How To Read Food Labels For Diabetics

› Food Labels For Diabetics

Learning how to read food labels for diabetics is very important when it comes to help you develop a healthy lifestyle.

Understand the labels and the information printed on the side will help you make smarter food choices at the grocery store that will ensure you get the nutritional values you need as a diabetic. 

With the food label for diabetics, you can understand the amount and kind of nutrients that are provide in the item.

On the food label it shows information in calories, saturated fat, sodium, total fat, fiber, protein and cholesterol amounts “per serving.”

But when it comes to reading these labels it can be very difficult.

Now many people like myself would look at these numbers and ask, what does it mean and how does this affect my blood sugar , weight loss plan and healthy eating.

The Breakdown of the Food Labels for Diabetics 

In order to have a clear understanding of what written on the Nutrition fact on the food label, here is a list of what you need to know.

1.  Serving Size / Number of Servings

2.  Calories / Calories from Fat

3.  % Daily Value

4.  Nutrients to limit

5.  Nutrients to get enough of

6.  Footnote

Serving Size / Number of Servings

This is the first thing that you see when you look at the food labels for diabetics. Here you will see the serving size and the number of servings in the package.

The serving size is usually shown in the standardised measurements for example: cups or pierces followed by the metric amount.

The amount of serving that is list on the food label refers to the quantity of food that everyone should consume, but this does not reflects the amount of food that people usually intake.

The nutritional information is based on a single serving so be sure to increase or decrease based on the number of servings you have.

So for example, If the serving size says one servings size is 1 cup and you eat a ½ a cup then you would have only taken just ½ of the nutrients listed on the label. 

Now if the label says 2 servings per container and you just consume the whole package then you have eaten 2 servings.

So this means that you just consume double the nutritional values to determine how many calories, fat calories etc. you need.

Back to top

Calories and Calories from Fat

Calories mean the unit of energy that you get from food so on the food labels for diabetics. It represent the amount of energy that you will get from this item.

So now if you're counting calories and you're trying to lose weight , then this is the part of the label that you need to read to ensure that you do not consume too much calories.

This is also useful to ensure that you do not consume too few calories while on your weight plan.

Remember that the number of calories listed on the label is per one serving. In the example above there are 250 calories per one serving and there are 2 serving per box. So if you eat the whole box that would have consume 500 calories.

The calories from the fat is also very important while trying to control your weight and control your diabetes. You may want to reduce your fat intake as much as possible when you losing weight.

Back to top

%Daily Values(%DV)

Now the %Daily Values(%DV) is perhaps the most confusing part of the food labels for diabetics.  The %DV is based on the daily recommended values for a person that consumes a 2000 a day calorie intake. The percent help you judge if the food is high or low in nutrients example total fat , fiber, and more.

The percentage part does not add up to a total of 100% for that food items. Instead the percent shown is represent of the particular nutrient and how much the food items will supply you with the recommended daily amount for that nutrient.

For example the food label shown here is 12% total fat. So this mean if you eat one serving of this food items uses 18% of the total of the 100% of the recommended intake for the day.

So even if your calorie intake is less or more than the 2000 calories per day you can still use these percentages to make sure that you are getting the correct amount of that particular nutrient per day.

Likewise it can help you minimize those nutrient if you wanted to be careful not to exceed your daily limits.

So learning the %Daily Value will help you to make a better selection and the grocery store and not fall into the “sales pitch” of certain foods.

For example, if an item says “reduced fat” you can compare the %DV of the two like products and see exactly which food is lower in fat. But just make sure the the serving size is the same before you compare.

Back to top

Nutrients to Limit

When you read the food labels for diabetics be careful of the total (saturated and trans fat), cholesterol and sodium content.  

This is usually the first nutrient when you read the labels in the left side and are generally the nutrient that we get adequate amount of and often times too much of. 

So when you consume the food idem, try to limit these nutrients and ensure you do not go overboard the daily recommended amounts.

Back to top

Nutrients You Want

In the nutrient you want to make sure that you a getting enough dietary fiber, vitamin A & C, Calcium and Iron.

Now most people don’t get the the recommended daily amount from these nutrients.

Eating the correct amount of nutrients can improve your overall health, and drop the risk of other medical risk, For example, Calcium intake is very important for the strength of your bones and dietary fiber helps with the bowel functions.

Also diets high in fruits and vegetables, which are high in vitamins and dietary fiber, may reduce heart disease.

Back to top


At the bottom of the food label, the section that starts with the “*”  if call the footnote is in reference of the % Daily Value listed above the footnote.

This section is require on all food label but it may not be on all packages.

When the footnote is available it should be in the same place. 

The footnote on the food label will show you the recommended amount for a 2000 a day calorie diet and a 2500 as calorie. So as you can see on thefootnote, the daily amount for total fat is 65g a 2000 calories and 80g for 2500. 

Upper limits 

The nutrient that is listed in the upper are listed first and have “less than” associated with the calories column. This mean the you should set a goal to consume less and the upper limit daily recommended amount. 

Lower limits

The nutrients that list the lower or minimum daily limits are listed last. The goal for these nutrients is to consume at least the recommended daily allowance amounts shown.

Back to top


As you read the food labels you will come across a list of ingredients. The ingredients are usually listed on the packages most of the times it’s close to the food label. This things that you need to watch out for is processed foods such as white flour, sugar, etc .  

When you read the ingredients they are from the great amount by weight to the smallest quantity. This simply means that the actual quantity of the food includes the biggest. 

Back to top

Label Claims

This refers to the kinds of nutritional claims o a particular food item, for example, if th an item says that it is sodium-free, it has less that s milligrams per serving or a low fat item has less than 3 grams of fat.

Read more at Taking a Closer Look At Labels

If you enjoy reading diabetes information please read these article 

Fat Burning Foods

Benefits of Abs Exercise 

Eating Healthy

Return to the top of Food Labels For Diabetics

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Food Labels For Diabetics

Hi My Name is Cyril!!!


Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Diabetes Fit For Life E-zine.