Count your carbs: how much rice can a diabetic eat?  Is brown rice better than white rice?

Count your carbs: how much rice can a diabetic eat? Is brown rice better than white rice?

Most diabetics face a dilemma of how much carbohydrate they can eat and whether they can have what they know, rice and wheat. Yet it is true that diabetics also need carbs, but their quality and quantity should be monitored, preferably complex variants that take time to break down into glucose in the body and prevent sugar swings.

“For a person with diabetes, 40-45% of the total kilocalories for the day should be satisfied by carbohydrates,” says Dr Sonia Gandhi, Head of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Fortis Mohali.

So how much rice can a diabetic have? “A person with diabetes is allowed to have at least 30g of (raw) rice. Compared to a 30g wheat chapati, which has the same carbohydrate content, the glucose absorption rate of rice is higher. According to the serving list published by the National Institute of Nutrition, one serving counts as 30g of raw rice or any other grain-based product,” says Dr Gandhi, adding that reading food labels is important to know the calories and nutrition of a food.

As for the total number of carbohydrates or calories a person can take in throughout the day, the value, she says. depends on an individual’s height, weight, exercise habits and medication dose. A doctor and nutritionist, she says, can determine the right number of carbohydrates/calories a person with diabetes can consume to maintain normal blood sugar levels, which is possible by eating small portions of carbohydrates at regular intervals.


According to Dr. Gandhi, it is never recommended for a person with diabetes to completely avoid carbohydrates. The quality and quantity of carbohydrates must be taken into account. “Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, legumes, legumes, fruits and vegetables rather than simple carbohydrates such as sugar, maida, potatoes, bananas, jaggery, honey, juices and processed foods are always advised. According to the portion exchange, 30 g of rice gives 20 g of carbohydrates. A controlled amount and complex form of carbohydrates is advised in grams according to the calorie distribution and needs of a person with diabetes, because glucose, the product of carbohydrates, spikes blood sugar after digestion and absorption. . So 30g of raw or uncooked rice counts as one serving size,” says Dr Gandhi.


Brown rice, says Dr. Gandhi, has more fiber (1.8g), compared to plain white rice (0.4g), so it’s a better alternative. “But there is not much difference in the amount of carbohydrates of white rice and brown rice. Although affordability must be considered. Enrich rice with vegetables and legumes and combine a serving of rice with beans increases the nutritional value of the meal.” Simple boiled rice can be modified by adding more vegetables such as in the form of khichdi/pulao or simply replacing it with whole grains such as oats, whole wheat, the jowar or the bajra.”

Additionally, dieters should consider the glycemic index (GI) of foods. The GI is a scale (from 0 to 100) that quantifies the rate at which the body converts carbohydrates from food into glucose and the impact on blood sugar. Desserts, soft drinks, cakes, pastries and pies made from white flour (maida) convert to glucose faster than complex carbohydrates. “The rice was classified in the high glycemic rank, i.e. 70 or more.”


When choosing rice, says Dr. Gandhi, care should be taken for color, texture, aroma, contamination, adulteration and overall quality from a nutrient perspective. “Choosing healthy rice is when one is aware of additional added nutrients such as fiber, additional vitamins and certain other trace minerals.”

Nutritional value of rice

A 100g serving of rice provides:

Energy: 130 calories

Protein: 2.7g

Big: 0.3g

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