Reading Food Labels for Carb CountingFriday, August 15, 2014
Interested in carb counting?
It is important that you understand how to read a food label. There are 6 food groups, starch, milk, fruit, vegetables, fat and meat. Of those 6, the 4 with carbohydrates are starch, milk, fruit and vegetables. For this week, when reading a food label, please only focus on the Serving size, Servings per container and Total Carbohydrates.
The “serving size” is located on the top of the label, if you see a number with a “g” next to it for example it says 28g on the label below that is telling you that is the weight of 21 pieces. It is not the amount of carbs in the product. So the serving size for this food is 21 pieces, and below serving size is “servings per container” and there are 2 servings per container. The information on the label is for only one serving, so if you were to eat the whole container you have to multiply everything by 2.
So how many carbohydrates are in one serving of this product? If you said 14 grams that is correct. If you wanted to eat the whole container, how many carbohydrates would you be eating? If you said 28 grams you are correct. Items with labels make carbohydrate counting very simple, as long as you understand how to read a food label. Every chance you get, practice reading food labels and become familiar with serving sizes and total carbohydrates. Remember the most accurate way to ensure you are counting correctly is to use a food scale and measuring cups.
Fiber & Sugar Alcohols
Since fiber and sugar alcohols are not completely digested and absorbed we can subtract a certain amount from the total carbohydrates. If there are 5 grams or more of fiber, take half and subtract from the total carbs. If there are 5 grams or more of sugar alcohol take half and subtract from total carbs.
Fiber = 6 grams divide by 2 = 3 grams. Total carbs 20 grams – 3 = 17 grams.
Sugar Alcohol = 8 grams divide by 2 = 4 grams. Total carbs 20 grams – 4 = 16 grams.
Since there is fiber and sugar alcohol that you are deducting, it would be 20 grams – 3g (fiber) - 4g (Sugar alcohol) = 13grams of carbs that you would count for.
Read part 1 of this series - Understanding Carbohydrate Counting