Sugar Free, Gluten Free, And Vegan Are NOT Carb Free !

Diabetes can pose a number of challenges to those with the diagnosis.

With a heavy emphasis on foods, content and the impacts of those choices, understanding nutrition labels can be a daunting task.

“There’s a lot of label confusion, so we’re here to help,” said Patricia Zimmerman, a registered dietitian and a certified diabetes educator with the Diabetes Support Group through Monongahela Valley Hospital.

“A lot of people have questions about better choices,” said Zimmerman. “We also have questions from people about whether they need supplements.”

Zimmerman said a common misconception is associated with sugar-free items.

“Sugar-free doesn’t mean lower carbs. They forget there’s other forms of carbs,” she said. “We want to steer them in the right direction.”

McClain said one of the keys to success is going with, and sticking to, a shopping list.

“Don’t shop when you’re hungry,” McClain said. “And stick to the perimeter of the store. There’s where the dairy, meats, fruits and veggies are located.”

“If you have to go into the inner aisles, get what you need and get out,” she added with a laugh. “It’ll also cut back on impulse buying.”

McClain also stressed the importance of understanding labels, noting that basic label reading can help people eat less, lose weight and focus on the food’s contents to help blood sugar controls.

“Most of us eat on autopilot. We eat because it’s there in front of us, whether we need it or not,” she said. “Label reading will make you more aware. It’s the first step.”

Pantry items include canned vegetables, rice, tuna, pasta and nuts.

Remember Gluten Free or Vegan does not mean carbohydrate free .  It is important to look at the number of carbs, grams of sugar, grams of fiber per serving and the number of servings in the container. If the food is in a package get in the habit of looking at these numbers and evn when your tempted to eat those peasnut butter cups or cookies one look at the label should shock you back into reality.  

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