Diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, is a condition where in the human body is unable to utilize the insulin correctly and the pancreas are not able to produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance. In management of diabetes or to control diabetes, your daily diet and choice of good food for diabetic patient plays a great role and hence every diabetic food must be carefully chosen. The best way to understand the nutritional relevancy of diabetic food items is to read the food labels. About every pack label of foods to eat for diabetes consist detailed nutritional facts, ingredients and serving size etc. in order to help you make the right choices. With comprehensive information related to quantities of fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, a person with diabetes can easily plan their food to eat in diabetes.
Understanding the Ingredients of Diabetic Food
- Heart Healthy Ingredients – Whole wheat flour, soy and oats. Monounsaturated fats — such as olive, canola or peanut oils — promote heart health, too.
- Unhealthy Ingredients – hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil.
There are numerous choices among the food good for diabetic patients. The ingredients on the packs are always listed in descending order by weight. The main ingredient used in the product is listed first, followed by the other ones in order of their usage.
Components of Labels of Food for Diabetic Patient
- Carbohydrates – total carbohydrates include sugar, complex carbs and fibre – rather than only sugar. Hence always opt for the total carb content so as to not miss on the nutrition and small sugar amount necessary for your overall well-being.
- Opt for High Fibre Foods – Look for foods with 3 or more grams of fiber. When counting carbohydrates, if a food has more than 5 grams of fiber, you can subtract half of the total grams of fiber from the total carbohydrates to get your count.
- Sugar-Free Products – A sugar-free label means that one serving has less than 0.5 gram of sugar. It is a good idea to compare the food labels while choosing between standard products and their sugar-free alternatives.
- No Sugar But Not Necessarily No Carbohydrates – These products don’t have added sugar and don’t necessarily have added carbs too.
- Fat Free Products – Since fats have twice the amount of calories found in carbs and proteins, it is best to avoid these food items, especially in large quantities, if you are focused on losing weight.
Decoding Tricky Food Labels
In order to fully understand the nutritional information on the labels of food for diabetic person, diabetics must check the key nutrients including carbs, sugar, fibre, proteins and fat. However, the sugar listings are more complex and hence must be broken down into both natural and added sugar that is present in the food item.
The following names are commonly found on the food labels:
- Raw Sugar
- Cane Sugar
- Beet Sugar
- Maple Syrup
- Agave Nector
- High Fructose Corn Syrup, or corn sugar
All these types of sugar have the same effect on raising blood sugar levels. Diabetics should prefer foods with less added sugars like plain yogurts and milks.
At the end it is important to keep a close check on your blood sugar levels using a smartphone glucometer and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle by exercising daily and eating right. Stay connected to your doctor and personalized diabetes educator for expert guidance.