Last updated on October 23rd, 2023
Living with diabetes means making mindful choices about your diet, and one staple food that often raises questions for those with diabetes is rice. With its numerous varieties and cooking methods, finding the best rice for diabetics can be a challenging task. There are studies that suggest eating normal white rice could increase the chances of having diabetes 1.5 times in normal individuals. However, not all rice varieties increase the chances of having diabetes. It all depends upon how you are eating rice, and there are some diabetes-friendly varieties of rice, too. In this blog, we will explore some of the best rice for diabetics, their impact on blood sugar, and offer insights into which varieties may be the most suitable for individuals managing diabetes. Making informed choices about the type of rice you consume can be a key step in maintaining stable blood sugar levels and overall well-being. So, let’s begin!
Best Varieties of Rice for Diabetic Patients
You will be surprised to know there are over 40,000 different types of rice grown around the world. Moreover, in India itself, there are numerous varieties of rice produced in the Northern and Southern states. Some of the varieties are diabetic friendly rice with particular taste, grain size and texture. Here are some of the popular and healthiest rice for diabetics:
- Black rice
- Basmati rice
- Brown rice
- Jasmine rice
- Matta rice
- Parboiled rice
- Sticky or glutinous rice
- Wild rice
- Broken rice
Adding to these, other popular varieties in India include Masuri and Sona Masuri. These are polished varieties of rice; their unpolished variations are too available.
Is Eating Rice for Diabetes Patients Okay?
Rice, due to its high glycemic profile and carb content, is considered by many to be completely avoided. There are also articles on the internet that say rice can cause diabetes. However, the reality is a little different. Rice is tender, easy to digest and a filling food. Yes, diabetes patient can eat rice, but only as part of a diabetes diet plan. The calories and carbs are high in rice therefore, it should be consumed in measured amounts. Also, the glycemic profile of rice is high, so when consuming it, mix it well with dal and veggies. Mixing high-GI foods with other medium to low-GI foods lowers their overall impact on blood sugar. Now let’s check out the overall nutritional profile of rice for diabetics type 2 patients:
Rice Nutritional Profile
- One hundred grams of rice contains about 130 Kcal.
- Rice has no cholesterol.
- Rice is full of calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium.
- Rice has various vitamins and minerals.
- Rice has no sodium.
- There is the presence of antioxidants and flavonoids in rice.
- Rice has riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine, which help in preventing cancer and heart disorders.
Despite all these nutritional benefits, most of the rice in the market lacks them. This is because of the process of polishing and whitening them. When paddy crop goes to rice mills for the process of buffing, most of the rice’s fiber content is lost. The top nutritious layer of rice, known as the barn layer, is also lost.
That is why the glycemic profile of white rice is around 73. Eating simple white rice in considerable amounts will skyrocket your sugar levels. That is why white boiled rice and diabetes don’t go well. When considering white rice for sugar patient consume it as part of their diabetes diet plan and exercise portion control.
Best Low GI Rice for Diabetics
While the primary component of rice is carbohydrates, therefore, technically there is no sugar free rice for diabetics on earth. However, now we’ll reveal some of the healthiest low GI rice for diabetics, which are gentler on your blood sugar. So here is the list of healthiest rice for diabetics:
1. Brown Rice
When considering the best rice for sugar patients, brown rice diabetes patients are a top choice. Unlike white rice, which doesn’t have bran and germ, brown rice has both. The fiber content, too, is high in brown rice, which is 1.6 grams per 100 grams. Following is the nutritional composition of the best brown rice for diabetes patients:
|Nutrients in 100 g cooked brown rice||Amount|
|Manganese||40% of RDV|
|Zinc||7% of RDV|
|Niacin (B3)||15% of RDV|
|Thiamine (B1)||15% of RDV|
|Magnesium||10% of RDV|
|Phosphorus||10% of RDV|
|Pantothenic Acid (B5)||8% of RDV|
How Brown Rice is Good for Diabetes Patients?
Brown rice for sugar patient is beneficial due to its antioxidant content. Antioxidants help fight free radicals in the body. Consumption of brown rice for diabetes also helps reduce postprandial blood sugar. Its high dietary fiber helps diabetics stay fuller for longer. Therefore, overweight diabetes patients looking to control diabetes should include brown rice in their diet plan. Brown rice also contains magnesium, which lessens the chances of having type 2 diabetes.
