Rice and its Glycemic Index

For many years, nutritionists have warned that rice should be avoided by those with diabetes and limited by those concerned with weight loss. A new study, however, reveals that all varieties of rice do not have the same glycemic index (GI). Researchers took a look at 235 types of rice grown throughout the world and found that most types score a low to medium GI, contrary to popular belief.

This new data is great news for anyone seeking to lose weight, as well as diabetics and those at risk for the disease, as choosing the right variety of rice can be a part of maintaining a healthy, low GI diet every day.

According to the study, the glycemic index of rice ranges from 48 on the low end to 92 on the high end, with an average GI of 64.

The team of researchers were able to find the important gene that determines the glycemic index, which is a huge achievement for rice breeders as well because they now have the chance to develop rice with varying GI levels to suit the needs of consumers. This even leads the way for food manufacturers to develop low GI foods based on rice.

Glycemic index is a measure of the relative ability of the carbs in a food to raise blood sugar after consumption. This study will allow consumers to choose from the many rice varieties available and select something that’s suitable for their needs.

One variety of rice, Swarna, is the most commonly grown rice in India and also has a low GI, while Australian varieties Doongara and Basmati have a medium glycemic index. Low GI foods are measured at 55 or less; medium GI foods are measured between 56 and 69; and high GI foods measure above 70.

Health Benefits of a Low Glycemic Diet

Rice and its Glycemic Index
By: IRRI Images

A low GI diet offers a range of health benefits, including a reduced likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes. It can also help diabetics manage the disease, stressing the importance for diabetics and those at risk for the disease to select the right foods to maintain a healthy diet, which now includes low GI rice. Foods with a high GI are quickly and easily absorbed, which creates fluctuating blood sugar levels. On the other hand, low GI foods are digested and absorbed slowly, so they cause a sustained sugar release into the blood. Low glycemic foods are also shown to help with weight control and help you feel fuller for longer after you eat. A low GI diet may also offer a decreased risk of cancer, according to an Australian study, while lowering the risk for heart disease and insulin sensitivity.

  • Improves physical endurance by sustaining blood glucose levels
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease
  • Lowers insulin sensitivity
  • Aids in weight loss and the maintenance of a healthy weight
  • Lowers and controls triglyceride levels
  • Lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Decreases the risk of cancer
  • Controls appetite
  • Lowers and controls cholesterol levels