Learn how to read a food label so that you know how a given food or meal will affect your blood sugar AND how to use a carb budget to eat the foods you love and still keep your blood sugar in range. Keep learning with us at www.DiabetesWhatToKnow.com! To subscribe for more, go to http://ow.ly/SpX09
Hi I’m Ansley and I’m here today to help you learn how to read a food label. Once you get the hang of it, labels are easy to read because you don’t actually have to read the whole thing. There are just a few pieces of information you need to find to help you understand how what’s inside the package will affect your blood glucose.
So, let’s look at a typical label… The first thing you want to look at is the serving size. All the information on the label is based on this particular serving size. Servings per container is also listed at the top and that shows how many servings are in the whole bag, can or bottle. This is important, because the container is probably more than one serving. For example you’d probably eat this bag of chips in a single sitting but according to the label, the bag has three servings in it. So if you’re going to eat the whole bag of chips and you want to know how many calories or carbs you are eating, you’ll have to multiply the number on the label by three.
The calories are listed here and they’re important to keep an eye on as you’re planning meals and snacks. Here are some general calorie guidelines for people with diabetes. And it’s good to know that these guidelines are no different from the ones used for people without diabetes
The most common mistake people with diabetes make when reading labels is to focus on the line labeled sugar, but that only tells part of the story. If you want to know how a food will actually affect your blood glucose, you need to look at the Total Carbohydrate count, right here. That number includes the grams of sugar, and the higher the Total Carb count is, the more that food or drink will raise your blood glucose.
In general, a woman shouldn’t have more than 45 grams of carbs in an entire meal and a man shouldn’t have more than 60 grams of carbs in a meal. Ask your doctor or diabetes educator what is right for you.
Think of that number as your “carb budget” for the meal. In a lot of ways, it’s like a household budget—you only have so much money and you have to pay your rent, the light bill, the gas bill and so on. To budget your carbs, you need to look at each part of your meal. Does your drink have carbs? Your main dish? Your dessert? Add them up. If you are over budget, reduce the serving size of some of your items, or substitute a lower carb item for one of the higher carb items.
And that’s how to read a label. To wrap up, what you need to check on a label are the serving size, the calories and the carb count. The higher the Total Carbohydrate number, the more the food will raise your blood glucose. You can use your recommended carb budget to budget your carbs and lower the blood glucose impact of your meals. Thanks for watching—see you next time.
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