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Diabetes and Rice – Can I Include Rice in My Diabetic Diet?

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Rice is a high glycemic index food but it can be included in a diet that improves overall carbohydrate and insulin metabolism in individuals with diabetes. Therefore, diabetes and rice remain a much-debated topic.

Not all variations of rice affect a diabetic person in the same manner. Different varieties have a different impact. Let us discuss diabetes and rice in detail.

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Diabetes and Rice- Which variant should you include?

India is a nation of diversity which extends itself into varieties of rice grains as well. We are a land of rice and about 6000 varieties are available to us today (The Hindu, April 02, 2012, Mysore). Brown rice, red rice and white rice are the three commonly eaten variants in India.

With the advancement of grain-processing technology through the refining processes, the outer bran and germ portions of intact rice grains which is the brown rice is removed. This produces white rice.

According to a few studies, consumption of white rice indicates a stronger postprandial blood glucose response as measured by the glycemic index(GI) with respect to consumption of the same amount of brown rice.

A noteworthy review mentioned that the mean GI was 64 for white rice and 55 for brown rice. This is a marginal difference-making brown rice a better choice of carbohydrate in diabetes meal plan in comparison to white rice. It has always been observed in cohort studies that higher dietary GI has been consistently associated with an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes and Rice - Brown Rice as a Part of Diabetic Diet

Diabetes and Rice –Brown Rice as a Part of Diabetic Diet

BeatO nutritionists also prefer recommending brown rice to the individuals on diabetic diet plan as it is high on fibre, vitamins, minerals, lignans, phytoestrogens and phytic acid, most of these may be protective factors for diabetes risk. It is observed that the unpolished rice grains contain insoluble fibre that is absent in polished white rice due to refining and milling processes.

A remarkable observation on Asian population study indicated that high intake of white rice was directly associated with a monotonically elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Our collection of data and understanding of several studies made us conclude that regular consumption of white rice is certainly associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Having said, BeatO diabetes educators will also like to add that replacement of white rice by brown rice or red rice which have a lower glycemic index and more nutrition is associated with a lower risk.

Some Facts About Rice

Some Facts About Rice

  1. Red Rice is better than brown rice as the former has more antioxidants, more fiber and lesser glycemic index.
  2. Brown rice has more fibre and takes longer to digest so is a better choice than white rice.
  3. Basmati rice is a better choice than Jasmine rice or broken small grain rice as it comparatively has a better glycemic index.
  4. While eating white rice, always have the same amount of salad with it to increase fibre intake.
  5. Rinsing and throwing away the water does not reduce the starch content of rice. You are actually throwing away all the healthy water-soluble vitamins and minerals down the drain.

Having diabetes does not mean that you have to give up everything you love, it only means that you have to make healthier choices. You have to consider healthier alternatives if you wish to keep your sugar levels under control. If you have any doubts about whether or not you should include a food item in your diabetic diet, you should always consult your health coach.

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Sakshi Poptani

Sakshi Poptani

As a Content strategist, I have a keen eye for storytelling, brand marketing and community management. I have worked across three sectors - hospitality, technology and healthcare. They have evolved me as a writer and helped me bridge the gaps between storytelling and brand management. I have an unwavering aim of reaching out to as many people as I can. I want to enhance the perspective and insights of both my readers and my own self as I tread further in my journey.

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