For people with diabetes, the terms glycemic index and glycemic load are probably pretty familiar.
However, there is often some confusion about how they help in diabetes management.
The glycemic index scale is ranked from low to high impact on blood sugar from 0 to 100. Pure glucose is ranked at 100 on the GI as it has the strongest impact on blood glucose levels.
Figuring out the glycemic index of the foods you want to eat can be done by searching an online database.
Glycemic load is similar to glycemic index in that it ranks foods based on their ability to raise blood sugar levels.
The important difference is that GL actually takes into account the portion of food consumed, making it more accurate representation of blood sugar response.
Calculating the glycemic load is pretty simple. Take the grams of carbohydrates in the portion of food you consume and multiply that by the glycemic index of the food, then divide by 100.
The equation for glycemic load looks like this:
GL = (grams of carbs x GI) / 100
While neither of these are perfect measures, the GI and GL are still useful to help you plan better meals for blood sugar balance when you have diabetes.