Why are Diabetic People Advised Not to Eat Rice?
A well-balanced diet filled with nutrients is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, particularly for individuals with diabetes. Though everyone’s eating habits, lifestyle, preferences, and eating patterns are unique, they all wonder the same thing if a certain food option is good for us. A diabetic individual has to follow a strict diet that must include food items that avoid increasing the blood sugar level. Hence, a lot of diabetic individuals are advised not to consume rice, but why? Read to know how you can balance your rice consumption while maintaining a healthy eating routine.
What is Diabetes?
Here are some of the prominent varieties of Rice:
Diabetes is a common condition in which the body faces challenges in producing or using insulin. As a result, the body fails to store or use blood sugar or glucose naturally. Glucose enters the body through certain foods that have carbohydrates, which is why a lot of people ask whether or not they should consume rice.
However, diabetic people do not have to avoid carbs altogether, but they must consider the types and quantity of carbs that they will consume. There are different kinds of rice, a few of which may be more healthy than other varieties.
Understanding Diabetes & Dietary Influence
Diabetes is associated with high blood sugar levels, which needs careful management to avoid difficulties. Most importantly, diet plays an essential role in managing blood sugar levels, making it vital for diabetic people to be more conscious of their food choices.
Rice is one of the common staples in various cuisines. However, it is not advisable for diabetic people because of its high level of glycemic index (GI) and carbohydrate content. Typically, foods with high glycemic index tend to raise blood sugar levels quicker after consumption. Thus, white rice has a high GI, which can result in a quick spike in blood sugar levels and pose challenges in controlling glycemic levels for diabetic people.
Rice & Its Impact on Blood Sugar
White rice endures meticulous processing that strips it of its outer bran and germ layers, lowering its fiber content. This processing technique increases the rice GI, making it break down into glucose and enter the bloodstream, boosting blood sugar levels.
Besides, rice, particularly when eaten in bigger portions or without sufficient balancing with other low-GI foods, can result in a significant hike in blood sugar. It can challenge the body’s insulin response and pose trouble in controlling blood sugar levels efficiently.
Portion Size & Diet Quality
Portion control is a prime aspect of blood sugar level control, so it’s essential to remember that the amount of rice and other carbohydrate-containing foods being eaten matters. According to professionals, when using a 9-inch plate, half is filled with vegetables and a quarter is filled with lean protein and carbohydrates like white rice. Through this eating pattern, it becomes way easier to consume healthy portions of carbohydrates.
Moreover, it is vital to maintain a well-balanced and quality eating pattern for successful blood sugar management. Doing so will let diabetic people enjoy rice as a part of their daily diet. The latest research shows that white rice is a diet staple that is not directly associated with raised glycemic loads, with the majority of study participants having average glucose levels.
The professional researchers observed that total diet quality plays a very significant role in deciding blood sugar levels. It also showed that a diet that contains white rice, low-carbohydrate, fruit, vegetables, and dairy was not linked to raising the body’s glycemic load.
How Do I Calculate Carb Intake?
Normally, the total carbohydrate intake differs as per one’s height, weight, activity level and medications. You must discuss a certain amount of carbohydrates for your needs with a health professional or registered dietitian.
Moreover, a gram of carbohydrate has about four calories, and its intake differs among people for different reasons. A health professional or dietitian can advise you on what your calorie intake should be based on your activity level, height, weight and health goals. Thus, rice is a good source of carbs in a diet for diabetic people as long as the portion size is suitable.
Below is the table of different rice varieties and their carb content per cup after cooking:
Carbs Per Cup
Long-grain white rice
Medium-grain white rice
Short-grain white rice
Long-grain brown rice
Medium-grain brown rice
Glutinous white rice
Thus, food with unprocessed carbs is good for diabetic people, but consuming large amounts in a single sitting may boost blood sugar levels.
Why Are You Told To Avoid Rice?
Most doctors and dietitians encourage eliminating rice from a diabetic person’s diet. Here are a few reasons to avoid adding to a diabetes diet plan:
- Rice has a lot of starch, which raises the blood sugar level in the body.
- It does not manage blood sugar regulation because of its low fiber content.
- Rice is known to have a high GI (glycemic index). That’s why it is not good for diabetic individuals.
However, it doesn’t mean that a diabetic person cannot eat rice at all. All you need to do is pair rice with other food items like dal, veggies or curry.
Rice & The Glycemic Index
Here is a table of rice and rice products with their respective GI scores:
White Wheat Bread
Boiled White Rice
Boiled Brown Rice
Thus, the majority of rice products have a high GI score, while rice noodles and brown-boiled rice have low and medium GI scores, respectively.
Nutritional Benefits of Rice
Rice has essential nutrients that can benefit an individual’s overall health. Here is the nutritional value of a cup of well-cooked medium-grained brown rice:
20.00 milligrams (mg)
Brown rice is also rice in a variety of vitamins, including B vitamins. Thus, it is the best rice variety for diabetic people to follow a healthy diet.
How to Include Rice with Your Meals?
Normally, rice is eaten with other foods instead of being eaten on its own. Pairing rice with other nutritious food is recommended as it will effectively control your blood sugar levels. You can combine rice with vegetables, lean proteins and other healthy fats that will help reduce the chances of any rapid blood sugar spikes post-meal.
For example, rice and beans have soluble fiber, so mixing beans with rice is beneficial for diabetic people as the fiber in beans helps prevent blood sugar levels from spiking.
Some Alternatives to Rice
As a diabetic person, if you want to try some alternative to rice, then you’ll be surprised to know there are so many options. Some of the following whole grains are an excellent source of dietary fiber and essential nutrients:
All in all, when someone has diabetes, diet is a significant factor to consider for staying healthy and managing sugar levels. It’s all about following a balanced diet with a healthy lifestyle. As a result, you must speak to a health professional and learn about proper options for diet, workout and lifestyle to avoid starting anything that might backfire on your health.