I am trying to eat more of a low carb diet but am getting a little confused on the whole "carb" and "sugar" listings on labels. Is there a magical number to stay below with carbs and sugars when looking at a particular food? And when looking at juice labels, they are way high in both...but the 100% juice labels are still okay to consume, correct?

It is a good idea to pay attention to your carbohydrate (CHO) intake during the day. I don’t necessarily promote a “low” carbohydrate diet but more encourage people to make healthy choices when it comes to carbohydrates and to try not to take in more than your body needs during the day. It is suggested that about 50-60% of our total daily calorie intake come from carbohydrates (including bread, rice, pasta, cereal, fruit, milk etc). If you are unsure about how many calories your body needs, get help from the Nutritional Needs Health Calculator on the Old Orchard website. From here just enter your information and it can calculate approximately how many calories you should consume each day. For example, if you need around 1800 calories a day, around 900-1000 calories should come from carbohydrates. Since there are ~4 calories per gram of CHO, you should aim to consume around 225-250 grams per day. This may sound like a lot, but each “serving” of CHO = ~15 grams so you need 15-16 servings per day. Again, the number looks high but it is generally recommended that you get around 45-60 grams per meal and 15-30 grams for a snack. A 45-60 gram CHO lunch could look like 2 slices of whole grain bread topped with hummus/veggies served with a side of sliced fruit.

Label reading can be somewhat confusing. I would pay more attention to the total number of carbohydrates that a product has in it and also try to look for products with a high dietary fiber content. Also, make sure you compare various products in the grocery store. You will need to become familiar with serving size as well as total calorie content. For example: you are wavering between two cereals. Cereal A per 3/4th cup has 70 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 17 grams of carbohydrate while Cereal B per 3/4th cup has 150 calories, 1 gram of fiber and 28 grams of carbohydrate. So for the same amount of food you could save 80 calories when choosing Cereal A and actually get more fiber/less carbohydrates. It is a lot to take in but once you begin regularly checking labels you will become familiar with nutrient contents of various foods and will begin to know which have the most fiber and are the “healthiest”. Generally products with higher grams of sugar and lower grams of fiber are not considered the best for us.
Choosing 100% fruit juice is a good choice. These juices allow you to get a lot of important vitamins and minerals that promote overall health and they are not made with added sugars, just naturally occurring sugar. Try to steer clear of products that say “made with fruit juice”, “made with added juice”, “fruit punch” etc. because they generally contain a lot of added sugars (which we need to limit). Keep in mind, however, that even though 100% fruit juice is healthy for you, it still contains calories. One 8 oz serving of juice could provide ~130 calories. Consuming an entire bottle of 100% fruit juice would likely give you around 1,000+ calories. That is a lot! If you are trying to lose weight and are calorie conscious, choose other Old Orchard juices like Healthy Balance (8 oz = ~29 calories) or Cranberry Naturals (8 oz = 70 calories). These will both give you excellent juice flavor without all the added calories.

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