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What do “Low-Carb” Labels Really Mean to You?

separator After the “low-carb” diets became popular, food marketers realized they could make their products more appealing by putting labels on their products such as “carb smart,” “carb aware,” “carbohydrate countdown” and similar terms. Bread, snack foods and cereals are just some of the items where you can find these labels. 

The key word in the first sentence of this article is “marketers.” The first goal of food manufacturers is to sell their products. So you have to take with a grain of salt any claims they make. While it’s true that some of the ingredients may have been changed to reduce carbohydrate levels, it’s also true that the change isn’t usually that dramatic, and calories often remain the same. 

In other words, eating a lot of these so-called “carb conscious” foods is not going to help you as you manage your diabetes in terms of carb counting and weight control.

Other terms you may have noticed on these packages are things like “net carbs,” “effective carbs” or impact carbs.” But the Food and Drug Administration has not approved these terms, and there’s no recommendation that people take them into account as they manage their diabetes. 

Remember, the American Diabetes Association does not endorse a low-carb diet for people with diabetes. Instead, they recommend a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods—including carbohydrates.

Diabetes Today, March 2005
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