Diabetes Management,Healthy-diet
Published on: Nov 23, 2019
4 min Read

Diabetes Diet: Can I Eat Rice?

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Is Rice Good for Diabetes?

“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 in diabetes without affecting your blood sugar levels.

How to eat rice without spiking your blood sugar?

1. Change the type of rice you’ve been eating

Which rice is good for diabetes? Instead of short-grained white rice, go for brown rice, wild rice or whole-grain Basmati rice. It is good for diabetes. These have a lower GI score, are richer in fibre, nutrients and vitamins too. With a glycemic index between 50 and 58, basmati rice is a low to medium glycemic index food.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Try rice substitute for diabetes

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).

6. 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.


Which rice is good for diabetes patients?

You may have heard that people with diabetes have to give up rice. However, in our 10+ years of researching and working with people who have diabetes, we have found that it is not necessarily true.

Some forms of rice have a lower glycemic index than others. Brown rice, wild rice, or whole-grain Basmati are all alternatives to white rice for diabetes.

How to cook rice for diabetes?

Of all the staples, rice does have a high glycemic index, but cooking it in a certain way can help reduce extra starch. One strategy to reduce the GI is to cook it in a pan with extra water and drain the excess once cooked. This will get rid of some of the starch.

What is a good rice substitute for diabetes?

People with diabetes can have other staples instead of rice as rice has a high glycemic index. Examples of such staples include ragi (millets), jau (barley), plain oats, quinoa, or kuttu ka atta (buckwheat).

What is the glycemic index of rice?

The glycemic index of white rice is 79.6. Though it is on the higher side, having rice in smaller amounts or at different times of the day may not have any effect on blood sugar levels.

This can be understood only by real-time CGM monitoring and meal mapping. The amounts of rice for diabetes can then be adjusted and customized to the individual.

What is the glycemic index of brown rice?

The glycemic index of brown rice is 57.6, which makes it a good alternative to white rice for people with diabetes. Always remember to have a balanced meal of protein and lots of veggies with your brown rice to keep your metabolic health in check.

For a more customized approach, you can use real-time CGM monitoring and meal mapping to see how your blood glucose levels are affected by different foods.

What is the nutritional value of rice?

One serving of white rice (⅓ cup of cooked rice) has 1.42 g of protein, 14.84 g of carbohydrates, 68 calories, 5 mg of calcium, 0.2 g of fiber, and 0.04 g of saturated fats.

On the other hand, one serving of brown rice (⅓ cup of cooked rice) has 1.83 g of protein, 82 calories, 17.05 g of carbohydrates, 2 mg of calcium, 1.1 g of fiber, and 0.17 g of saturated fats.

Please note that even though white rice has lower calories than brown rice, it can spike blood sugar levels in some people and vice versa. For a truly personalized diet plan, you can use real-time CGM monitoring and meal mapping to see how your blood glucose levels are affected by different foods.

- By Fitterfly Health-Team