Today, this Thankful Thursday, I will not write an emotional, sappy tear-jerker. I could, I almost did, but I am not. I’ll just save it. Instead, I will tell you one of the top five, maybe even one of the top three things I am most thankful for in diabetes management . . . the Nutrition Label.
The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act was signed in November 1990 requiring most foods approved by the FDA to have a label describing the nutrients in the food. It is based on a 2000 calorie diet. But, honestly, at this point in the game, the calorie amount does not matter to me for Ryan. It’s, as we d-people know, the CARBOHYDRATES.
Sugar is a carbohydrate. So it IS important to know the sugar content in the food Ryan is eating. But not all carbohydrates are sugar. And we count ALL carbs. We also pay attention to protein. Protein, in layman’s terms, stretches the carbs making them last longer. So that is also taken into consideration when bolusing insulin, especially when we are treating nighttime lows and for breakfast. And I also make note of the fiber if it’s high. I do NOT do the net carb formula for Ryan. But I do recognize that not all carbs are “created equal.” And a carb might affect you differently than it does Ryan. But fiber does play a role with how I bolus for some (not many) foods.
But back to the label. I cannot imagine counting every carb for every bite of food that goes into Ryan’s mouth without the aid of this most awesome label. Whether it’s buying a big bag of pretzel sticks and counting out 15, putting them in a snack back and writing 12 on the bagggie with handy Sharpie and tossing it into the snack box, or pouring the entire box of cereal into my Tupperware bins, cutting out the nutritional label and taping it to the side, or buying individually packaged snacks that has the label on every individual baggie . . . it is one LESS guessing numbers game for this numbers-impaired momma brain.
And not to mention the boom this Nutrition Labeling Act has had on restaurants, smart phone apps & websites and our carb counting bible, Calorie King. Seriously, how exited to you get when you ask for a Nutrition Guide at a restaurant and get it served to you promptly (Red Lobster, Steak ‘n Shake, IHOP in our personal experience). Or how about when the Burger King in Wylie, Texas has their entire menu blown up in an approximate 6 foot by 3 foot (I kid you not!) enframed poster on the wall next to the order counter. Or when Kraft Foods recipe magazine has the nutritional information in the index for every recipe. Or Taco Bell or Wendy’s online menu builder than automatically does the math for you. Or when the nutritional guide is handed to you at Chic-fil-a with a smile and a cheerful “My Pleasure!” There is such relief and even JOY that overcomes knowing I just have to look for the line, rather than guess how it was prepared, how much fat and the total carbs.
And as trivial as it may sound and not negating all those emotionally sapper tear-jerker things to be thankful for, today I am seriously thankful for the NUTRITION LABEL!