One thing you learn, being a diabetic, is how to read food labels. One thing you must remember is simple: just because it’s not on the label doesn’t mean it’s not in there. Not everything we need to know about food is on the label. However, for the simplest things, most of us won’t have to worry about that. Another thing to remember is this: just because it says there’s 0 mg of something doesn’t necessarily mean there is none. 0 could easily mean 0.1 or as much as 0.9. In most cases, who really cares, but this is important if you really need to know exactly how much there is in something.
First you want to look at the serving and serving size. As you can see from the label to the right, this contains 2 servings per container. While what you eat is a serving to you, the label might say a serving is less than what you eat. So, looking at the servings per container is important. In this case, if you are eating 2 servings, then you’ll have to double these values you see on this label.
As a diabetic, the most important label to read is the Total Carbohydrates. This is the basis of watching just how much we eat or how much insulin to take. In general, you should talk to your nutritionist on how much you can eat. In most cases, it takes some practice to find out just how much you can eat without throwing your sugar balance out of whack. You should also talk to your physician so you know what your goals are. It’s important to know where you are most comfortable.
Note, also the sugars. Most likely your glucose levels will probably go up really fast with food high with sugar. You’ll want to avoid these. However, know that everyone is different and experimentation is always a good thing. Know what foods send you high, and what foods don’t. Knowing this could make a big difference.
Just remember these points:
- Not all food labels will tell you everything. They only report the required nutrition facts. Just because it doesn’t say it on the label doesn’t mean it’s not in there. A good example of this is Potassium. It’s not always listed on the label.
- Note the serving size. What you eat may be 1 serving to you, but to the label it could be anything. I’ve seen a label say that there was 3 servings per container, but the container had 1 serving of what we would eat. This makes a big difference when counting carbs!
- Just because the label says there is 0 does not necessarily mean 0. It could mean as much as 0.9 in the serving. In some cases, if there are 3 servings per container, and there are say 0.9 carbs per serving, that would mean there’s really 2.7 carbs per container, when it could easily say 0. That’s a significant change for someone watching their carbs!