When it comes to the best rice for , is considered to be a healthier choice than white rice. It is higher in several nutrients, including fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar () into your bloodstream.
However, brown rice is high in carbohydrates, so it's important to be mindful of portion sizes and understand how it affects your blood sugar.
This article discusses everything you need to know about brown rice for diabetes, including its nutrition profile, health benefits, and healthy alternatives.
Even if you have diabetes, you can still eat rice in moderation. However, the type of rice you eat matters when keeping blood sugar and energy levels stable.
like brown rice are minimally processed. They consist of fiber-rich , vitamin-filled germ, and starchy endosperm.
In contrast, refined carbohydrates, like , have been processed to remove the germ and bran, leaving only the endosperm. Not only does this process remove the majority of the grain's fiber, but it also reduces its antioxidant, protein, vitamin, and mineral content.
Because it is higher in fiber, brown rice typically has a lower (GI) than white rice, which means it is absorbed slower and less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.
The average GI value for brown rice is relatively low at 55, while the GI value for white rice is higher at 64.
One cup of cooked, long-grain brown rice provides the following nutrients:
Brown rice is exceptionally high in B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for red blood cell production. They help convert the foods you eat into energy.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, brown rice is rich in phenols and , antioxidants that interact with and neutralize harmful free radicals, preventing them from causing damage.
Studies show that the antioxidants in brown rice and other whole grains may help protect against , diabetes, and cancer.
Brown rice contains , which helps with blood sugar control and weight management.
Several studies have found that brown rice reduces post-meal blood sugar levels because of its low GI value. However, whether brown rice improves long-term glucose control remains controversial. Some of the studies include:
Furthermore, brown rice is still a better alternative to white rice in people with diabetes because it improves weight loss and cholesterol levels (considered "good" cholesterol). An observational study in adults with type 2 diabetes found that a weight loss of 10% or more early on doubled their chance of going into remission after five years.
What's more, brown rice may protect against diabetes. One study noted that brown rice contains primarily insoluble fiber, linked to improved insulin sensitivity and a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes.
Brown rice is highly versatile and can easily be incorporated into recipes. However, it's essential to be mindful of your portion size. Large amounts of brown rice can cause blood sugar spikes.
If you are , one-third cup of brown rice equals one carb serving, with around 15 g of carbohydrates. The carb servings you need per meal will vary depending on your body size and activity level.
Here are some healthful ways to incorporate brown rice into a diabetes-friendly diet:
Other types of diabetes-friendly rice include:
These whole-grain rice varieties have a higher fiber content than regular white rice, which may help control blood sugar. Additionally, they typically have larger amounts of vitamins and minerals than traditional white rice.
Although brown rice is high in carbohydrates, it contains fiber and other important nutrients for blood sugar control. Compared to white rice, brown rice has been shown to improve after-meal blood sugar levels, body weight, and cholesterol levels.
When consuming brown rice, it is important to be mindful of your portion sizes and pair it with healthy fats and lean protein to minimize blood sugar spikes. Consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare provider to determine how many carbohydrates you can eat daily and at each meal.