The only trick to Halloween is how you are going to decipher manufacturer labels on candy products to make smart diabetes lifestyle choices.
When it comes to nutrition I’m constantly learning, just like you. Reading labels really is an important part of that education process.
Do you read labels? Here’s a few label reading pointers:
There are several important things I try to remember when I look at labels.
The first is that I better check out how many servings are in that candy bar my child brought home in his treat bag and I am about to consume in the closet with the light out. Sure it says 120 calories per serving, but if I look in the teeny tiny print, it also says two servings per bar. Two servings? Who eats half a candy bar?
Most labels are based on the daily nutritional value of a person who is on a 2000 or 2,500 calorie diet. Again my incredulity radar goes off. Who eats a 2,000 calorie diet? The Weight Loss Center says a 2000 calorie diet is appropriate for a large man. Terrific. So when I read that I am consuming 31 grams of carbohydrates and it is only 10% of my recommended daily nutritional intake of carbohydrates…I need to remember that they are talking to a large man on a 2000 calorie diet.
Sound complex and confusing. It can be.
Here are a few sites to help unscramble the American food labeling system.
- From the FDA: How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label
- RealAge: Food Labels
- Mayo Clinic: Nutrition Fact:Reading the Food Label
Reading Food Labels is available for purchase from the American Diabetes Online Store.
In the UK, ministers are beginning Traffic Light Labeling (spelled Labelling in the UK) for supermarkets to help the nations obesity crisis.
From the UK Telegraph :Supermarkets could be forced to place “traffic light” health warnings on food packaging as part of an aggressive anti-obesity drive by ministers.
See the Traffic Light Labeling Plan in the UK so far in this video.
“Each food you buy will have 4 different dots on representing Fat, Saturated Fat, Salt and Sugars. The dots will be either red, amber or green. ” Red means high, amber means medium amount and green means low. “So the best possible healthy food has 4 green dots and the worst is 4 red dots.”
For now, here in the States we have to rely on educating ourselves by learning the basics of nutrition labels.
And if you REALLY want to see the nutritional label of that Halloween candy before you put it in your grocery cart and possibly your mouth check out Nutritional Data, a helpful site for diabetics.
I found the nutritional label for another one of my favorite candy bars -Mars Almond Bar there.
So maybe a better choice would be a caramel apple ?