Monday, September 21, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking Carbs

So the other day, I was in the grocery store.  No big news there.  But, as I headed down the frozen treat isle, I came upon the ice cream.  I checked them all out, going forward and back.  What's on sale?  Do they still have the Junior Mint Limited Edition?  These were the questions on my mind.  And then, I just stared.  I stood there and stared.  I looked left.  I looked right.  And, although I reprimand my children for doing this, I opened one of the "clear glass" doors and continue my pondering.  I picked up a 1/2 gallon container and compared it to another.

While I was deep in thought, a store employee who was stocking the Fritos behind me, asked "Is there something I can help you find?"

I realized the guy was speaking to me, so I turned around, with Rocky Road in one hand and Double Chocolate Swirl in the other.  "Oh," I said.  "Well, I can't help but notice how these containers have shrunk.  They aren't even 1/2 gallons anymore."  And then I looked at one of the cartons:  1.75 quarts!  "Sheesh!"

"Oh, yeah," the guy said.  "That's what they do.  Those companies keep the same price and shrink the packaging.  Then, just wait a few months.  You'll see the prices go up!  That's what they do."

"Huh," I said.  "Terrible.  For a minute there, I thought I was losing it."

Yeah.  No more 1/2 gallon ice cream containers.  Weird.  In the era of SUPER-SIZING, some things are actually shrinking.

When it comes to counting carbohydrates for C's diabetes, a half cup of ice cream is a half cup of ice cream.  We scoop it.  We look at the nutrition guide for the total carbs.  And, we bolus accordingly.  The smaller ice cream container doesn't affect the way we manage her insulin per serving.  However, some items can be greatly affected...

Take, for instance, a slice of bread. Our brand of choice happens to be Homepride Buttertop Wheat.  We've used it for years.  And with counting carbohydrates seriously for 5 + years now in order to give C the correct doses of insulin, there are many food choices that are simply memorized at this point.  Slice of bread...15 grams.  Most any brand...15 grams, unless we're using some multigrain or specialty bread, we can usually be certain that it's 15 grams.

Well, after my ice cream epiphany a while back, you'd think I would have taken other foods into consideration.  But, I really didn't.  Until...

One day, while making lunches, I thought, wow, this bread looks so small!  The ice cream scenario flashed through my mind.  Hmmmm, I thought.  I picked up our staple loaf, looked at the guide, and, lo and behold...13 grams!!  It's one thing to have containers shrinking, but now we have the actual carbohydrate count shrinking.  Although 2 grams is a smidge, if we doubled it for a sandwich, that would be 4 extra grams we've been covering with insulin that aren't really there.

Needless to say, we've been checking carb counts again on even our memorized food items.  I think it's the case of the "incredible shrinking carbs!"


  1. Insanity! I've been noticing too. Thanks "food world" for making our lives a bit more interesting (I am being nice here...). Sigh.

  2. This sort of package-size/price ratcheting has been going on in the chocolate-candy world for years.

    Regarding what we actually eat, I don't trust anything short of my digital scale -- I've seen "28 g" slices of bread ranging from 23 g to 35 g on the same loaf, depending where in the loaf it's located.

  3. Wow! Thank you for the information! I honestly, didn't pay attention. I watch the carbs only.:(


Hi! Thanks for commenting on our blog!