Which is Better for Diabetics Rice or Roti?

Medically Reviewed By DR. RASHMI GR , MBBS, Diploma in Diabetes Management July 10, 2024

Deciding between rice and roti can be tricky, especially for diabetics. Both staples are delicious and versatile, but how do they impact blood sugar levels? In this blog, we’ll dive into the nutritional differences, health benefits, and potential drawbacks of rice and roti. Whether you’re managing diabetes or simply curious about healthier choices, we’ll help you understand which option might be better for your diet. So, let’s answer the question: Which is better for diabetics rice or roti?

How does the glycemic index impact blood sugar levels?

All carbs don’t metabolize at the same rate. Carbs with low fiber content get digested quickly and may cause a blood sugar spike. On the other hand, carbs with enhanced dietary fiber also referred to as complex carbs, are digested at a slower pace. These carbs, if consumed in measurable amounts, generally will not cause spikes. Coming to the glycemic index, the scale measures how fast the carbs in a food convert to glucose.

On this scale, the foods that score 55 or less are suited for diabetics. These foods have complex carbs, which get digested slowly. Foods with a glycemic score between 56 and 69 are considered moderate glycemic and should be consumed in strict amounts. And finally, foods that score 70 or above are high glycemic foods. Consuming such foods might bring sugar spikes and, therefore, should be avoided by diabetic patients. Hence, the glycemic index is a big factor to consider when choosing rice or roti.

Read More: List of Low Glycemic Index Food 

Nutritional Comparison

Understanding the nutritional profiles of rice and roti is crucial for diabetics, as these elements significantly impact blood sugar levels. This section delves into the specific nutritional content, glycemic index, and other relevant factors for both rice and roti.

Nutritional Profile of Rice

Types of Rice:

White Rice: Most commonly consumed, has the husk, bran, and germ removed, resulting in lower fiber content.

Brown Rice: Whole grain with the bran and germ intact, providing higher fiber and nutrient content.

Basmati Rice: Known for its low to medium glycemic profile when compared with other rice variants.

Wild Rice: Not technically rice, but a grass seed, high in protein and fiber.

Glycemic Index (GI):

White Rice: High GI value of 79.6, according to NIH data, which can cause rapid blood sugar spikes.

Brown Rice: Medium GI value of 57.6, according to NIH data, leading to a slower increase in blood sugar.

Basmati Rice: Lower GI compared to standard white rice, generally between 50-58, according to the WebMD website.

Fiber Content:

White Rice: Low in fiber, about 0.4 grams per 100 grams, as per the latest USDA data.

Brown Rice: Higher fiber content, approximately 1.6 grams per 100 grams, as per the USDA data.

Other Nutrients: Brown rice provides more vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.

Nutritional Profile of Roti

Types of Flour Used:

Whole Wheat Flour: Commonly used for making traditional roti, high in fiber and nutrients.

Multigrain Flour: Mix of various grains like barley, millet, oats, and soy, offering a more comprehensive range of nutrients.

Gluten-Free Flour: For those with gluten intolerance, made from ingredients like chickpea flour or almond flour.

Glycemic Index (GI):

Whole Wheat Roti: Lower GI, generally around 45-55, resulting in a slower release of glucose.

Multigrain Roti: Varies depending on the grains used but typically has a low to medium GI.

Fiber Content:

Whole Wheat Roti: High in fiber, about 2 grams per roti (20 grams of whole wheat flour), according to Nutrinix roti website.

Multigrain Roti: Varies but generally higher in fiber compared to single-grain roti.

Other Nutrients: Rich in B vitamins, iron, and magnesium, especially in whole wheat and multigrain varieties.

Read More: Are Dates Good for People With Diabetes?

Comparative nutritional analysis between rice and roti

Carbohydrate Content:

Rice: Generally higher in carbohydrates; according to the USDA, white rice has about 28.2 grams of carbs per 100 grams

Roti: Lower in carbohydrates per serving, with one roti (20 grams of flour) containing about 14 grams of carbs, according to the Nutrinix website.

Caloric Content:

Rice: White rice has approximately 130 calories per 100 grams, according to the USDA, while brown rice has higher calories due to its fiber and nutrient content.

Roti: Around 70-80 calories per roti, depending on the type of flour used.

Protein Content:

Rice: Lower in protein, USDA reports about 2.69 grams per 100 grams.

Roti: Higher in protein, especially when made from whole wheat or multigrain flour, approximately 3 grams per roti.

