Is Rice Good for Diabetics? Rice for Sugar Patients

Medically Reviewed By DR. RASHMI GR , MBBS, Diploma in Diabetes Management March 28, 2024

Last updated on October 13th, 2023

A balanced and nourishing diet is the key to staying healthy, particularly for diabetics. Many individuals might wonder whether carb-rich foods like rice are good for them. Read this article to know “Is Rice Good for Diabetics?”

In diabetes, a person’s body experiences difficulty forming or using insulin. Consequently, the body fails to store or utilize blood glucose efficiently. As carb-containing foods provide sugar to the body, individuals might question “is rice safe for them or not”.

A diabetic patient does not need to avoid carbs overall. However, they would require thinking about the amount and types of carbs for consumption. There are various types of rice, but few among them might be healthier in comparison to others.

What is Rice?

Rice is a vital food in many countries. Almost half the world’s population receives around 50% of their calories from rice. Lacking rice or anything replacing it, many individuals would be hungry.

In botanical terms, rice is a seed of marine grass. Its Latin name is Oryza sativa. A number of varieties are available, including jasmine, basmati, and arborio. In addition, rice is available in black, red, and purple. All these colours come from pigments present in the bran layer. Thus, rice is simply an appreciable food.

Read More: 7 Day Indian Diet Plan for Diabetic Patients

Nutritional Facts About Rice

Nutritional Facts About Rice

Rice comprises several nutrients known to benefit an individual’s health. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one cup of medium-sized, cooked brown rice consists of:

  • Calories: 248 Kcal
  • Carbs: 51.7 g
  • Protein: 5.54 g
  • Fiber: 3.23 g
  • Phosphorus: 208 mg
  • Potassium: 174 mg
  • Magnesium: 78.8 mg
  • Calcium 6.06 mg
  • Zinc: 1.43 mg
  • Iron: 1.13 mg

Moreover, rice comprises a range of vitamins, such as B vitamins. Brown rice plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy diet.

Read More: Is Cauliflower Good for Diabetic Patients?

Is Rice Good for Diabetics?

Well, the answer to the question, is rice good for diabetics isn’t straight. White rice isn’t good for diabetes patients since it is high in glycemic index and calories. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, regularly consuming white rice can lead to higher blood glucose levels. White rice has no or very minimum fiber content, thus increasing the chances of blood sugar spikes upon consumption. However, rice is an inherent part of Indian diets, and rice is not eaten alone rather, it is eaten with daal and sabji. Diabetes patients can eat white rice in measured amounts daily, but it has to be mixed with fiber-rich foods like salads, dal and sabji. When rice is consumed as part of such a meal, the overall glycemic impact of rice is greatly reduced. So, having diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean discarding rice from your diet or using brown rice. Switching to brown rice is definitely very beneficial but not mandatory. The focus should be to increase dietary fiber sources in your meals comprising rice.

Including the method of carb counting is beneficial and detrimental in figuring out the safe rice quantity. Along with this, considering the glycemic profiles of food makes diabetes management easier.

Risk of Eating Risk When You are Diabetic

There are risks involved in consuming an excess of rice. A study done by Diabetes Journal observed that rice is an arsenic source and individuals who consume high amounts of white rice might have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. This implies that if a person is prediabetic, he or she must be aware of rice consumption.

If a person is already diagnosed with diabetes, it is usually safe for him or her to enjoy rice within limits. Ensure that a person is aware of the carb count and glycemic index of the rice type he or she wants to have. He or she must aim to consume between 45 and 60 grams of carbs per meal. A few ranges of rice contain a lower GI value compared to others.

The Create Your Plate approach by USFDA is an excellent way to ensure meal portions. A dinner plate must include:

  • 50% of non-starchy veggies
  • 25% protein
  • 25% grains and starchy food products

Also, a person may add a serving of fruit or dairy sideways. However, people must factor them into their diet if they are counting carbs.

