Shelves in the supermarket are stocked with a variety of ready to eat, instant or processed foods and in today’s fast paced life there are choices that we make because we just don’t have the time or the energy to start from scratch. For instance most people buy packaged wheat flour and choosing a good brand is a dilemma, as there are so many available, each one professing to offer the best! Most processed foods and instant foods come with nutrition fact labels. Learning how to interpret food labels can help educate people with or without diabetes about how to make better food choices for better health.
Food labels provide a lot of information. Understanding the information that food labels provide allows people to compare foods, make better choices, and understand serving sizes in relation to carbohydrate content.
The Serving Size
The first place to start when you look at the Nutrition Facts label is the serving size and the number of servings in the package. Serving sizes are standardized to make it easier to compare similar foods; they are provided in familiar units, such as cups or pieces, followed by the metric amount, e.g., the number of grams.
Calories provide a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of this food. The calorie section of the label can help you manage your weight .
Total carbohydrate tells us how many grams of carbs there are in a serving. It includes sugar, complex carbohydrate and fibre. Do not concentrate only on sugar content as you may miss out on foods that are naturally high in sugar but also have other necessary nutrients.
The value under sugar shows the amount of natural or added sugar.
Avoid unhealthy ingredients such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil and refined sugar. Look for foods with less fat, sugar and salt.
However, there are some facts one must be aware of in order to choose wisely.
Sometimes sugar, salt and fats come under different names