6 Low GI Rice Varieties for Diabetes

Millions of people all over the world rely on rice as a staple diet. It accounts for 70% of the total human calorie count. Astonishingly!

But millions of people all over the world are also suffering from diabetes at the same time. And as we know, diabetes and rice are the loggerheads. Both cannot go together.

Henceforth, turning on to low GI rice varieties is the need of the hour. We also need to make people aware and persuade them to shake hands with rice varieties that are low in glycemic index.

Generally, we consume white rice. This rice variety has a very high glycemic index value which means after digestion, it will release sugars at a rapid rate into the bloodstream causing a tremendous rise in blood sugar levels.

But the scenario is opposite to low GI foods or low GI rice. They will release the sugars slowly after digestion keeping levels to the moderate zone.

The good part is thankful, we have some low GI rice varieties available. Diabetics don’t have to sacrifice their rice cravings.

 If we deep diver into this discussion, then prominently, white rice is the king among all the known rice varieties so far. It is the most widely consumed variety all over the globe. 

Is It OK for Diabetics to Eat Rice?

Is It OK for Diabetics to Eat Rice

“Can diabetics eat rice?”, this is the most sought-after question we cane across the web while conducting our research.

Rice is the chief food of our afternoon meals. Not just India, many other countries have rice as an integral part of their plates.

Rice comes in manifold varieties. It depends on which variety you are consuming. At the same time, the status of your blood sugar levels is also a key determinant.

White rice has acquitted certain traits that make it undesirable for consumption for someone with diabetes.

Every 100 grams of rice load 345 grams of calories into your body. That’s a huge number. Huge enough to worsen your sugar levels.

White rice is a red signal for your diabetic health because:

  • It has a high glycemic index value (75)
  • It is loaded with high carbohydrates and calories
  • The healthy bran layer is separated away for making white rice
  • Can raise blood sugar levels to a disastrous extent

Such are the facets that make rice not so okay for diabetes.

Veggie causing Diabetes

How Bad Is Rice for Diabetics?

How Bad Is Rice for Diabetics

Sometimes, your physician or dietician might allow you to eat even white rice during diabetes. This is when you have good control over your blood sugar levels.

Every diabetes patient will have his/her permitted calorie limit. If your permissible limits are high, so can be the size of your rice bowl.

To some extent, this will depend upon your portion size and other medical factors. Like, if you are overweight, rice is still harmful to you even if you manage your blood sugar levels well.

Generally, the best practice is to a couple of white rice with fiber-rich meals. Fibers will ultimately slow down the release of sugars.

But, the question to ponder upon remains the same, If white rice being high in glycemic index value is a big no for diabetes. Then, any other healthier alternative?

Yes, we do have healthier alternatives. In the following block of the article,  we will talk about some diabetes-friendly low GI rice varieties.

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Multiple Varieties of Rice

Multiple Varieties of Rice

Wondered how many rice varieties exist on the planet? To your great surprise, there are currently 40,000 rice varieties grown in different agricultural zones of the world.

India is among the largest producer and suppliers of rice grains in the world. People here are so attached to eating rice that they probably can’t think of finding an alternative to it.

  1. White rice
  2. Broke rice
  3. Wild rice
  4. Sticky/glutinous rice
  5. Black rice
  6. Basmati rice
  7. Matta/rose matta rice
  8. Jasmine rice
  9. Brown rice
  10. Parboiled rice
  11. Red rice
  12. Swarna
  13. Masuri

Low GI Rice Varieties For Diabetes

While white rice is considerably heavily bad for diabetes, there are also some rice varieties that are known to be diabetes-friendly.

There are some varieties that being low in carbohydrate and high in fiber retard the speed with which sugars from the food release into the bloodstream.

When this happens, blood sugar spikes disappear away.

For fighting diabetes, we need to replace white rice strictly. There are a plethora of rice varieties having a low glycemic index. Such are:

  1. Brown rice
  2. Whole grain Basmati rice
  3. Steamed brown rice
  4. Red rice
  5. Black rice
  6. Wild rice

Let’s have a closer view of these varieties of rice. What attributes make them favorable for diabetes, outranking the white rice.

Brown Rice 

Brown Rice 

Everyone knows about Brown rice today. In the past few years, brown rice has gained pretty good popularity among the masses.

It is healthy and helps you manage weight. But that is not all that Brown rice is good for. Researches have shown that diabetic people can consume brown rice.

Why? Because Brown rice is full of goodness. In comparison to white rice, which is too rich in starch, brown rice has less starch and more fiber.

The difference being, during processing white rice, loses its out layer which is rich in fiber and nutrients. And all that is left is the starch center.

But that is not the case with brown rice, brown rice has its outer nutrient-rich shell which balances the starch present inside.

It should be understood that brown rice has a lot of nutrients, but it is high in carbohydrates as well. Brown rice can help you maintain a healthy diet and keep your sugar levels in check.

In comparison to white rice, the glycemic index of brown rice is far low. In addition to the low glycemic index, brown rice is also rich in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins which help you improve the lifestyle of a diabetic person.

