As a diabetic, one of the first foods you are asked to give up is rice and sugar, of course!

A few concerns that all of us have regarding rice:

  • Is rice in the ‘foods to avoid’ list altogether?
  • Do you just have to avoid rice for dinner?
  • Anyway, I can continue to eat rice…
  • I don’t feel like I have had my meal if I don’t eat rice.

How about the other rice products, like poha, murmura, idli, dosa etc do I need to avoid these as well…

Is there a way to continue eating rice safely:

Try low GI varieties of rice: Unfortunately, the rice variety most of us eat falls in the high glycemic index foods i.e 70 and above. White rice ranks high on the glycemic index, it also has a low fibre content. Some long grain rice varieties and the basmati rice, brown rice are low on the GI scale compared to white rice.

Change the way you cook rice: Instead of using a pressure cooker, cook rice in a pan with extra water, once cooked, drain off the excess water thus removing starch from rice, lowering the calorific value.

Never have plain rice: Always add some veggies, soybean, paneer, or have it with curd, dal etc.. Always balance your meal with other fibre or protein-rich items.

Control your portion size: Rather than eliminating rice from your diet plan limit the quantity that you have. Avoid eating in large portions and that too frequently.

Try to avoid rice for your dinner: As rice has a high GI food it will raise your blood glucose. As our body is at rest at night, and not much activity is done post-dinner, the body doesn’t get a chance to use up this glucose.

What about rice products: Puffed rice (murmura) being light is sometimes thought of as diet food, but it has a high GI and not ideal as a healthy snacking option. Other items like idlis, dosas also have dal in it. So already a protein source added. Having it with sambar further adds to the protein content of the meal. Also, any cereal-pulse combinations improve the quality of protein.

So, you don’t have to give up rice completely, but yes you have to make smart choices, about the type of rice, the portion size, the time of the day you are having it, what you combine it with etc.. will all determine the effect of eating rice on your blood glucose.

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