Diabetic Label Lies - Zero Does Not Mean Zero

Diabetic label lies include zero calories, zero fat, and sugar free. Read these facts and you will learn how to find truly good diabetic food.

Did you know that food makers are allowed to report zero grams of any ingredient if there are less than 0.5 grams of it in a single serving?

Here is an example. A can of soup claims to hold two and a half servings. It can be labeled zero fat but have nearly 1.5 grams inside. That is not zero.

The same diabetic label lies hold true for sugars. Check the label of any package.

The calorie count looks low. That's good. But notice that the serving size is half or third of the actual contents.

You probably fell for this when drinking a soda. You looked at the calorie count and then drank it down.

What you did not notice was that you drank two or three times the calories you read on the label.

Why? Because downing the whole bottle meant you drank two or three servings.

Do Some Math

Click here to go to the home page for A Diabetic Life.

Multiply the number of servings by the calories in a serving and you will be saved from one of the diabetic label lies.

The label may say a serving is half a cup, which is really small. So why call it a serving? Because that makes the food appear diet friendly.

So do some math. On a soup can you read 60 calories per serving, and the serving size is one cup (after you add water).

There are 2.5 servings in the can. That's 60 plus 60, or 120, then add 30 for the half serving. That means the can holds 180 calories.

So the whole can contains 180 calories. Do the same math for the carbs, then decide if you want it or not. Not simple, is it?

The Zero Sugar Lie

Your diabetic label lies when it tells you a candy has zero sugar. Diabetic candy makers trick us by using sugar alcohol instead of sugar.

We think sugar alcohols are sugar free, but all of them have calories, and those calories are perceived as sugar by your body and used like sugar. So how are they different? In name only.

The worst of these sugar alcohols is maltilol. It is cheaper to make than the others so it is used a lot. But it is the least desirable sugar alcohol for a diabetic.

There is one sugar alcohol that is diabetic friendly - erythritol. It has almost no calories and fewer of the digestive side effects of other sugar alcohols.

So check the label of any zero sugar candy and find out which sugar alcohol is used. Most of the time it is not erythritol.

Also, measure the calorie count against a regular candy. For example, one Dove Dark Chocolate Promises wrapped candy is 40 calories. One Weight Watchers sugar free chocolate candy is 50 calories.

Which one do you want?

Hiding the Sugar

By law, label makers must list ingredients in order, highest to lowest by weight. Many cereals and snacks would list sugar as a top ingredient if labels were honest.

How do they get around the law? By using several different forms of sugar  and listing them separately, they contribute to diabetic label lies.

To find out the truth, go to the totals and see that sugars are listed there by percentages. Where are those sugars hidden?

Search for words ending in -ose, and for things like high fructose corn syrup, honey and brown sugar lower on the ingredient list.

Here is another example of finding diabetic label lies. Compare two fiber or protein bars, checking the fiber and sugar percentages as well as protein and carbohydrates in grams.

The differences will amaze you. Yet they sit side by side on the shelf like equals.

Look for Fiber

If you look at the sugar and fiber percentages, you have a quick picture of just how diabetic diet food label reading can help you the most.

Look for high fiber content because the higher the fiber, the longer it takes for sugars to be digested. Also, fat slows down sugar metabolism.

What this means is you cannot simply read the big print on the package and know it will be a good diabetic snack.

Label Reading

Here is a simple way to read labels. Look at the first five ingredients.

Do you find saturated fat, trans fat, sugar of any kind or white flour? If these are among the first five, you know this food is not diabetic friendly.

Remember when you are reading nutrition labels on mixes that calories are listed before you add the other ingredients. Check the calories after adding the milk, margarine, and other things.

Those may not be diabetic label lies, but they make calorie counting more confusing.

What a Label Is For

If diabetic label lies frustrate you, please remember what a label is for. You and I want to know what is in the package, how many calories, how much sugar.

But the manufacturer simply wants you to buy it, so they make it look like what you want. Packaging is a huge part of the cost of grocery and convenience store food.

It is advertising.

Look at it that way and you will not be taken in by diabetic label lies. Do not look at the cover. Go to the nutrition. The facts are in the small print.

If the print is too small, use a pocket magnifier. It beats frowning at labels and getting grouchy. (I've been there.)

Of course, the simple way to avoid all this is to buy fresh things. They do not need labels because you know what is in them.

I hope these facts help you keep your cool while you look for healthy food.

[Go back to the top]

Return to diabetic weight loss from diabetic label lies.