In our last blog we explored what nutritional labels on packaged foods mean and why is it important to go through these labels. In this blog we will look at what do serving sizes mean and their importance in our diet. We will also look at some smart consumer tips for individuals with diabetes.
– Dr. Pooja, Senior Nutritionist @eKincare.com
Serving sizes are standardized measurements provided in familiar units, such as cups or pieces, followed by the metric amount, e.g., the number of grams. These serving sizes may not be relevant in practical setting.
Rather than focus on serving size, one should check total calories per serving. Look at the serving size and how many servings you are really consuming. For e.g. If the serving size for popular cookies is 3 cookies (34g), we usually do not stop at 3, we consume more than one serving. If we double the servings, we double the calories and nutrients, including the Percent Daily Value (% DV to learn more about Percent Daily Value click here).
If one serving of cookies provide 10% DV of saturated fat, then 2 servings will provide 20% of saturated fat leaving behind very little of our fat allowance for all of the other foods we eat that day.
Similarly, one serving for ice-creams is only ½ cup, but do we have only that much at one time?
Therefore one needs to keep in mind the calories per serving and calculate the percent daily value basis the number of servings. This goes a long way in planning your diet and helping you keep your weight in check.
SMART CONSUMER TIP – For people with DIABETES
Dietary fiber: 100% DV for dietary fiber is achieved by consuming 25g/ day. Diet high in dietary fiber promotes healthy bowel function, helps in lowering weight and cholesterol levels thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Look for products that provide 20% of more of the DV for fiber (at least 5g/ serving).
Obese people and those suffering from diabetes need to pay special attention to fiber content as higher amounts of fiber can delay absorption of food from the stomach and prevents you from feeling hungry faster. This means that one feels fuller for a longer time after consuming high fiber food and can avoid frequent snacking.
Did you know – Biscuits claiming to be High-fiber or mutli-grain rarely contain more than 2g of dietary fiber/ serving. In fact, they are laden with free sugars and saturated fat.
So next time you pick up a packaged food, ensure you read the nutritional labels!