Food labels

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
Because a low-fat, high-fiber diet has so many benefits for people with diabetes, you'll want to carefully examine food labels when you go shopping. Look at the nutrition label on each can or package. Does the food provide any fiber? Also important, how big is a serving? Does it allow for a realistic portion? Check the total grams of fat per serving, and the amount of saturated fat. One guideline is to avoid foods that have more than 3 grams of fat for every 100-calorie serving. Remember, being 'cholesterol-free' doesn't necessarily make a food healthy: it can still have saturated fat, in the form of tropical oils, or from other oils which have been hydrogenated (hy-DRAW-gin-ate-ed). Eating saturated fat will raise your cholesterol, whether the food itself contains cholesterol or not. You'll also want to study the ingredients. These are listed in descending order, so if you see an item at the beginning, it means it's a major component of that food. When limiting your total intake of starches, you'll need to count sugars in this group. Sugars may go by many names, including sucrose (SUE-croas) and fructose (FROOK-toas). However, most dietary labels will summarize sugar and carbohydrate information for you. To find out more about reading food labels, speak with a doctor or dietician.
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