The most common recommended method for monitoring daily sugar intake for diabetics is carbohydrate counting because carbohydrates are the nutrients that most affect blood sugar levels, reports the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Another method of monitoring sugar intake is using the glycemic index, which measures how specific types of carbohydrate-containing foods raise blood sugar levels, as the American Diabetes Association explains.
The carbohydrates in food break down into glucose, which is a simple form of sugar, as the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases details. In carbohydrate counting, nutrition experts measure the amount of carbohydrates foods contain by grams, and each gram equals about four calories. Since the amount of carbohydrates that individuals need varies, dieticians must assist diabetics in determining their daily carbohydrate intake. To help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, diabetics should ingest healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.
The glycemic index measures the effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar levels rather than the amount of carbohydrates in food, according to the American Diabetes Association, and similar foods may have different glycemic index ratings. For instance, stone ground bread has a low glycemic index rating. However, whole wheat bread has a medium rating, while white bread has a high rating. Other factors that affect glycemic index ratings are storage time, ripeness, processing, the method of cooking and food combinations. Experts generally recommend that diabetics use the carbohydrate counting as the primary tool for monitoring blood sugar and the glycemic index as a useful secondary method for fine-tuning food choices.