Nutrition

White Rice For Diabetes - Good or Bad?

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which there is an increase in blood glucose levels. Diet factors play a crucial role in maintaining sugar levels in the blood in people with diabetes. Rice is a commonly eaten food in India, but eating white rice is not always considered a good food option for people having diabetes. 

White rice is produced by removing the germ, husk, and bran from rice. Due to this, only starch remains in a grain of rice. The nutritional value of 100 gm of white rice contains many carbohydrates and calories and fewer fibres than healthier options like brown rice. The number of other nutrients is also significantly less. 

Excessive intake of white rice increases the requirement for insulin after meals. This leads to exhaustion of pancreatic cells and can cause a decrease in the amount of insulin. In addition, the amount of fibres and micronutrients in white rice is low. These dietary components help maintain blood glucose levels. For these reasons, white rice must be included in moderate amounts in the diet, and other nutritious food like vegetables and pulses must be taken with white rice.

Benefits of White Rice

  • White rice is gluten-free and the best food option for individuals with gluten allergies or celiac disease.
  • White rice is considered a rich source of carbohydrates and can be used as an instant source to boost energy.
  • Whole grains have been proven to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Hence, including white rice in the diet decreases the risk of strokes and heart disorders.
  • White rice does not contain phytic acid that causes digestive problems. Due to this, the digestion of white rice is easier than brown rice.
  • White rice contains a soluble fibre called butyrate that reduces inflammation in the gut. Hence, white rice helps to maintain the heart in a healthy state.

Benefits of White Rice for Diabetes

  • White rice has a high glycemic index. But, when white rice is combined with vegetables in the diet can prevent a spike in postprandial glucose levels.
  • White rice reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes. It helps maintain the blood cholesterol at optimal levels, keeping the heart healthy.
  • White rice is a rich source of zinc. Zinc is required in carbohydrate metabolism and controls stress due to oxidative stress in diabetes conditions. Zinc helps prevent the progression of the disorder and the complications associated with it.
  • White rice also provides a good amount of manganese in the body. Manganese helps increase glucose tolerance in the body by stimulating pancreatic cells to release more insulin. It also helps in wound healing and boosts collagen formation.
  • For starch-free rice, the white rice can be cooked with excess water drained. This can benefit the stabilisation of blood sugar levels due to low starch.
  • The low-fat content of white rice helps in quick digestion and boosts the metabolic rate. This boost helps to decrease body weight. Hence, the intake of a controlled amount of white rice helps reduce obesity and associated complications in people with diabetes.
  • Selenium in white rice reduces glycation of haemoglobin and LDL and cholesterol levels. Hence, selenium improves the lipidemic and glycemic profile in people with diabetes.

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Glycemic Index of White Rice

The glycemic index of a food is helpful to measure the level of blood sugar increased by a specific food. A glycemic index range of 56 to 69 is considered a medium range. The glycemic index of white rice is 64, which can cause a spike in blood sugar levels by breaking down carbohydrates into blood sugar very fast. 

Limiting the amount of white rice in a diet can help control the rise in blood sugar. Cooking rice in a starch-free way and cooling it to reduce the amount of starch can also help control blood glucose rise. Adding ingredients like vinegar oil can also lower the glycemic index of white rice.

Alternatives to White Rice

White rice can be made beneficial for people with diabetes by adapting the following cooking ways:

Vegetable Rice

White rice can be cooked with fresh-cut vegetables like green beans, corn, and carrot. Add both rice and vegetables. Simmer the rice and water after covering it with a lid. Let it cook till all liquid gets absorbed in the rice and vegetables. Add some butter and parsley, and serve.

Starch-free rice

Wash rice thoroughly and add three times water as the quantity of rice. Add rice to boiling water and let it cook at medium flame. Cook till the rice starts floating on top. Check if the rice is soft and cooked properly. Remove excess water, and have it with vegetables.

FAQs

1. Which is the best rice for people with diabetes?

People can consume white rice with diabetes in a limited amount and after adding vegetables, while brown rice is considered the best form of rice for those having diabetes. Brown rice has a low glycemic index and is a rich source of essential nutrients, making it beneficial for people with diabetes.

2. Can people with diabetes eat white rice?

People with diabetes need to monitor glucose intake. Hence, white rice with a high glycemic index must be taken in a limited amount. In addition, if a limited amount of white rice is taken with protein-rich vegetables, it can help to control blood glucose levels.

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