The Verdict

So, brown rice or chapati, which is better for diabetes? Based on the nutritional comparison, roti tends to be the better choice for diabetics. Whole wheat or multigrain roti has a lower glycemic index and higher fiber content, helping to regulate blood sugar levels more effectively than most types of rice. Additionally, roti provides essential nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and magnesium.

However, here is the trick: you can consume rice as well. We bet you’ll love it, rice lovers! The major drawback of rice is its low fiber content. To eliminate this drawback, you need to consume adequate fiber sources when consuming rice. Firstly, limit your rice consumption and measure it better.

Secondly, fiber sources like green leafy vegetables, dal, and sabji should be added. This will reduce the overall glycemic impact of rice and lessen the chances of a sugar spike.

Read More: Is Carrot Good For Diabetes?

Health Benefits and Drawbacks

Now, we explore the health benefits and potential drawbacks of consuming rice and roti for diabetics, considering the nutritional profiles and glycemic indices discussed previously.

Benefits of Eating Rice for Diabetics

Benefits of Eating Rice for Diabetics

Here are the benefits of rice for diabetics:

Easy Digestion:

Rice, especially white rice, is super easy to digest. This is due to its low fiber content, making it a go-to choice for individuals with digestive issues and other patients.

Availability and Variety:

Rice is widely available and comes in various forms (white, brown, basmati, wild), offering versatility in meal planning. Different types of rice can provide varied nutrient profiles.

Quick Energy Source:

Due to its high carb content, rice may provide you with a quick supply of energy. This will be beneficial in controlled portions for diabetics experiencing low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).

Drawbacks of Eating Rice for Diabetics

Here are the drawbacks of rice:

Higher Glycemic Index:

Most types of rice, especially white rice, have a high GI, which can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. This makes it less ideal for maintaining stable blood glucose.

Potential for Overconsumption:

Rice is often consumed in larger portions, which can contribute to excessive carbohydrate intake and make blood sugar management challenging for diabetics.

Lower Fiber Content:

White rice lacks fiber, which is essential for slowing down the pace of digestion and absorption of carbs. This leads to more gradual increases in blood sugar levels.

Read More: The Health Benefits of Brown Rice

Benefits of Eating Roti for Diabetics

Let’s know the benefits of roti:

Lower Glycemic Index:

Whole wheat and multigrain roti typically have a lower GI compared to white rice. This results in delayed digestion and no blood sugar fluctuations.

Higher Fiber Content:

Roti, made from whole wheat or multigrain flour, has a decent dietary fiber presence. Fiber aids in digestion keeps you fuller for longer, and helps regulate sugar levels.


Roti contains essential nutrients like B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. These nutrients contribute to bettering your overall health and can be beneficial in managing diabetes.

Portion Control:

Roti is usually consumed in smaller, more controlled portions compared to rice, making it easier to manage carbohydrate intake.

Drawbacks of Eating Roti for Diabetics

Here are the possible drawbacks:

Possible Gluten Intolerance:

Some individuals may be intolerant or allergic to gluten, which is found in whole wheat roti and can cause digestive and other issues.

Portion Control Challenges:

While roti is generally consumed in controlled portions, you can easily overeat, especially when accompanied by high-calorie side dishes or toppings.

By weighing these benefits and drawbacks, diabetics can better tailor their diet to their individual needs and preferences. When consumed mindfully and in appropriate portions, both rice and roti can be included in your diabetic diet plans.

Read More: Is Wheat Roti (Chapati) Good for Diabetes?

Suggestion for Diabetes Patients

Choosing between rice and roti doesn’t have to be complicated. For diabetics, it’s all about balance and making informed decisions. When consuming rice, include high-fiber foods, but watch those portions due to its higher glycemic index. Roti, with its lower GI and higher fiber content, might still be a better everyday choice. However, portion control and consuming a variety of nutrients with roti and rice is the goal.

FAQ’s(Frequently Asked Questions)

Which is better for diabetes, rice or wheat?

Compared overall, roti wins this contest. This is because roti has lower calories and higher nutrients and can be controlled more easily. However, if you are a rice lover, you can consume rice in measured amounts, mixing it with fiber and protein sources like salads, dal, and sabji.

Can diabetics eat rice everyday?

Yes, diabetes patients can consume rice every day. However, they should exercise strict portion control and consume it with adequate fiber and protein-rich foods. The best way to consume rice for everyday rice diabetes patients is to consume a katori of rice with a katori for each salad, sabji, and dal.

Which rice is best for diabetes?

Basmati and brown rice are considered the best quality rice for diabetes patients because they have a lower glycemic index than white rice.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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