Fruits and vegetables fill a wooden, heart-shaped bowl next to a diet log and blood sugar tracking devices

Reading Food Labels

Reading nutrition or food labels can be confusing. It is important to understand food labels to maintain a healthy diet.

Serving size tells you the portion size you should be eating.

Please remember that if you double the portion, you will need to double all of the measures.

Total calories per serving: Calories are units of energy your body consumes. Talk to your healthcare provider to learn how many calories you need.

Total Carbohydrate includes sugar, starches, and fiber. Use total grams if counting carbs.

  • Fiber: Tells you how many carbohydrates come from fiber. Adults need between 25-38 grams per day.
  • Total Sugars tells you how many carbohydrates come from sugar
  • Added Sugars tell you how many sugars were added during food processing. LIMIT added sugars

If you have other conditions like heart disease or kidney disease, you should follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations.

Example Nutrition Facts label
If the label says:One serving of the product has:
Sugar FreeLess than 0.5 gm of sugar
Reduced or less sugarNo sugar or sugar-containing ingredient is added to the product during processing. This is not a sugar-free product.
High fiber5 gm or more of fiber
Good source of fiber2.5 to 4.9 gm of fiber
Fat free, saturated fat free, or trans-fat freeLess than 0.5 gm of total far, saturated or trans fat
Low fat3 gm or less of total fat
Low saturated fat1 gm or less of saturated fat
Reduced or less fatAt least 25% less fat than the regular version
Sodium-free, salt-free, or no sodiumLess than 5 mg of sodium and no sodium chloride in the ingredients
Very low sodium35 mg or less of sodium
No added salt or unsaltedNo salt added to the product during processing. This is not a sodium-free product.
Low sodium140 mg or less sodium
Reduced or less sodiumAt least 25% less sodium than the regular version
Light in sodium50% less sodium than the regular version

How to understand food label language

Many food labels state the number of nutrients included, such as sugar, fiber, fat, and sodium. Use the table below to understand what those statements mean as you look for foods to help you manage your diabetes and reduce diabetes-related complications.

At Elderplan, we value the health and wellness of our members. Knowing the basics about specific health conditions may help you be more aware of the risk factors to look for. 

If you are an Elderplan Member and need help, contact Member Services. We can assist in scheduling your screening or recommend other care options through one of our programs.

If you are not a Member, please explore our health plan options to see if there is a plan that may suit your needs. 

Additional Resources

Food and Nutrition

Lower your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease by learning about nutrition and the foods that keep you healthy!

All Resources