What is a Gram?

nutrition facts for potato chips
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When describing amounts of carbohydrate or protein in a food, we usually talk about it in terms of grams. For those who don't use the metric system, this can be kind of mysterious. In the United States, we talk about food in terms of ounces and pounds, but macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, protein, and even fiber) in terms of grams. No wonder so many people are confused!

In the simplest terms, a regular-sized paperclip weighs about a gram.
There are 28 grams in an ounce. There are 4 grams in a teaspoon of sugar. The vast majority of the time, that is probably all you really need to know.

Where people sometimes go wrong is to think the weight of the food is the same as the weight of the dominant macronutrient, but this will usually throw you off. Fresh foods (vegetables, fruits, meats, etc.) are mostly water, so accounts for most of the weight of the food. For example, four ounces of cooked fish has about one ounce (28 grams) of protein in it.

A Note on Carb Gram Counting

When counting carbs on low-carb diets, we usually subtract the fiber grams from the total carbohydrate grams. This is often called net carbs or effective carbs. This is done because fiber will not cause a rise in blood sugar. On other diets, for example diabetic diets where a serving of carbohydrate is considered to be 15 grams, the fiber is not subtracted. Those people are usually eating more carbohydrate, so subtracting the fiber isn't as important (or possibly even appropriate).

Common Conversions

28 grams = 1 ounce (to be more precise, 28.349 grams)

454 grams = 1 pound

1000 grams = 1 kilogram

1 gram = 1000 milligrams (mg.)

Abbreviation for grams - g.

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