How to read food labels for Diabetics: Understanding Net Carbs and Sugar Alcohols
Reading food labels can be an important part of managing diabetes, as it can help diabetics make informed decisions about the foods they eat. Here are some key things to look for when reading food labels as a diabetic:
Total Carbohydrates: Diabetics need to pay attention to the total carbohydrate content of foods, as carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar) in the body. However, it's important to note that not all carbohydrates are created equal, and some types have a greater impact on blood sugar levels than others.
Net Carbs: Net carbs are the total amount of carbohydrates in a food minus the fiber and sugar alcohols. Fiber and sugar alcohols have a minimal impact on blood sugar levels, so subtracting them from the total carbohydrates can give a more accurate picture of the food's impact on blood sugar levels.
Sugar Alcohols: Sugar alcohols are a type of carbohydrate that are commonly used as a sugar substitute in sugar-free and low-carb foods. Sugar alcohols have a lower impact on blood sugar levels than regular sugar, but they can still raise blood sugar levels to some extent. It's important to pay attention to the type and amount of sugar alcohols in a food when choosing diabetic-friendly options.
Serving Size: The serving size listed on the food label is important to pay attention to, as it can affect the total carbohydrate and calorie content of the food. It's important to make sure you're eating the appropriate serving size to avoid consuming more carbohydrates than intended.
- Hidden Sugars: Some foods may contain hidden sugars, such as high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, or molasses. It's important to scan the ingredients list for any added sugars to make sure you're making an informed choice about the food's impact on blood sugar levels.
Overall, reading food labels as a diabetic requires a bit of extra attention and understanding of key concepts such as net carbs and sugar alcohols. With practice, however, it becomes easier to make informed decisions about the foods you eat and manage your diabetes more effectively.