Are you smarter than a box of cereal?

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Today, we're looking at a box of cereal.

A few months ago, a patient of mine found out she had Type 2 diabetes. So, we worked on a plan for her, and she was doing great. She changed her diet, she lost a lot of weight, and her blood sugar was looking great.  One day, we were chatting about different things, and I asked her, "What do you eat for breakfast?"

She said, "I'm having cereal."

So, I asked, "What kind of cereal?"

She replied, "I found the best cereal! I found the one with the lowest carbs in it. It's the frosted version of the oats cereal!"

That made me pause. How could that be? I had to check that out for myself! So, I went to the grocery store. Right there in the cereal aisle, I compared the frosted version to the regular version. Low and behold, the frosted version had 18 grams of carbs, and the regular version had 22.

Does serving size matter?

That can't be right, can it?

I didn't think that was right. So, I looked at the serving size. The serving size for the frosted version was half a cup, and the serving size for the regular version was a full cup.

Isn't that terribly misleading? You think you're comparing apples to apples, but the serving size for the frosted variety is half the size of the regular version! Instead of 18 grams of carbs, you'd consume at least 36 grams! (I mean, who really eats just one cup?)

Two Things to Take Away

  1. When something on the label doesn't make sense, look a little further. Always question it. Don't take it for granted.
  2. Always, always, always look at the serving size. Food manufacturers can manipulate the serving size to make something look higher or lower depending on what they're trying to sell.

Today's tip: be a smart label reader.

And now you're smarter than a box of cereal!

P.S. If you haven't been in to see us for awhile, let's get together and have a check up! We can help you through any stalls and answer any nutrition questions you may have. If you're new to this nutrition thing, let's chat! Visits with a dietitian may be covered by your insurance. Schedule an appointment today!

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