More About Food (isn’t it always about food)

November 23rd, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I am not a medical professional.  I cannot give nutritional advice or guidance.  I am able only to share basic information: if you have more specific questions I advise you to seek a professional trained to give nutritional and dietetic advice.


Food labels.

More specifically, CLAIMS on food labels.

See, diabetes is complicated and I personally do not appreciate (read: Do. Not. Appreciate.) marketers messing with me and my efforts to do my best.

I came across notes from a presentation I was at a number of years ago; I had forgotten some of the points and thought you might be interested in them.  I took a look at the FDA website and they don’t look like they have changed.

Fact: THE FDA DOES NOT EVALUATE NOR REGULATE TERMS PLACED ON LABELS OUTSIDE THE NUTRITION FACTS LABEL (the box with the calories, carbohydrate, serving size, etc)

If you’ve ever done carb counting you know what you look for in that Nutrition Facts box:

  • Single serving size
  • Number of servings in container
  • Number of carbohydrates in serving size

(I often take it another step beyond this and calculate how many carbohydrates are in the entire package, then, and divide that by how much of the container I think I’m going to eat.  It’s somehow easier for me.  It’s what I did with Weight Watcher points, too.)

And then there began the entire “Carb Craze” a number of years ago that messed with labeling even more:

*Net Carbs         *Non Impact Carbs         *Impact Carbs

These carbohydrate whizbang mathematics mean nothing: they have no legal or scientific definition.  If you subtract fiber when you count your carbs because your doctor or CDE told you to, keep doing whatever you were taught.  Don’t pay attention to this hocus pocus.  You know what impacts your blood sugar far, far better than any food marketer!!

And what is a sugar alcohol, anyway?  It is a carbohydrate with a chemical structure similar to sugar and alcohol, sure, but they are not completely absorbed the way that sugar is.  So not only will they mess with your digestive system, they will also mess with your carbohydrate counts.  I mean, how does one reliably calculate for “incomplete absorption”??  I will always vote against “sugar free candy” because they are concocted using a lot of sugar alcohols.  Crazy, disruptive, and not even very tasty!! 

More words they use to make “food” sound like you want to buy it but actually have zero meaning and are unverified by any reputable agency: natural, nontoxic, sensitivity tested, no chemical, no hormones, ozone-friendly.

I’m just saying: if you are buying “food” because it is ozone friendly, you need to see a registered dietitian.  Stat.

Yes, diabetes is the thinking person’s disease.  We have to think all the time.  But more than that, we have to be critical when it comes to our food choices.  We have to know all of this stuff on the labels and what it means for us and our bodies.  You’ve always got to be learning and taking mental notes since our bodies change over time and without warning.

It’s complicated. 

So stop messing with me, food marketers!! 

If you need me, I’ll be in the produce section.  I feel safer over there…

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