How to Calculate Glycemic Load

The human body and its cells need energy to function and survive. Their main source of energy is from glucose which is a sugar that comes from carbohydrates. Sugars raise or lower blood sugar and the glycemic response is how fast blood glucose levels increase after a meal. Glycemic index is used to calculate the rate of the glycemic response of certain foods. There is no way to calculate the glycemic index mathematically, instead is it ranked on a scale of 1-100 and this is found through experiments of foods tested in the lab. The concept of Glycemic Load is especially useful for diabetics to determine which foods have a lower glycemic index to benefit their diet and so that they can monitor whether or not their blood sugar will quickly increase after eating.


  1. 1
    Carefully read the introduction to understand the purpose of this process
    • It will explain why this set of instructions is helpful for our health
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    Choose any food item on the glycemic index chart.
  3. 3
    Write down the glycemic index listed for that food.
  4. 4
    Identify the net carbs for the the food in question and record it.
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    Write the equation for calculating glycemic load.
    • GL = Glycemic Index x Net Carbohydrate / 100
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    Input the value for glycemic index into the equation.
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    Input the value for net carbs into the equation.
  8. 8
    Multiply Glycemic Index by Net Carbs
  9. 9
    Divide the product of Glycemic Index and Net Carbs by 100
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    Evaluate this answer to decide whether or not the food you have chosen will cause your blood sugar to increase quickly or slowly.
  11. 11
    Repeat steps 1-9 if your calculated Glycemic Load is 20 or more.
    • This will also aid in helping you learn which foods are healthier than others
  12. 12
    Go ahead and prepare a low glycemic diet by consuming foods with a low glycemic load!


  • Keep in mind that glycemic load is not the sole solution to consuming healthier foods.
  • Troubleshooting: if your answer does not seem accurate (either too high or too low), be sure that you have multiplied the two numbers together before dividing by 100. This has a big effect on your final answer.


  • FAQ: If I consume only foods with a low glycemic load, will this help me to lose weight?
  • This equation is not the only tool that should be used when planning a diet. Other factors such as current health should be considered.
  • Consult a doctor if you are planning to diet or drastically change your lifestyle.

Things You'll Need

  • calculator
  • pencil
  • paper

Sources and Citations

  • "Glycemic Index." Self Nutrition Data. 1 Feb. 2014. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.
  • Smolin, Lori A., Ph.D., and Mary B. Grosvenor, M.S., R.D. Nutrition Science and Applications, Binder Ready Version. 3rd ed. John Wiley & Sons, 2015. Print.

Article Info

Categories: Mathematics