White rice and diabetes are not natural fits. Read to know why.

Calories in white rice: The better half of many delectable food combos like dal-chaawal, rajma-chaawal, biriyanis and more, white rice is also a good source of carbohydrates. But is it safe for diabetics?

Though some might argue that brown rice is a more healthy alternative, white rice is a more popular and preferred foodgrain across India, especially its eastern regions. White rice is a good source of carbohydrates and the better half of many delectable food combos like dal-chaawal, rajma-chawal, biryaanis, pulao, and so on. However, experts say that the calories in white rice can spike blood sugar levels, and excessive consumption could increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

White rice vs brown

Since it is an easily available, delicious food item, diabetics are often at a loss as to whether or not to avoid white rice. The solution, as with every other thing in life, is to exercise moderation.If you are diabetic, monitor your white rice intake and have a small portion once a week.

Brown rice might be a better option if you are diabetic as it has a low glycemic index which helps in the stabilisation of blood glucose levels. It is also a good source of magnesium, vitamin B6, selenium, phosphorus, thiamine, niacin, manganese and is high in fibre.

Here’s a tip to keep in mind when preparing white rice. Do not have just plain white rice as it is devoid of nutrients such as fibre and magnesium. Add vegetables such as carrots, beans, peas, soy beans, onions, jeera to increase its nutrient value.

Ideal diet for diabetics

Naina Singhania of thefitnesity.in, says a diabetic person should eat at regular intervals and have a balanced diet. It should include “all proteins, complex carbs, vitamins, minerals and essential fats. So, lots of mushrooms, moong, dal, milk, tofu, chicken, fish and eggs.” Also, get good fats from nuts like almond, walnuts and from seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds.

Dr Rinki Kumari, chief dietician, Fortis Hospitals, Bangalore, advises diabetics should understand how different foods affect blood sugar. It is best to pick foods with low glycemic index.

“Fill half plate with non-starchy vegetables. Round out the meal with other healthy choices — whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and small portions of fresh fruits and healthy fats.” This is the ideal meal composition for diabetes, says Dr Kumari. “Diabetic patients should avoid packaged food. They should ensure that they always check the labels to look for added sugar,” she says.

“Some of the best foods for diabetes also includes oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice and millets,” according to Singhania. She also adds that green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage and broccoli help prevent various deficiencies.