How to Read a Food Label

Counting Carbs on Food Labels

The total carbohydrate content on a label includes all types of carbohydrates, including sugar, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. If you are counting carbs to help control blood sugar levels (for instance, if you have diabetes), it's important to look at the total carbohydrate content rather than just the grams of sugar on the label.
 
Also, just because a food has sugar, this doesn't necessarily mean you need to pass on it. Many foods, such as fruit and low-fat dairy products, may have a high sugar content. However, these foods have natural sugars and are packed with important nutrients that make them a healthy food choice. It's important to know that when you look at a food label, it won't distinguish between natural and added sugars.
 
Keep in mind that if you see a product that claims to be "sugar-free" on the outside, it doesn't mean that it is free of calories or carbohydrates. It's also important to know that sugar can go by other names, such as "high-fructose corn syrup," "malt syrup," "liquid fructose," or "dextrose." Try to choose foods prepared with little or no added sugars or solid fats. For most people, the USDA recommends no more than about 5 percent to 15 percent of daily calories come from solid fats and added sugars.
 
If you are trying to slim down your waistline, it's a good idea to look on the label for healthy forms of carbohydrates, such as unrefined carbs like whole grains, beans, nuts, and other unprocessed foods.
 
These foods tend to have a higher fiber content, which can help you feel fuller faster. This, in turn, can be very helpful as you try to lose weight. The recommended amount of fiber to eat each day is around 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. However, in reality, Americans tend to get only about half the fiber they need each day.
 
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