The Impact of Rice on Blood Sugar Levels: What You Need to Know

Since immemorial, rice has been a significant dietary carbohydrate, providing indispensable nutrition and energy for survival in most parts of the world. But for a person with diabetes or a pre-diabetic person, understanding the effect of rice consumption is crucial—knowledge needed to control blood sugar. Here is an elaborate guide to rice and blood sugar, including types of rice and how to manage diabetes with rice in the diet.

Blood Sugar and Glycemic Index Background Information

Blood Sugar Basics

Glucose is the body’s primary fuel source for every cell; the digestion of all carbohydrates refines to glucose, and post-meal, accesses the bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps prevent peaks and troughs of blood glucose levels.

Read More: Why Should You Track Your Blood Sugar?

What Is The Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates, indicating how they affect blood glucose levels. Foods are ranked on a scale from 0 to 100:

  • Low GI: 55 or less
  • Medium GI: 56 to 69
  • High GI: 70 and up

Being aware of the glycemic index of foods can help manage blood sugar levels, especially for those with diabetes.

The Glycemic Index of Rice

Several varieties of rice differ with respect to their source and glycemic index:

  • White Rice: Typically has a high GI of between 70 and 89, leading to increased blood sugar levels.
  • Brown Rice: Normally has a moderate-glycemic level (50–55), causing a slow and moderate increase in blood sugar.
  • Basmati Rice: GI is about 50-58, relatively low compared to other white varieties.
  • Thai Jasmine Rice: Most GI is higher (68-80), similar to most other white rice.
  • Wild Rice: Overall, has a low GI of 45-55, and hence the most suitable for glucose level control.

Factors Affecting GI of Rice

The GI of rice depends on:

  • Processing: More processed varieties, such as white rice, usually have a higher GI.
  • Cooking method: Overcooking raises the GI due to a complete breakdown of starches.
  • Accompaniments: Adding proteins, fats, and fibre can help reduce the meal’s glycemic impact.

Read More: What’s The Healthiest Type of Rice? 5 Types of Rice and Their Benefits

Portion Control

Managing portion sizes is crucial to prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar. It’s not about avoiding rice, but rather about measuring your portions carefully.

Becoming One with Low GI Foods

Balancing blood sugar is possible by combining rice with other low GI foods in your meals:

  • Proteins: Chicken, fish, tofu, and legumes.
  • Vegetables: Bell peppers, spinach, and broccoli.
  • Healthy fats: Avocados and nuts.

Choosing Low-Glycemic Index Rice Types

Opt for brown, basmati, and wild rice over white varieties to better manage blood sugar levels and gain the added advantage of high fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

Culinary Methods

Cooking practices can change the GI of rice. Keeping rice al dente rather than very soft can lower its glycemic index.

Watching Your Sugar Levels

Regular measurement of blood glucose levels is necessary for diabetics to understand how different types of rice and meal combinations affect their sugar levels.

Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Rice

Nutritional Composition


  • Carbohydrates: Provide energy.
  • Proteins: Contain essential amino acids.
  • Fibre: Helps with digestion and blood sugar control.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Especially in brown and wild rice (B vitamins, magnesium, selenium).

Potential Risks of High Rise Intake

High consumption of white rice with a high GI could significantly elevate blood sugar levels, posing risks for those with diabetes or insulin resistance. Additionally, rice can absorb arsenic from soil and water, which is associated with several health risks.

Handy Tips for Adding Rice to a Diabetes Meal Plan

  • Balanced Meal Planning: Include rice in a balanced plate with half-filled non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with lean proteins, and the remaining quarter with rice or another grain.
  • Experiment with Alternatives: Consider low-carb options like cauliflower rice, or nutrient-dense alternatives like quinoa and barley.

Read More: Diabetes: Types, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Mindful Eating?

Honour your hunger, satisfaction, and blood glucose cues by staying aware of your current diet and recognizing ways to improve portion sizes and blood sugar control.

Read More: What Is Mindful Eating And Why Is It Important?


Understanding the impact of rice on your blood sugar level is crucial in diabetes care and maintaining good health. Choose lower GI rice varieties, control your portions, and pair with other nutrient-dense foods to maintain reasonable blood sugar control. Regular checks and mindful eating enhance effective diabetes management, enabling you to consume the right foods and maintain a proper diet.


  • Atkinson, F. S., Foster-Powell, K., & Brand-Miller, J. C. (2008). International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008. Diabetes Care, 31(12), 2281-2283. doi:10.2337/dc08-1239
  • Hu, E. A., Pan, A., Malik, V., & Sun, Q. (2012). White rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: Meta-analysis and systematic review. BMJ, 344, e1454. doi:10.1136/bmj.e1454
  • National Health Service. (2020). Diabetes – glycemic index and diabetes. Retrieved from NHS website
  • Rebello, C. J., O’Neil, C. E., & Greenway, F. L. (2016). Dietary fibre and satiety: The effects of oats on satiety. Nutrition Reviews, 74(2), 131-147. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuv063
  • Sun, Q., Spiegelman, D., van Dam, R. M., Holmes, M. D., Malik, V. S., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2010). White rice, brown rice, and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women. Archives of Internal Medicine, 170(11), 961-969. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.109

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  1. Wow! I didn’t know that rice could impact my blood sugar so much. Thanks for educating me. Appreciate it. Hope you guys write more articles like these in the future.

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