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Which Rice is Best for People with Diabetes?

White rice and brown rice

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be familiar with the glycemic index and that foods with a low glycemic index are best for managing your disease. Knowing which foods have a low value can be confusing at times, but now a new study my help consumers make a choice concerning at least one food: rice. Which rice is best for people with diabetes?

People with diabetes can eat rice

The glycemic index is a tool to measure a food's effect on blood sugar. Generally, foods with a glycemic index of 55 or less are considered low (good), while values of 56 to 69 are medium and those 70 or higher are high (bad) glycemic index values.

Foods with a high glycemic index make a person's blood sugar levels rise and fluctuate, which can increase the chance of getting diabetes and also make managing type 2 diabetes a challenge. Some of the items typically placed in the high glycemic index category include white bread (see "Best and Worst Breads for Diabetes"), baked goods, pasta, and rice. However, not all rice has a high glycemic index value, and indeed some varieties fall into the low category.

Investigators from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and CSIRO's Food Futures Flagship evaluated 235 varieties of rice and discovered that the glycemic index values ranged from 48 to 92. That means people with diabetes have healthful options when it comes to choosing rice as part of their diet.

Investigators also discovered that the main gene associated with glycemic index in all the varieties is the Waxy gene. This information will allow rice breeders to develop more varieties of rice with low glycemic index values and expand the options for people with type 2 diabetes.

According to Dr. Melissa Fitzgerald, who headed the IRRI group, "Rice varieties like India's most widely grown rice variety, Swarna, have a low GI and varieties like Doongara and Basmati from Australia have a medium GI."

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A closer look at rice
Generally, brown rice has a lower glycemic index (55) than white rice, as well as slightly more fiber and more nutritional value. Brown, short-grain japonica rice reportedly has a value of 62.

But not all white rice is the same. Long grain white rice tends to have a lower glycemic index (56) than other white varieties, such as short grain (72). Basmati rice has a glycemic index of about 58. The rice with the highest glycemic index value (90s range) is sweet or sticky rice, which is the variety usually served in Asian restaurants.

Factors that have an impact on the glycemic index of rice are its dietary fiber level and amylose content. Amylose is a polysaccharide that makes up starch. In a study just published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, the authors reported on their evaluation of milled and brown rice and their glycemic index values.

They found that the glycemic index and glucose response of different varieties of rice depended on their fiber content and amylose content. Generally, the rice with the lowest amylose content had a high glycemic index (75) while rice with the highest amylose content had a low glycemic index (50). Low fiber was associated with a high glycemic index while rice with higher fiber had a lower glycemic index.

In the most recent study, Dr. Fitzgerald explained that "Understanding that different types of rice have different GI values allows rice consumers to make informed choices about the sort of rice they want to eat." For people with diabetes, knowing there are healthful choices of rice may expand their dietary options.

Read about other foods and diabetes:
Diabetes and pomegranates
Diabetes and mangoes
Fitzgerald M et al. Identification of a major genetic determinant of glycaemic index in rice. Rice 2012; 4(2): 66-74
Trinidad TP et al. The effect of apparent amylose content and dietary fibre on the glycemic response of different varieties of cooked milled and brown rice. International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition 2012 Jul 4

