Years ago my husband and I went skiing for the first time in Durango, CO. At the top of the slope, he would ski down the blue run while I took the green beginner run. Yes, the bunny slope. I never fell, not once. I was careful, a bit slow, but I didn’t fall. He fell a few times, got up and kept going.
Next day I chose brave and adventurous. No more green slope. If I fell, I fell. Without saying anything, we got off the ski lift. He took off down the blue slope, expecting me to repeat the bunny run.
When he glanced back he saw me right behind him. I was following as closely as possible (and faster than I’d prefer) but I was determined to keep up. I only fell once or twice. I didn’t break anything, and it was great fun!
With only a day’s experience of skiing and falling and getting back up, Mike became my coach, and I became a better skier. We had a blast!
My takeaway from this? Something I have to remind myself from time to time. Break out! Never settle for past successes (like never falling on the safe slope). Take that next challenge. Set your bar higher. Go farther. Do what others think can’t be done. Amaze people. Amaze yourself!
Reading Food Labels
Reading food labels is one of the most effective ways of determining the right kind of food to buy in the supermarket. It lets you make sensible food selections. The food label includes valuable information, especially to a diabetic.
Admittedly, reading food labels can be very tedious and confusing. Nevertheless, once you get the hang of it, it will be easier for you to maintain healthy food choices by knowing what’s really in the foods you are purchasing and consuming.
The ingredient list
This is a good place to start before looking at the numbers on the food label. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity to the entire product.
If sugar is listed first, there is more sugar in that product than anything else. The closer it is to the beginning of the list the more of it is present in the food. Unfortunately, sugar has so many different names – many of the chemical – that you might see 4 types of sugar listed further down the label, some chemical names. Add them up and sugar could be the largest ingredient in the product.
Avoid foods that list items that don’t work well for you. Allergic to rosemary? Check the label to see if it’s listed. Products with a lot of unpronounceable chemical ingredients should also be avoided.
Look at the serving size and compare that to the number of carbohydrates is in a serving. Diabetic serving size for carbohydrates is usually 15 grams. If one serving is higher than 15 grams, you’ll have to eat less than the suggested serving size to stay on track with your meal plan.
These may grab your attention as something safe and yummy to add to your shopping cart. But look at the carbohydrate and fat counts first. Most foods that are sugar-free use artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes, but have higher carbohydrates or fats added. There are always tradeoffs to make the foods tasty.
Check the fat content.
Unless you are on a very controlled keto diet, look for a small number of fat grams. Protein, carbohydrates, and fats are listed in grams. However, protein and carbs have 4 calories per gram in the calorie count. Fat, on the other hand, has 9. More than double the protein and carbs. So, the total calories from fat could be much higher than expected. As a percentage of the product, it could easily be over 50% of the total calories.
Back in the 70’s, the government declared war on fats (like Arnold Schwarzenegger said in True Lies, “they were all bad”). So, the food manufacturers decreased fats and increased sugars and carbs for flavor. And the swelling of America happened.
Fortunately, now the tables are turning. It’s been scientifically proven that fats aren’t all bad. But you need to know what kind of fats you’re eating. Trans fats should be avoided. Some saturated fats are fine – coconut and avocado for example. All fats have the same 9 calories per gram, but they react differently in your body.
Through the “Nutrition Facts” section of the label, you can identify the serving sizes and number of servings. Remember to take into consideration how much you eat as a single serving.
The amounts and kinds of nutrients are included in the label. Usually, the label contains the information on saturated fat, sodium, total fat, fiber, and cholesterol amount “per serving.”
Things you need to know
As already stated, the amount of servings on the label refers to the quantity of food the manufacturers determine people “usually” consume. Food manufacturers may use this to trick the casual observer into thinking there are fewer calories, fats, and carbs in the product.
The manufacturer cleverly shows acceptable amounts but increases the number of servings. If you typically consume an entire package of mac and cheese in one sitting, you need to multiply the number of servings by the grams/calories shown to get the real amounts and their effect on your body. You may be stunned at how many calories, fat grams, and carbs you’re eating.
We live in a supersized world
A restaurant’s “single serving” is usually about two or three at-home servings. We’re used to larger quantities without even thinking that it means more calories.
This refers to the list of available nutrients in the food product. The percentages are based on the government’s recommended daily dietary allowance, usually an arbitrary 2,000 calories. However, if you have a very small frame and can only burn 1,500 calories/day, you might need to recalculate the percentages.
This refers to the list of the ingredients that were used to manufacture the product, arranged from the greatest amount by weight to the smallest quantity. Occasionally some ingredients are listed as “other spices,” for example, in unknown amounts, which usually means a very small quantity.
This refers to the kinds of nutritional claims of the food item. For instance, if the label says it’s sodium-free, it should have less than 5 milligrams per serving, or a low-fat item should contain 3 grams of fat or less.
In looking at carbohydrates, the label should show total carbs and fiber. If you subtract the fiber grams from the total carbs, you will have net carbs. Since fiber is non-digestible, some diet plans count only the net carbs.
Happy label reading! Just be prepared to put things back on the shelves.
A Dozen Reasons to Resist Diabetes Miracle Cure Hype
Not all diabetes products are hype, but many are. While some true experts offer good non-prescription solutions, many are less than beneficial “miracle cures” created by marketers. How do you tell the difference? Here are a few things to think about.
- Unless you trust the known expert promoting a product, you won’t know what ingredients are really in it. Some claim a significant amount of a special ingredient, but it may be only a very small amount with other fillers.
- The latest breakthrough product is a one-size-fits-all that doesn’t take your unique needs into consideration.
- Some claim you don’t need to change your diet. No pill, organic or otherwise, works if you continue to eat the same amount of sugar and carbs.
- Some claim you can stop your prescription meds. Dangerous.
- Marketers are masters at manipulating emotions. The miracle cure was often discovered after a heart-wrenching series of events that led to a hunt for a cure.
- The sales letter claims it’s a doctor speaking, usually someone you’ve never heard of and can’t research. The person writing the sales letter could be a very good fiction writer.
- Big Pharma is NOT afraid of these “cures.” Medical doctors will not shut down the product if they find the ad.
- Sales pitches may have a grain of truth to sound credible, but not necessarily sound science.
- They usually don’t work. Marketers know most people won’t return products for a refund.
- If you chase miracle cures you may become passive in taking care of your health.
- If your medical doctor is convinced your diabetes is a life sentence with no recovery, find another doctor who understands nutrition, not another miracle cure.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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3 Steps to Overcome Your Diabetes
I just read an article that proclaimed scientists have discovered “something” in the blood of overweight people that isn’t there for those who are not overweight. Apparently, it prevents overweight people from ever losing weight “even when they do everything right.” Snacking, stress eating, food addictions, binging, willpower, and other eating patterns have nothing to do with their overweight, or so they say.
Several paragraphs later, we get the big reveal – the “something” is C-Reactive Protein (CRP), which, in excess, may indicate inflammation, common to overweight people. CRP is a normal part of our blood and can be measured to see if we have excess amounts, indicating internal inflammation. The article, however, dramatically blames this for total inability to lose weight.