Is Rice Good for Diabetics? | Check Glycemic Index of Rice Before Eating

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 in 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 of 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. These are jasmine, basmati, and arborio. In addition, rice is available in colours, black, red, and purple. All these colours come from pigments present in the bran layer. Thus, rice is simply an appreciable food.

Nutritional Facts About Rice

Rice comprises several nutrients known to benefit an individual’s health. One cup of medium-size, cooked brown rice consists of:

  • calories: 218
  • carbs: 46 g
  • protein: 4.5 g
  • fiber: 3.5 g
  • phosphorus: 150 mg
  • potassium: 154 mg
  • magnesium: 86 mg
  • calcium 20 mg
  • zinc: 1 mg
  • iron: 1 mg

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

Is Rice Good for Diabetics?

High sugar levels demand a person to be watchful of one’s diet and exercise routine. A person has to keep a check on eating patterns. This ensures that the levels of blood glucose do not spike to an unhealthy level.

Is Rice Good for Diabetics?

Carb counting and the GI of foods make diabetes management easier. The GI value ranks food items depending upon how they affect glucose levels. If a person is tracking their diet, diabetes might result in severe medical conditions. This involves heart problems, kidney impairment, or foot infections.

Rice contains high amounts of carbs and might have a high GI value. If a person is diabetic, he or she might think to skip it at dinner. A person may still consume rice if he or she is diabetic. he or she must avoid consuming rice in huge portions or too often. There are various types of rice, and few types are healthier compared to others.


Brown rice is a rich source of fibre and complex carbs. However, other forms of rice might be less advantageous for a diabetic.

Risk of Eating Risk When You are Diabetic

There are risks involved in consuming an excess of rice. A study observed that 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 the rice consumption.

If a person is already diagnosed with diabetes, it is usually safe for him or her to enjoy rice in 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 to 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 for 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. Also, how swiftly this has an impact on the blood sugars.

GI values lie between 0 to 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 to one food product to another.

Glycemic Index values are as below:

  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-like 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. And, this aids an individual to maintain 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 value of GI. 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

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 case of white rice. The existence of 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. Benefits of rice are as follows:

High Blood Sugar Control

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. And, white rice has a GI of 55. Numerous studies observed that a high consumption of white rice relates to a higher risk of diabetes.

Also Read: Can We Reverse Diabetes?

Gut Health

Brown rice contains insoluble fibre which supports consistent bowel movements. Also, it helps in preventing haemorrhoids and improving bowel control. As, it is gluten-free, this form of rice is a good option for individuals having celiac disease. People having celiac disease fails to digest grains. Also, they might face trouble in obtaining all the nutrition they require.

Cardiac Health 

Whole grains such as brown rice consist of a greater amount of fiber than processed foods. Fiber helps in reducing cholesterol and decreasing 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 carry oxygen and execute 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 to decrease cancer risk. This is possible by keeping free radicals from harming the body cells. Phenolics are present in the bran layer of rice and in the germ layer. The germ layer 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 while 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 contains a high glycemic index value. This implies a value of 70 or greater, hence a person must avoid it if likely.

Short-grain white rice comprises little nutritious value in comparison 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 in 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 stabilize 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?

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:

  • quinoa
  • rolled and steel-cut oats
  • bulgur
  • buckwheat
  • millet
  • barley

Also Read:What does a diabetologist do?

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 few forms also contain more fiber.

Cilantro Lime Quinoa

There are some steps for making a quinoa dish. And, these are:

  • Lightly fry a small onion and 2 cloves of garlic using some oil.
  • Lower down 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 in 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 veggie 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 some seasonings like herbs, salt, lime juice, and pepper in 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. Also, he or she must maintain healthy meal planning and exercise frequently.

Also Read: Normal sugar level range


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 


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.

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