Also Read: Sabja seeds benefits

Counting Carbs in Rice

Beans or fish, in combination with veggies and rice, might be a good alternative for diabetics. Rice is a high-carb-containing food. However, other rice types, like brown rice, are whole-grain food items. And, a person must receive at least 1/2 of their daily carbohydrates from whole grains.

Whole grains comprise complex carbohydrates, which take a long time to break down in the body. This decreases the risk of blood glucose spikes. Another point while choosing a type of rice is the number of carbohydrates a food contains.

It is vital to know how to count carbohydrates. This is vital for 2 major reasons:

  1. A few diabetic patients make use of supplemental insulin. An individual requires knowing about his or her carb intake. This helps in determining the appropriate insulin dose.
  2. A diabetic or a prediabetic requires avoiding “glucose spikes”. These are periods in which blood sugars reach too high. These spikes might enhance the probability of deteriorating signs. It is better to spread the carb consumption all over the day. For instance, consuming small, recurrent meals might aid in preventing blood glucose spikes.


Counting the carbs helps diabetic patients keep a check on the number of carbs they consume throughout the day. It includes:

  • knowing the food products that comprise carbs
  • computing the number of carbs in a meal and a portion
  • understanding the way of computing the estimated carbs in a food
  • locating the number of carbohydrates in a day

Glycemic Index of Rice

GI score is another approach to deciding if a food item is appropriate for a controlled diet. It is a scale that evaluates how rapidly a person’s body converts carbohydrates from food into sugar and how swiftly this impacts blood sugar.

GI values lie between 0 and 100. And, water has the lowest and glucose has the highest GI value. These numbers do not denote any particular amount. However, they investigate the comparison of one food product to another.

Glycemic Index values are as follows:

  1. Low GI food products: 55 or below
  2. Medium GI food products: 56 to 69
  3. High GI food products: 70 or above

Foods ranking high on the GI scale, white bread and sugary drinks, convert rapidly into sugar. And they increase the risk of a blood glucose increase.

Foods ranking lower on the GI scale convert gradually into blood sugar. This aids an individual in maintaining stable blood sugars.

For rice and rice items, the GI values might differ slightly as per their brand and level of processing.

  • rice porridge: 78
  • rice crackers: 87
  • boiled brown rice: 68
  • rice milk: 86
  • white wheat bread:75
  • boiled white rice: 73
  • rice noodles: 53
  • cornflakes: 81

Many rice products contain a high GI value. However, boiled brown rice and rice noodles fall under the low- and medium-GI classes.

Also Read: Diet Plan for Diabetes Patient India

Health Benefits of Rice

Health Benefits of Rice

White and brown rice fall under similar grains. Their milling process is just different. Brown rice kernels have an unbroken bran layer. The bran layer is polished away in the case of white rice. The existence of the bran layer increases the nutritive value of brown rice. And, makes them more nourishing than white rice. Even if some of the white rice is fortified. Also, the bran layer makes brown rice take a long time to get cooked. People must opt for brown rice to obtain maximum nutrition. The benefits of rice are as follows:

High Blood Sugar Control

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, brown rice aids in better diabetes control. Brown rice has a GI score of 64. And white rice is more expected to increase glucose levels than brown rice, white rice has a GI of 55. Numerous studies observed that a high consumption of white rice relates to a higher risk of diabetes.

Gut Health

According to research published by the National Institute of Health, brown rice contains insoluble fibre, which supports consistent bowel movements. It also helps prevent haemorrhoids and improve bowel control. As it is gluten-free, this form of rice is a good option for individuals with celiac disease. People with celiac disease fail to digest grains, and they might face trouble obtaining all the nutrition they require.

Cardiac Health

Whole grains, such as brown rice, contain a greater amount of fiber than processed foods. According to the Harvard Health website, fiber helps reduce cholesterol and decrease heart problems. As fiber keeps a person full, he or she might find it simpler to maintain a healthy weight. In addition, brown rice comprises vitamins and minerals that assist the blood in carrying oxygen and executing other important functions.

