One of the most common questions you may have when first diagnosed with diabetes is “What can I eat?” Grocery shopping can feel overwhelming and the labels on food are often difficult to understand. Here are some tips to help navigate nutrition labels.
Top label reading tips if you have diabetes
1. Serving size
First consider the serving size and compare it to how much you would typically eat. All the nutrient information for that product will be based on that serving size. While the serving size is a standard reference it doesn’t mean you must stick to that amount.
2. Daily Value
Use the % Daily Value (or % DV) column on the right side of the label to compare products for nutrients you want more or less of. For example, when comparing sodium levels in products look for less than 5% Daily Value for sodium. For those nutrients you want more of (e.g., Fibre) look for products with more than 15% Daily Value.
Ingredients are listed in the order of most to least. For example, when you see sugar near the beginning of the ingredients list that means that sugar is the highest ingredient by weight. Reading the ingredients list can be helpful for food allergies and intolerances as well as understanding the sources of different nutrients in the product.
There are many things to consider when reading labels for your individual needs. Working with a registered dietitian can help you better understand how to choose foods that meet your preferences and help maintain health.
Our dietitians can develop personalized recommendations to help you on your nutrition journey and make managing your diabetes easier.
The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a Physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters.
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