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Updated April 2, 2014



I am a diabetic patient so i want to know which rice basmati or brown which basmati brand I use suggest me please
Twice iam eating rice in a day
Go with herba Ponni rice from India ..
Where is this rice sold . I will try this type of rice myself . I am diabetic also. Thank you
Mix pulses with rice so it will lower the GI.
Parboiled also known as easy cook rice has a GI of 37. It also has resistant stsrch which acts like roughage. The parboil process forces the nutrients in the husk into the grain so it has 80 percent of the nutrients of brown rice. My reading went down from near 8 mol to just over 5.
I cannot recommend any specific brand. The glycemic index may differ depending on where the rice is grown and the growing conditions. I suggest choosing a brown basmati rice, organic if possible.
This Brown Rice i eat is TSURI MAI this is a GMO free rice. Gluten Free, Vegan. It is grown in California. I feel this is the best brown rice to eat if you are a Diabetic.
I recommend that Samo rice means varicha bhat,bhagar rice (rice for fast) is best for diabetes i use same and also broken wheat can be use it taste same like rice.G.I of samo rice is very low.
I am diabetic- type- ii for the last 12 years, which type of basmati rice you recommend for me?
Please suggest me what type of rice I should have.
Why in blazes cannot all the rice varieties be put on a chart, highest to lowest Gi rating so anyone,, EVERYONE can look at it and make up their own bloody minds!?? I an Type 2 Diabetic and MCS, cannot take any meds or insulin for it, and fight constantly for this kind of information, only to be run around like a dog after it's tail, and get no where!! Nelson.
I would like to see something like that myself on all items and have it posted with the nutritional value chart on the packaging. I can remember back when there was no nutritional chart on anything purchased as food and it took lobbying and consumers to finally force the FDA to require those values to be listed. Very hard to find items like cheese with low carb, low fat, and low sodium. Takes a bit of searching and comparing. Would like to see those ratings on all items.
YES!!!! I find this run around every time I try to find solid info. 'Don't eat this, or that, or that, that, or that. But so seldom will anyone offer viable alternatives. I'm to the point where if I went by what my doctor says, I'd be allowed nothing but meat and vegetables. I can't live that way. For instance, I don't care if I never eat cake again, but giving up all fruit isn't an option.
Agreed! So frustrating!
Amen- I have just spent hours looking for list of good grains, good rice's and so forth and just get article after article about why and how but not a single list. This is crazy no wonder people who are pre diabetic or diabetic give up there is nothing of value in the thousands of pages of articles.
I'm a diabetic what kind of rice would you recommed for me? thanks i look forward to your response.
I have been eating brown rice lately but my blood sugar is still high -Dr. has prescribed two diabetic control meds - 3 glyberide per day and 4 500mg metformin per day - still a little high - I have stopped cheating, so I think! I would like to know which rice would be OK for me? I don't over eat rice and no white potatoes, I do eat sweat potatoes.
Take carb out of your diet, my blood sugar was 19.4, I am on carb free diet now & my blood sugar is back to normal range.
Roosevelt: Generally, any type of brown rice is better than any white...brown is slightly lower on the glycemic index and load, including basmati. When having rice, try to include more veggies than rice or switch occasionally to a grain with a lower glycemic score, such as quinoa or buckwheat. For example, the glycemic load for quinoa is 18, for brown rice it's 22, and for white rice it's 29.
hi.i am type 2 diabetics .in lunch time i take long grain white rice.is it ok.
hello. I am diabetic, what kind of rice should I eat? I don't really want an answer but everyone else asked the same question without reading your answers first so I felt left out.
I would love to see where you have actually found an answer to this question.
Brown rice is best for diabetes. You should limit your portion size to about 1/3 cup per meal.the reason is it has more fiber and more nutrients. More fiber means your blood sugar level will stay steadier throughout the day. I hope this helps!
ahahahha...Omg, your comment was funny. I wish someone would answer the question already and put us all out if our misery.
hmmmmm - I believe the response has been brown rice pretty consistently- limit the amount and know it is good also because of the fiber.
Looking into web, I understand that generally parboiled rice has the lowest glycemic index, then brown rice, then white rice. However there are exceptions for specific grades of rice, as pointed in this article. Brown rice has vit B and other nutrients on its cover, which seems to be an advantage. Same rice not well boiled (al dente) gives lower GI. However Glycemic index is a rather oversimplified point of diabetes problem. See theory of Dr D' Adamo on "Blood type diet" or "genotype diet" in the web, which at present are not accepted by all specialists.
It sure would have been nice if a table had been provided in this article listing most known rice types and showing the respective GI values... or at least a link to such a table.
This is a good tool: http://www.glycemicindex.com/
RNR 15048(telangana sona) is a brown rice variety which can be taken by Diabetic patients. Lot of fibre is required for a diabetic patient through food suppliment . Better eat cucumber .