14 Chips?

Garbage In = Garbage Out. GIGO.

As used in a newsletter from my friend Gary Scheiner’s practice, it applies to being able to accurately count carb grams.

If you calculate the wrong number of carbs, your blood sugar will not be where you want it to be later. Garbage In (inaccurate carb grams) = Garbage Out (high or low blood sugar later).

I do understand that accurate carb counting is a very important piece of my diabetes management. I was trying to calculate the carb grams for some baked pita chips (don’t fall over, yes, I do realize they are somewhat healthy… more so than Doritos anyway).

The nutrition label said “Serving Size 1 oz (28g/about 14 chips)

Because I don’t have a food scale built into my hand (I have a food scale at home, and use it often. However I was at work – no food scale available (add that to my list of “stuff to buy”)), I find myself looking at stuff like this often:



I figure that counting the chips should not be that bad, and I really want my BG to land right back on target in a few hours, so I dig into the bag.

And quickly run into a problem. These are not Pringles…

The chips are all different shapes and sizes. Many are all busted apart in the bag. Some are HUGE. Others are tiny fragments left over after some sort of pita chip brawl. Or maybe they were assaulted from the outside by some big bully of a heavier grocery…

I did the best I could do with what I had, and really, can I ask any more of myself than that? I don’t think so. But it is still a bit frustrating when I was really working hard at making sure my carb count was not garbage. It’s so approximate anyway – is it really worth the work?

What I can do in the future is either get another food scale for work, which might make sense because I do just about as much eating there as I do at home. Another option is to bring the chips home and split them into portions using the scale, and bring them back in baggies or something.

Damn. It’s a lot of work to eat with diabetes.

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15 thoughts on “14 Chips?

  1. Hi Scott,

    I feel your pain!

    Here’s the scale I bought to stick in my desk drawer at work. I also throw it in my bag when I travel – it has turned out to be pretty handy. There are other versions of it that are a little cheaper, but I got this one because it has a little higher capacity (550 g) – handy for weighing things in/on small bowls or plates.

    Just today at lunch I had grabbed an apple from home but didn’t weigh it at home, so I got out my scale. Before weighing it, I asked my co-workers to guess the weight. Answers ranged from 100 g to 250 g. (I guessed 225 g.) The answer: 300 g! Good to have the scale!



  2. Definitely need the pre-made bags of snacks. even if they’re off (and they could well be), it won’t be worse than guessing. now with the 100 calorie/snack bags (and paying double for half as much :)), it easier.
    As for a scale, I picked up the Polder Pocket Scale online at J&R Music world (via Amazon). nice and compact.

  3. Ug! I’ve done that sooooo many times. I sometimes do the portion size thing at home & take them in baggies. But not always. Sometimes it’s just a random guess. And sometimes the outcome is NOT GOOD! Like the other night when I had dinner out (so very hard to calculate sometimes) and then spent the rest of the night giving insulin to catch up. Yuck! It is hard work being a diabetic.

  4. Oh Scott! I feel your pain.

    One of my #1 wishes is to be able to eat something with carbs without having to think about how much to bolus, whether an extended or combination bolus is needed, etc.

    Why is it that carb free snacks just aren’t as satisfying? That would really help make things easy. 🙂

    I’m so obsessive, I would eat the chips in order, after eating the broken pieces because they must go first.

    Hang in there man!

  5. I can’t tell if Andrew is being sarcastic or just a twerp. Dang…I’ve lost my grip on humor (or jack-assery). Anyway, thanks, Scott, for that great visual of what we deal with having to count carbs. I don’t have a scale and work and don’t plan on doing that, but I do think that most of the time the snack packs work well. I’m all about keeping things as simple as possible, and unlike some, I don’t believe that you have to eliminate pita (or any)chips from your diet if you are type 1. Moderation, right? 🙂

  6. Gotta go with the scale….I say that, after saying just yesterday I needed a scale for the same reason!!!

    I loose count. plain and simple…and next thing I know, half the bag is gone and I am left guessing!!

    Nothing good comes from that!!!

    Know any good scales? If you find a good one, please share….I am sure I will put it off…..

  7. I’m a big fan of the individually sized snack portions too.

    With something like chips or crackers, I’m likely to overbolus a bit, test in an hour, and eat a little more if I need to.

    What a perfect science diabetes is-huh?!

  8. You mean you actually eat this crap?! Shame on you. Didn’t you know to be healthy and type 1 you should skip this type of “food stuff” altogether? Jeeeeez.

    Anyway, good luck with that.

    (OK, yes, I eat some chips every once in while as well. And… I figure it into my meal. But I never eat them by themselves.) As if you care.

    One more thing: You do realize that you don’t need to eat “processed” carbs for extremely good health, don’t you? I know, I know, you want to be able to eat like everyone else. But like me, you’re not like every one else with regard to eating and the effect it will have on your health. Again, good luck with that.

    I’ll get off my soap-box now.


  9. Scales is the way to go. But they’re awkward to carry around with you.

    I’ve also heard of using the size of your hand or palm or fist to help. But that only goes so far.

    I’m starting to think I need to use a good set of scales at home and weight stuff as I make my lunch for work. Or use Zazzy’s idea.

    It’s a pain, but we already know that about the big D.

  10. I would agree with Zazzy. I like having snack sizes of things so I can just eat the whole bag and know the carb count from there.

    It also helps me having to put the breaks on instead of just ending up with an empty bag.

    Did you end up eating the chips in numeric order? That is something I would have ended up doing.

    Yeah, I am a dork.

  11. My favorite part is that they are ‘allowed’ to be off in the serving size/carb calculation anyway – I forget how much but a pretty high percentage in my opinion (if I remember right).

  12. Another solution is to buy the small snack/lunch size bags and bring them with you – or the 100 calorie size bags. Then the carbs are figured for you. For me, they are a decent way of controlling portions, at least most of the time.

  13. If I could choose one thing to eliminate in diabetes management without it affecting Brendon’s health, it would be keeping track of carbs. But I feel it’s a necessary evil.

    IMO, the best way to measure is by weighing. I do that whenever possible. And we’ve planted scales at relatives homes so that we don’t have to worry about bringing our own when we go to visit.

  14. Thanks for a practical demonstration on just why its such a pain to put such recommendations into practice.

    The 14 chips example is exactly why intensive therapy is a lofty theory that fails abysmally in practice. Ironically, insurance companies, doctors, nutritionists, public health officials, nurse educators and other healthcare providers ponder this failure and, with few exceptions, conclude that “educating diabetics” to adhere to an intensive regimen of injections and diets will miraculously solve the problem, and yet the sad statistics continue to disappoint them and they simply cannot comprehend why, blaming it on noncompliance.

    Instead, perhaps they should look at the practical reality of intensive therapy, and perhaps their conclusions might be a bit different!