Glycemic Load: The Key to a Smarter Diabetes Diet
Once you’ve mastered counting carbs, just a little more math will let you fine-tune your diabetes diet plan. Figuring out the glycemic load of a food can help you craft a menu that won’t put your blood sugar on a roller coaster.
Understanding Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load
Beyond carbohydrate counting, you might already be looking at the glycemic index (GI) number, which tells you how quickly your blood sugar might spike after eating a certain type of food. The GI of carb-based foods is a measurement of how quickly blood sugar rises after eating in comparison to a slice of white bread, which has a GI of 100. In general, the lower the GI number, the less dramatically the food will affect blood sugar. Low-GI foods are generally 55 or less.
However, calculating the glycemic load (GL) can provide an even more accurate picture of what that food will do to your blood sugar. “Glycemic load accounts for carbohydrates in food and how much each gram of it will raise your blood sugar level,” says Krista Wennerstrom, RD, food and nutrition services director at Thorek Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
To find a food’s GL, multiply its GI by the number of carbohydrate grams in a serving, and then divide by 100. A low GL is between 1 and 10; a moderate GL is 11 to 19; and a high GL is 20 or higher. For those with diabetes, you want your diet to have GL values as low as possible.
As an example, an average cake-type doughnut has a GI of 76 and 23 carbohydrate grams. Multiply 76 by 23 and then divide by 100, and you get 17.48, which is close to the top of the moderate range for glyce Continue reading