Diabetes Diet: Can I Eat Rice?
Fitterfly - Team Nutrition
- Posted On November 23, 2019
“You should give up rice” - this is inevitably one of the first (unsolicited) piece of advice you hear when you tell someone you have diabetes.
Before you give up what you’ve probably been eating all your life - let’s get some facts right. When it comes to managing diabetes, rice alone is not the problem - carbohydrates are. Carbs are the component of your food that affect your blood sugar levels the most. This, again, does not mean you give up carbs completely - you just have to watch out for the types of carbs and your portion sizes.
Apart from being rich in carbohydrates, the rice that we most commonly eat also has a high Glycemic Index (GI). GI is a score that determines how soon a food raises your blood sugar levels after you’ve eaten it.
All this being said, there are ways to continue eating rice without affecting your blood sugar levels. Here's how:
- Change the type of rice you’ve been eating: Instead of short-grained white rice, go for brown rice, wild rice or whole-grain Basmati rice. These have a lower GI score, are richer in fibre, nutrients and vitamins too.
- Tweak the way you cook it: Instead of cooking rice in a pressure cooker, cook it in a pan with extra water. Draining the excess water once the rice is cooked will help you get rid of some of the starch.
- Control the portion sizes & frequency: Reduce the amount of rice you eat in a meal and how often you eat it. You can slowly go from twice a day to once a day to going to a few times a week. Slow changes are easy to follow and help build habits that last.
- Balance your meals: Once you’ve reduced the amount of rice in your meal, load up on proteins and fibre-rich veggies to make up for it. You can also tweak your khichdi, pulao recipes with less rice and more lentils and dals to make them healthy.
- Try alternate grains: If you are open to trying new things, do try replacing rice with alternative grains such as ragi (millets), jau (barley), plain oats, quinoa or kuttu ka atta (buckwheat).
- Substitute the amount of rice in foods made using rice: While making your Idli and dosa batter, for example, substitute a portion of the rice with plain oats. Go for red or brown poha instead of the normal variety and garnish it with flaxseed power or sprouts instead of sev.
In conclusion - learn to make smarter choices that are practical instead of trying (and failing) to give up a food that is part of your staple diet.
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