Decrease in the Cancer Risk

Brown rice comprises 3 different types of phenolic compounds. These are antioxidants present in natural forms in plants. Antioxidants help decrease cancer risk by keeping free radicals from harming body cells. Phenolics are present in the bran layer of rice and in the germ layer, which is the reproductive portion of grain. Many phenolic compounds are lost when white rice is prepared by removing the bran.

Also Read: Best glucometer in India

Types of Rice Good for Consumption For Diabetics

  • brown rice
  • basmati rice
  • wild rice

The rice type plays a key role in choosing what to consume. It’s good to have rice that is filled with a nutritional punch. White rice, brown rice, as well as long-grain white rice involve more nutrients compared to short-grain white rice. These nutrients can be vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Also, a person must check the glycemic index as per choice.

Short-grain white rice has a high glycemic index, which implies a value of 70 or greater, so a person must avoid it if possible.

Short-grain white rice has little nutritional value compared to other types of rice. Brown rice, basmati rice, and wild rice contain moderate glycemic values between 56 and 69. All these types of rice are usually safe for consumption within limits. Cooking times might change the GI value. Thus, a person must be cautious not to overcook the rice.

Which Rice is Good for Diabetes?

For individuals with diabetes, choosing whole grains like brown rice or quinoa is generally better than refined white rice. Brown rice has a lower glycemic index and is higher in fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. However, portion control is essential, as even healthy rice options can impact blood sugar if consumed excessively.


A person may stabilise his or her selection using low-GI foods. These can include protein and non-starchy veggies. Also, a person must ensure to consume a little portion of rice. Around half a cup of rice contains 15 grams of carbs.

What Substitute Grains Can Diabetics Go For?

What Substitute Grains Can Diabetics Go For?

Instead of depending upon rice as a staple at suppertime, try experimenting with other forms of grains. They may aid in diabetes management and adhering to a healthy diet. Many contain an additional nutritive value as well. All these foods might please a person longer than processed starches.

There are some grains with a low Glycemic Index value. These are:

Also Read: Can We Reverse Diabetes?

Alternatives of Rice For Diabetics

Few food items may serve as alternatives for rice. Examples can be quinoa and cauliflower. Quinoa is just like rice regarding its carb content. However, it contains more protein compared to rice, and a  few forms also contain more fiber.

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

There are some steps for making a quinoa dish. These are:

  • Lightly fry a small onion and 2 cloves of garlic using some oil.
  • Lower the heat. Then, add a cup of quinoa. Stir the mixture and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add two cups of low-salt chicken broth as well as lemon juice.
  • Let it boil nicely.
  • Then, again lower down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add more lemon juice and ½ a cup of fresh, chopped cilantro.

Cauliflower Rice

To prepare this rice alternative:

  • Beat the florets of cauliflower into a food processor.
  • Warm the veggies in a pan using some oil and onion.
  • Sauté both for roughly five minutes. Saute until the onions turn golden brown and the veggie becomes soft.
  • Add seasonings like herbs, salt, lime juice, and pepper at the end.


Any type of diabetic person might have rice in moderate amounts. The key is to maintain a balanced diet. A prediabetic person must also keep a check on his or her consumption of rice. They must also maintain healthy meal planning and exercise frequently.


Is it good to have basmati rice daily?

While basmati rice might contain less arsenic compared to other rice types. Thus, consuming it regularly might enhance the risk of future diseases like cardiovascular problems or cancer.

Which rice contains less sugar?

Wholegrain Basmati rice contains the lowest GI score among all rice types. And, this implies that once rice gets digested, it liberates its energy gradually. And, this helps to maintain the levels of blood glucose. This constitutes an important part of diabetes care.

Why white rice is not effective for health?

The rice plant builds up more arsenic compared to other food crops. This is an issue where water or soil sources are polluted with arsenic. High arsenic consumption associates with a high risk of cardiac problems, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

What is the suggested amount of rice for a diabetic?

Diabetic people might add rice as part of a healthy diet. However, they must have rice in moderate amounts. People must be aware that one cup of rice comprises 45 grams of carbs. They must spread their rice consumption evenly all over the day. Opt for a variety of rice containing lesser carbs and with a low GI value.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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