2. Red Rice
Another low glycemic rice for diabetes patients on this list is ‘Red Rice’. Another name for Red Rice is Navara Rice. Red Rice has a good presence of a strong antioxidant called Anthocyanin. This antioxidant is derived from Anthokyan, which gives this rice a unique reddish shade. Anthocyanin helps in dropping sugar levels in diabetics. Some fruits, too, are rich in Anthokyan, which are grapes and some berries. This gives these fruits red, purple and blue colours.
The compounds such as flavonoids found in Red Rice reduce inflammation, which is beneficial for diabetics. This rice for diabetic patient is beneficial also because of its anti-cancerous properties and promotes good heart health. Overweight diabetes patients can consume red boiled rice for diabetics management as it has a lower glycemic index.
3. Black Rice
Next on this list of sugar control rice is Black Rice. The origin of Black Rice goes back to ancient China. In those, only members of the royal family were allowed to consume Black Rice due to its unique nutrient-dense profile. Black Rice for diabetics provides the highest protein content among all varieties of rice. Just like the Red Rice, Black Rice gets its colour from the Anthocyanin compound. These diabetic rice benefits include:
- Anti-cancerous properties
- Improving heart health
- Contains 23 different types of antioxidants and carotenoids.
- Improves vision and retinal nerve cells
4. Wild Rice
Another sugar free rice for diabetics is Wild Rice. Wild Rice comes from a variety of aquatic grass. This Indian diabetic rice is very common in household kitchens in coastal stretches of India. This sugar free rice benefits include its abundant manganese content. Manganese helps keep mitochondria in cells healthy, thus keeping your body’s metabolism in place.
This low glycemic white rice also has a good amount of ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid). This acid is very beneficial for diabetes patients as it improves insulin production and removes diabetic neuropathy symptoms.
Low Glycemic Rice Types
Now, we take the table of low glycemic rice for diabetes patients. Their GI will be lower than white rice and are slower to digest; thus, it is gentler on blood sugar.
|Rice Types||Glycemic Index|
|Whole Grain Basmati Rice||50-52|
|Brown Rice (Boiled)||50 (approx)|
|Red Rice||55 (approx)|
How is Basmati Rice for Diabetics?
Basmati rice is often considered a better choice for diabetes patients compared to some other rice varieties due to its lower glycemic index (GI). Whole grain basmati rice for diabetic patients has greater amounts of fiber, copper, and magnesium. It also has a starch type called resistant starch, which gets digested slower than normal starch.
Even though Basmati Rice has a lower GI, portion control is key. Consuming large quantities can still affect blood sugar levels. Basmati rice and diabetes management is only possible when you consume it with control. A typical serving size should be around 1/3 to 1/2 cups of cooked basmati rice. So Basmati Rice and diabetes management is possible when you follow these steps.
White Rice Diabetes Connection
Apart from these above diabetic friendly rice varieties, you could also include white rice in your diabetes diet. To further manage blood sugar, consider pairing the above sugar free rice for diabetics with fiber-rich foods. High-fiber foods include vegetables, legumes, or lean proteins. Fiber helps in delaying the absorption rate of carbs. Following are tips you can follow while eating rice:
- Don’t use a pressure cooker rather, use a container and rinse out the extra water when rice gets cooked.
- Cook rice on a slow flame.
- Pair it with other foods
- Exercise portion control
Yes, there are unpolished fiber-rich varieties of healthy rice for diabetes patients. Rice varieties like brown rice, wild rice, etc., can be consumed as part of your diabetes diet plan. However, when eating rice, exercise portion control. And remember to eat it along with other foods rich in fiber and protein.
It is proven in studies that Brown Rice for diabetes patients help lessen postprandial sugar levels. Brown rice has rich fiber and antioxidants, which help in diabetes management.
Plain white rice cooked in a pressure cooker is not all good for diabetes patients. The calories and carb content in this rice are very high. This rice increase blood sugar. Therefore, diabetics should avoid it. White rice is good for diabetes patients when eaten in small amounts and mixed with other foods.
Kolam rice is grown in Southern India and is a popular rice in the Pongal festival. It has a sweet aroma and spongy texture. Kolam rice for diabetes is good as it has a GI score of 51 and can be eaten in moderation.
While there are varying reports generally with controlled sugar levels, one can include about 30 to 40 grams of rice (raw) in their diet. However, rice for diabetes patients with higher sugar levels is a big no. And they should only eat it when their sugar is controlled.
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.