This week I received the following question from http://foodpicker.org :

I have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes and a friend told me I should eat low carb and no sugar.  What is considered to be low carb and low sugar in specific numbers?

Good question. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is responsible for defining nutritive claims that food companies use. For instance, a product must contain 0.5 grams or less of sugar to be labeled as “sugar-free.” Low-fat items must be 3 grams or less. As of present however, the FDA has not legally defined “low carb” or “low sugar.” You may see “reduced sugar” on items, which is defined of having 25% less sugar than the original product.

So, what to do when you are diabetic? Being diabetic does not necessarily mean you can’t have carbs or sugar. It just means you have to monitor your carbohydrates (which includes sugar) to the appropriate amount for you. For women, that is 2-3 servings per meal, or men, 3-4 servings per meal.  Remember that 1 serving = 15 grams of carbohydrates, so when reading labels on food items that claim “low carbohydrate,” keep this in mind for blood sugar control.

Reading labels will keep you aware of its calories and fat too. Often products advertised as “low carb” are higher in fat, thus are higher in calories. When you compare labels, you may find that the product that has a little more carbs is actually lower calorie as well. This is fine, because its all about the portions of that product you eat.

Until next time!

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