But the labels don't always make sense. Take this box of cereal. As a diabetic, Karen needs to know the carb content but she finds something else.
"What are 'other carbohydrates?'"
And a bag of brown sugar Splenda, it says low sugar, but has the same amount as a regular bag per serving.
Doctor Russell Rothman conducted a study to find out how well Americans understand food labels.
"Just about everybody had some trouble understanding some of the food labels," says Dr. Russell, Researcher.
Can you figure out how many carbs are in this bottle of soda? One serving has 27 grams, but there are two and a half servings in the bottle. Don't worry, only one-third got it right!
"They didn't understand the serving size information," says Dr. Russell.
So always look at the serving size first. And remember claims like "no trans-fat" mean per serving.
Also know sugar alcohol measures the sugar substitutes in the product. Other carbs are the starches that aren't sugar.
And the FDA doesn't regulate low-carb claims on the front of the box, so you'll have to check that yourself. Something Karen does every day.
With a little patience, those labels can keep you healthy.