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Nutrition information shown is for the serving size that’s listed. However, the serving on the label may not be the same as the serving size in your meal plan, so you may need to make adjustments —multiplying or dividing nutritional information by 2 for example—if you eat more or less than the suggested serving size.

To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you put out. Calories measure the amount of energy the body can get from food. You can use the food label to choose products with fewer overall calories. A good rule to follow: If more than one-third of a product’s calories come from fat, it should be avoided.

This shows how much of a specific nutrient one serving of food contains for someone on a 2000-calorie diet.

It’s important to look at the grams of total fat in a serving. The label will tell you whether the product contains “good” fats (monounsaturated) or “bad” fats (saturated or trans-fats). Since fat has twice the calories of carbs or protein, you’ll also be able to tell how much that fat would add to your calorie count for a given product.

Recommended intake of sodium for healthy adults is less than 2400 mg a day. Many people consume far more sodium than they should. If you have high blood pressure (people with diabetes often do), you’ll want to aim for less. Sodium, however, does not affect blood glucose levels.

Look at the grams of total carbohydrates, rather than the grams of sugar. You may notice that milk and fruit have a lot of sugar, but they also offer plenty of nutrients, so they belong in your diet. However, foods such as cereals have less sugar but many carbs, so it’s a good idea to choose them in moderation.

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