Is basmati rice good for Diabetics?
Diabetes is a persistent disease affecting how the body processes glucose or blood sugar. Diabetes patients either don’t make enough insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels, or their bodies cannot effectively use the insulin they have.
This can lead to high blood glucose levels, increasing the risk of health problems such as heart disease, nerve damage, and kidney disease.
Managing blood sugar levels is an essential part of diabetes management, and a person’s food can significantly impact their blood sugar levels. This is where the type of rice a person with diabetes consumes comes into play.
What is Basmati Rice?
Long-grain rice with the distinctive flavour of basmati is indigenous to Pakistan and India.
It is recognized for its nutty flavour and fragrant aroma. It is often used in dishes such as biryani and pilaf. Basmati rice is typically white but is also available in a brown variety.
Glycemic Index of Basmati Rice
One factor to consider when evaluating the suitability of basmati rice for people with diabetes is the glycemic index (GI).
The GI is a measure of how quickly food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI are absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, rapidly increasing blood sugar.
On the other hand, foods with a low GI are absorbed more slowly, leading to a slower and more gradual increase in blood sugar.
The GI of basmati rice varies depending on the type and cooking method. White basmati rice generally has a moderate to high GI, ranging from 50-80.
This means that it can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Brown basmati rice, on the other hand, has a lower GI, ranging from 50-65.
This is because the bran and germ layers, which are removed to create white rice, contain fiber and other nutrients that can slow glucose absorption into the bloodstream.
Despite its potential to raise blood sugar levels, basmati rice can still benefit people with diabetes.
Benefits of Basmati Rice for Diabetics
One potential benefit is its potential to aid in weight management. Rice is a low-fat, low-calorie food that can be a good choice for people trying to manage their weight.
Additionally, basmati rice contains resistant starch, a carbohydrate not fully absorbed by the body, and can help improve blood sugar control.
Basmati rice may also positively impact blood pressure in people with diabetes.
A report on a study in the Journal of Renal Care found that substituting basmati rice for white rice in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes led to a significant reduction in blood pressure.
Risks of Basmati Rice for Diabetics
However, there are also some risks to consider regarding basmati rice and diabetes. One risk is the potential for high blood sugar levels.
As mentioned, white basmati rice has a moderate to high GI, which can rapidly increase blood sugar. This can be particularly problematic for people with uncontrolled diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes.
Another risk is the potential for increased heart disease risk. People with diabetes are at an increased danger of heart disease, and consuming high-GI foods such as white basmati rice can further increase this risk.
Substituting brown basmati rice, which has a lower GI, maybe a better choice for people with diabetes who are concerned about their heart health.
Other low-GI grains may be suitable alternatives for people with diabetes, such as quinoa, oats, and barley.
These grains can provide the same weight management and blood pressure benefits as basmati rice but with a lower risk of raising blood sugar levels.
In conclusion, basmati diabetic rice can be a good choice for people with diabetes as part of a balanced diet.
However, it is essential to consider the variety of rice and the cooking method, as these factors can affect GI and impact blood sugar levels.
Brown basmati rice may be better for people with diabetes due to its lower GI. Still, other low-GI grains may also be suitable options.
It is always essential to consult with a medical professional or a registered nutritionist before making any changes to a diabetic diet.