Eating Rice When You Have Diabetes

There are a few dietary restrictions when it comes to consuming certain foods for individuals who have diabetes. This is due to the carbohydrates, additives, and glycemic levels in certain foods.

While white rice is known to have a high glycemic index and is low in fiber, micronutrients, and polyphenols, there are diabetic-friendly rice options you can consider. When choosing a healthy diet plan, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional regarding the best options for your lifestyle.

Bowl of rice

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Rice in a Diabetes Diet

When people with diabetes consume rice, it is important to understand how the body reacts.

A cup of white rice has 53.4 grams of carbohydrates. When an individual with diabetes consumes drinks and foods with carbohydrates, it breaks down into glucose and the body’s blood sugar rises.

How Carbohydrates Affect People With Diabetes

When rice is consumed, this can lead to elevated glucose levels after a meal:

  • In an individual without diabetes, their insulin will help the blood sugar levels from increasing too much.
  • If an individual has diabetes, depending on the type, the body either doesn’t make insulin or the body is resistant to it.

Therefore, if you have diabetes, it is important to watch the carbohydrates intake:

  • For people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin, so it is important to count the carbs in your meal.
  • For people with type 2 diabetes, the body is resistant to insulin and may not produce enough to properly offset the blood sugar increase, so it is advised they eat carbohydrates throughout the day instead of a lot at one time.

Rice is known to have a considerable amount of carbohydrates, a high glycemic index, and high glycemic load. Studies have shown that consuming high amounts of white rice increases the risk of diabetes by 11%.

Another study concluded that individuals who opted for brown rice and whole grains instead of white rice may have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Rice Options

When consuming rice, it is important to be mindful. If possible, opt for brown rice, which is known to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes due to its high content of:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Multiple nutrients

Other options for rice include:

  • Wild rice: 35 grams of carbs
  • Jasmine rice: 39 grams of carbs
  • Basmati rice: 37 grams of carbs

Alternatives to Rice

There are other foods that you can try as an alternative option. These include:

  • Cauliflower rice
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Barley

It is important to speak with a healthcare professional before you add any foods to your diet. They can give you the right information as it relates to your specific condition.

A Word From Verywell

When an individual has diabetes, diet is a big factor when it comes to staying healthy and controlling sugar levels. It‘s all about balance. Speak with a healthcare professional so you can properly plan a menu that will keep you healthy.

It is also important to educate yourself about proper options for diet, lifestyle, and exercise habits so you can have a wonderful quality of life. If you have any questions or concerns, check with your healthcare provider and they can lead you in the right direction.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Rice, white, short-grain, enriched, cooked.

  2. American Diabetes Association. Carb counting and diabetes.

  3. Van Dam R. A Global perspective on white rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetesDiabetes Care. 2020;43(11):2625-2627. doi:10.2337/dci20-0042

  4. Sun Q. White rice, brown rice, and risk of type 2 diabetes in us men and womenArch Intern Med. 2010;170(11):961. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2010.109

By Yvelette Stines
Yvelette Stines, MS, MEd, is an author, writer, and communications specialist specializing in health and wellness.