Whole Grain Basmati Rice

Whole Grain Basmati Rice

Whole grain basmati rice can do wonders for people suffering from Type-2 diabetes. When you compare Wholegrain Basmati Rice to other rice varieties you see that it has the lowest glycemic index.

That automatically makes it a smart choice for a diabetic lifestyle.

When you read about Wholegrain Basmati you realize it does have a decent amount of carbohydrates inside. But Basmati rice does not release all the energy in on go.

It takes time and slowly as the digestion progresses, energy is released in small bursts. It automatically prevents a sudden rise in blood sugar after meals. It makes Basmati an ideal choice.

The glycemic index is also affected by the type of rice. If you notice, you will see that the stickier the rice, the higher is the glycemic index.

Basmati on the other hand has a protein called amylose which maintains the core of basmati and prevents it from breaking up. All grains are fluffy and separate which ensures that the glycemic index is as low as possible.

Steamed brown rice

Steamed brown rice

Steamed brown rice has amazing glucose moderating effects. If you choose to shift to steamed brown rice you will never have to worry about your diabetes.

It has a low glycemic index which does not allow blood sugar to rise even if you consume rice regularly.

When steamed properly brown rice has a tough exterior and a soft center. It is none sticky and is full of nutrients.

It has a high carbohydrate content but the outer nutritious shell compensates and makes sure that you manage your blood sugar levels.

Red Rice


Now that you know about brown rice, red rice is a close brother of his. Red rice is so-called because of its amazing color.

But what most people don’t know is that it is full of nutrients and natural goodness.

Red is the original color of rice but it is hulled before it reaches the chops and you can consume it.

This hulling rips off the rice of its goodness and all that is left are starch. But with more scientific research it has been discovered that red rice has a low glycemic index than white rice.

Which makes it a good option for diabetic people. You should also know that red rice has a typical taste. This taste, although modifiable, might appear unappealing to many. But it is a small price to pay for a healthy living.

Red rice is also rich in antioxidants and magnesium which strengthen the body from inside. So with a small change in your diet, you can protect yourself from massive diabetes.

Black Rice

Black Rice

Black rice is something that most people don’t know about. But black rice is the best kind of rice for a diabetes patient.

Its glycemic index is closer to that of red rice and it has similar nutrients. The only difference being red rice has a better nutrient reserve.

Black rice is not that common. Black rice is consumed only by Chinese royalty. It is not the food of common people.

Once cooked black rice turns purple and lets out a nutty aroma. You can experience the nutty taste in every bite.

But that is not all, it is known to be fiber-rich. This fiber-rich diet can help many diabetics and normal people.

With the controlled blood sugar level thanks to Black rice you can improve your lifestyle. Now you won’t feel lethargic, you will be active all day and can have a longer, healthier life.

Black rice also has essential vitamins and nutrients like zinc and riboflavin.

Wild Rice

Wild Rice

Wild rice is extremely rare because it is not typically cultivated. Wild rice has a strong association with Native Americans.

Most Native American tribes thrive on wild rice. But they do not cultivate it. They collect it from shallow ponds and rivers.

Wild rice naturally grows in the natural and shallow collection of water like beside a slow river or a lake. It is considered holy amongst some Native American tribes.

Many say that wild rice is more or less similar to Asian rice in terms of texture and appearance. When it comes to taste, the taste of wild rice is described as that of black coffee.

Wild rice can be a good addition to the diet of a diabetic person. It has a low glycemic index and is full of nutrients. In addition to this, wild rice is a good source of essential amino acids and vitamins.

Low Glycemic White Rice

Low Glycemic White Rice

White rice is a strict no-no for diabetes patients. But what would you feel if you could have white rice?

People are so accustomed to white rice that shifting to a different kind of rice can be a bit of a bummer.

This is the reason why many people don’t wish to leave white rice. Their taste buds get used-to with the taste of regular white rice.

But luckily, scientists have managed to come up with a white rice variant which has a much lower glycemic index.

It is very much the same as the usual white rice. The only problem being it can be a little uneconomical.

Since low glycemic index white rice is fairly new in the market, its prices are skyrocketing. Which is why most people settle for normal rice.

Concluding words

Here on, we break the rule of eliminating rice from the healthy diabetes diet. Keep the rice in, just switch on to healthier low GI rice varieties as mentioned above.

Not only they help to stabilize blood sugar levels, but they also serve your body with numerous other benefits. These alternatives are a win-win situation for everyone.

Even individuals who are not diagnosed with diabetes or are on the verge of developing diabetes, that is, the pre-diabetes stage should also adopt low GI rice varieties in their diet.

You will never be entering the actual diabetes stage if you do this.

Hyperglycemia has only one solution – going low carb and adapting to low GI alternatives. Therefore, make suitable replacements at the earliest hour to avoid any unwanted complications.

References –


Dr Sharon Baisil MD


2 thoughts on “6 Low GI Rice Varieties for Diabetes”

  1. Where can one buy Swarna rice in the United States? I have tried, but to no avail…


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