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Basmati Rice As a Diabetic Food

author image Aglaee Jacob
Aglaee Jacob is a registered dietitian. She has experience working with people who have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity issues. Jacob obtained a bachelor of science and a master of science, both in nutrition, from Laval University in Quebec City, Canada.
Basmati Rice As a Diabetic Food
Close up of Basmati rice in a black dish.

The prevalence of diabetes is on the rise and it now affects 7.8 percent of the U.S. population, as of 2007 according to the American Diabetes Association. In order to prevent long-term complications associated with uncontrolled diabetes, diabetics need to adapt their lifestyle, and sometimes rely on extra help from medications or insulin, to achieve good glycemic control, defined by blood sugar levels ranging between 70 and 130 mg/dL before meals and below 180 mg/dL two hours after eating.

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Carbohydrate Recommendations

Carbohydrate is the key nutrient to control with diabetes as it is the one that influence blood sugar levels the most. After the digestion process, carbohydrates are converted into glucose, or sugar, molecules, which then make their way into the bloodstream elevating blood sugar levels at the same time. Because insulin is either present in insufficient quantities or is simply ineffective with diabetes, an excessive carbohydrate intake leads to blood glucose levels above target. For this reason, the American Diabetes Association recommends aiming for a carbohydrate intake ranging between 45 and 60 g at each meal.

Basmati Rice Nutrition Facts

Basmati rice belongs to the group of carbohydrate-containing foods that need to be limited with diabetes. As a general rule of thumb, all rices, whether brown or white, contains a similar amount of carbohydrates averaging about 15 g per 1/3-cup serving. More precisely, 3/4 cup cooked Basmati rice provides 150 calories, 0 g fat, 3 g protein, 35 g carbohydrate and 0 g fiber, while the same serving of cooked brown Basmati rice contains about 162 calories, 1.5 g fat, 3.8 g protein, 33.8 g carbohydrate and 3 g fiber.

Basmati Rice Glycemic Index

In addition to considering the amount of carbohydrate you include in your diabetic meal plan, you also need to consider the type of carbohydrate your select. Not all carbohydrates are created equal and the glycemic index, or GI, allows to understand the impact of carbohydrate-containing foods on blood sugar levels. High GI foods, with a GI above 70, cause a spike in blood sugar levels, whereas low GI foods, with a GI lower than 55, results in a smaller and smoother rise. Basmati rice has a GI ranging between 43 and 60, which falls in the low to medium GI category, according to the University of Sydney GI Database. Other types of rice have GI reaching 72 to 98.

Basmati Rice Meals

Basmati rice can be part of a healthy diabetic meal, as long as you keep portion sizes reasonable and control the servings of other carbohydrate-containing foods served at the same meal. For example, if you serve Basmati rice for dinner, it may be best to skip the bread, potatoes or dessert at that meal. For a healthy meal that will help you keep your blood sugar levels within target, you can serve 1/3 to 1 cup of cooked Basmati rice and accompany it with plenty of non-starchy vegetables and an adequate amount of protein from fish, chicken, turkey or lean meat.

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