Why is it important for diabetics to know the ingredients of their food?

It’s important to know the ingredients in your food if you have diabetes because a major part of managing the disease is through diet. In fact, some people with type 2 diabetes may be able to keep the disease under control through diet and exercise alone.

Limiting your intake of carbohydrates is key. You may think that piece of battered fish or barbecued chicken counts as protein, but it may be loaded with fat and carbohydrates, too. The fish can have 11 grams of carbohydrates, while the 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce on the chicken has 15 – the same amount as a slice of bread. If you’re trying to eat no more than 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal (depending on your size, activity level and weight-loss goals), you could easily underestimate your intake if you don’t know the ingredients in what you’re eating.
Tonya Bolden
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Food and beverage manufacturers have to list the ingredients of their products on labels, but you are responsible for knowing what those ingredients mean for your health. Diabetics need to be aware of sodium content for the sake of their blood pressure, and sugar and fat contents for the sake of their blood sugar. And remember: carbohydrates turn into sugar.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.