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Senior Nutrition - Read Those Labels



By Susan Wholley

My work as a Community Outreach Liaison for Synergy HomeCare in Stamford, allows me to connect with seniors in our service area, throughout Fairfield County. As part of my presentation on Diabetes, I always spend a good amount of time talking about reading food labels. Back in the day, diabetes was all about watching out for sugars. Now we know that it is the carbohydrates along with the sugars that we really need to be aware of, because carbohydrates break down into sugars. Knowing how many grams are in a serving and how many servings you may have per meal is the key to a healthy diet, not just for those with diabetes.

Reading labels is the key to knowing what you are putting into your body and how much you can have of a certain type of food. The side of the box will tell you how many grams of sugar, sodium, fiber, carbohydrates, fats, cholesterol and protein one serving will have as well as the size of the serving. For someone with diabetes, the serving size is calculated by the carbohydrates. 15 grams of carbohydrate is considered one serving, so if the serving size says the carb count is 30, then for a diabetic, that serving size is actually considered 2 servings, not one. This is a good rule of thumb for seniors who often should watch their sugars (and carbs).

Now let's look at fats. Trans fat is a no-no. Period. Trans fat is the worst kind of fat that you can put into your body. Saturated fat is on the fence of being not good for you, but in some cases not bad for you either. Polyunsaturated fat and Monounsaturated fat are the better fats and not worrisome. So read your labels! See what kinds of fat are in the product you want to eat. Does it have Trans Fat? If so, find another product that is similar. How many carbohydrates are in each serving, how many sugars?

Keeping tabs on what you are putting into your body will help you to promote healthier eating and a more nutritional diet.


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