Each product you purchased from store contains a label that is regulated by Federal Government (the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration) and checks what manufacturers are permitted to claim about the products. You should know about these labels as they contain the information about the nutrients present in the container.

Major Elements of a Food Label

Content versus Percent of Daily Value

Most of the labels have two parts: The top part lists nutrients an average person requires as a percentage based on a two thousand calorie diet. The bottom part of the label lists the actual amount of nutrient contain in that particular package. Top past is a general guide and bottom part is an essential food plan for diabetics.

Serving size

It is a tool to measure the amounts of a food. The serving size given on labels normally represents the amount of food that one would eat in one sitting. Different methods are used for its measurement: fractions for sliced items like pie or cake, cup and tablespoons for granular items, grams for grouped items like cereal and numbers for other grouped items like grapes or cherries. It represents the amount of food for one serving not for a whole container.

Total carbohydrates

The amount of total carbohydrates you consume is also given on the label. It is an important area of focus for you as a diabetic.

-  Types of Fat: Always go for the food with lowest percentage and amount of saturated fat.
-  Ingredients: Ingredients are usually given in descending order, with most prominent on the top and gradually listed the ingredients with lower consumption. Always look for the first four or five ingredients on the label to have a better idea of nutrients.

Understanding the Label Terms

-  Low fat: no more than 3 grams of fat per serving for individ­ual foods, and no more than 30 percent of calories from fat for complete meals
-  Low in saturated fat: no more than 1 g of saturated fat per serving, and no more than 15 percent of total calories from saturated fat
-  Fat free: less than 0.5 g of fat per serving
-  Low sodium: 140 mg or less per serving
-  Sodium free: less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
-  Light (Lite): one-third fewer calories or 50 percent less fat per serving
-  Low cholesterol: no more than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 g or less of saturated fat per serving
-  Cholesterol free: less than 2 mg of cholesterol and 2 g or less of saturated fat per serving
-  Reduced/less: contains 25 percent or less of a nutrient than a comparable food
-  Low calorie: no more than 40 calories per serving
-  Sugar free: less than 0.5 gram of sugar per serving
-  Dietetic: it means that something has been changed or replaced in the food: salt, sugar, total fat, or cholesterol
-  Natural: For meat and poultry it means that no chemical preservatives or hormones have been added; for other foods this has no rigid meaning

Figure the Percentage of Calories from Fat

Just multiply the grams of fat per serving by 9 (as each gram of fat contains 9 calories) and divide it by the total number of calories per serving. To get the result in percentage multiply by 100.

You might also want to learn about Staying in the Military If You Have Diabetes and Shoping Smart to Manage Your Diabetes


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