The Food and Drug administration has done us all a great service by putting nutrition labels on packaged food. Now we know exactly what we’re eating. Most of us have thanked the government by ignoring the labels entirely, but people with diabetes should be paying extra attention. By reading food labels people with diabetes can make sure they’re getting exactly the amount of carbs doctors recommend to keep their blood sugar at a healthy level.
When you no longer produce insulin because of diabetes it’s only too easy to eat unhealthy foods that will cause your blood sugar to rise to dangerous levels. This is called hyperglycemia. When patients hit these blood sugar peaks they can have a potentially fatal heart attack. Now nutrition labels on food seem pretty important don’t they?
If you have diabetes, your blood sugar before eating should generally be between 80 and 120 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). This is called your fasting blood sugar. Two hours after eating your blood sugar should be lower than 140 mg/dL. If your blood sugar doesn’t drop below 130 mg/dL after three hours, you may be becoming hyperglycemic, and should take steps recommended by your doctor to lower your blood sugar. If you are taking medications to regulate your blood sugar levels, make sure to avoid the drug Actos. Actos has been linked to severe side effects like bladder cancer and liver failure. Filing an Actos Lawsuit is always an option if you’ve been harmed by this dangerous medication.
How much a food will raise your blood sugar can be predicted by the nutritional values on food labeling. The header on the label that’s particularly important is Total Carbohydrates. You can use this number to add up the total carbs for each serving of food you eat.
The American Diabetes Association says that sticking to 45 or 60 carbs per meal should keep you at a safe blood sugar level. Fiber is a good carb for diabetes. If a food has five grams or more of fiber per serving you can subtract half the fiber grams from the total grams of carbohydrate for a more accurate carb count.
It’s important to note that Total Carbohydrates and the other nutritional values listed on the food’s label pertain to that amount of serving and not the whole package. There is generally more than one serving per package.
For each serving you will also find the calories from fat, and the daily percentage you should have of each of the listed nutrients. These percentages are based on a 2,000 calorie daily diet. If your doctor recommends you should consume less than 2,000 calories these percentages will no longer apply to you.
William Richards researches and writes about prescription drugs and medical devices for Drugwatch.com.
American Diabetes Association. Taking a Closer Look At Labels. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/taking-a-closer-look-at-labels.html
American Diabetes Association. Carbohydrate Counting. Retrieved from http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/carb-counting/
**A note from Diabetiquette: This post pertains most to those lucky millions with type two diabetes or TTDs although it serves as a helpful remind to those of us TODs. We would like to thank DrugWatch.com for their insight**