Finding Facts on Food Labels

12/17/07 Fat-free, low-carb, reduced sugar, no-trans-fat - you've seen it all. Those claims can make a trip to the grocery store downright confusing.

Karen Method relies on food labels to keep her alive. She has diabetes and has had three heart attacks.

"I'd like to live a long time," said Karen.

The labels don't always make sense.

"What are 'other carbohydrates?'" asked Karen.

A bag of brown sugar, Splenda, 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," said Dr. Russell Rothman. "They didn't understand the serving size information."

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 F.D.A. doesn't regulate low-carb claims on the front of the box, so you'll have to check that yourself.

That's something Karen does every day.

"Just make it easy. It doesn't have to be that complicated."

But with a little patience, those labels can keep you healthy.

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