Reading Food Labels
On all packaged food that you buy, there is a food label that includes important
information to a diabetic. You need to learn how to read them properly and know what
the different numbers and percentages mean to you and your diabetic diet. Below is an
overview of the basic information you need to know about food labels.
Whether you are counting carbohydrates, are following the exchange diet, or you are on
the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet you can increase your chances for success
by reading your food labels and understanding what they mean.
The ingredient list is a good place to start before looking at the numbers in the food label.
Where is sugar on the ingredient list? The closer it is to the beginning of the list the more
of it is present in the food. That goes the same for all ingredients; manufacturers list the
ingredients in order of the amount that is in the product. If there are things in your food
that do not work well for your blood sugar on the list it should be avoided or eaten in
Look at the serving size and compare that to the number of carbohydrates is in a serving.
Most servings of carbohydrates for a diabetic are 15 grams. If one serving is higher than
15 grams you will have to eat less than the suggested serving size to stay on track with
your meal plan.
Sugar-free foods may grab your attention as something safe and yummy to add to your
shopping cart. But look at the carbohydrate count first. Most foods that are made sugar-
free using artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes have higher carbohydrate counts.
Check the fat content too, look for a low percent of your daily intake and ideally it will be
monounsaturated as opposed to polyunsaturated or saturated fats.