17 small grapes the same as 1/2 a cup? I THINK it is…”

And then…it happened.

I saw small grapes at a farmers market.

The woman behind the stall told me she would give me two for the price of one and that no one was buying them. She also told me that they were picked by her nephew “Jemmy.” She reminded me to be sure and wash them before I ate any because “Jemmy’s little hands were all over them.”

(I wonder why she wasn’t selling many small grapes touched by Jemmy?)

Jemmy’s hands don’t scare me.

I bought them.

I had to know if my 1/2 C guess for 17 small grapes was accurate. You know what? It wasn’t.

I’ve been wrong all along.

17 small grapes

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