One of the most common advice that a diabetic person receives from fellow diabetics as well as doctors is to avoid rice. But does a person with diabetes have to stay away from rice for good? There is no straightforward answer to this. Whether a diabetic can have rice or not depends on many factors like the severity of disease, how well the diabetes is controlled, the weight of the person and other co-morbid conditions. If the diabetes is under check, the person is physically active and his/her weight is under control then he/she can have rice 2-3 times in a week.
Here are 3 basic things to remember before you decide on including rice in your diabetes diet:
1 . Glycemic Index
-Whether a food product is safe or not for a diabetic is decided based on its glycemic index.
-This unit determines the spike in blood sugar on consuming a particular food.
-The greater the spike, the more dangerous the food is for a diabetic.
-The glycemic index of rice is high, it is 73 units for 150 gms of white rice and 68 for 150 gms of brown rice.
-Although the glycemic index of white and brown rice is both high, brown rice scores marginally better. So, it is better to opt for brown rice.
2 . Type Of Rice
-Brown rice is a good source of fiber as well as magnesium which helps in regulating blood sugar levels whereas white rice is devoid of these nutrients and just comprises of starch.
-Also, the fiber content of brown rice makes you full faster and you tend to eat less amount of rice in general.
-Replacing white rice with brown rice reduces the risk of diabetes by 16%.
-Although eating less rice overall will be more beneficial, replacing rice with other grains is the best alternative as it cuts the risk by 36%.
3 . Quantity Consumed
-The chances of you suffering from type 2 diabetes in the long run increases with an increased intake of white rice.
-It is seen that Asians eat around 4 servings of white rice daily when the serving size is just ½ cup.
-A recent study suggests that your risk of suffering from diabetes increases by 10% with each increased serving of white rice per day.
So, although rice is not a very healthy option if you have diabetes, but if you really like it, you can have rice with fiber rich foods like beans and vegetables as the fiber will slow down the process of digestion and prevent the sharp rise. Also, remember that moderation is the key. It is best to opt for grains like wheat, jowar, bajra, ragi, oats as healthy alternatives to rice. They have low gylycemic index and help in regulating blood sugar well.