Brown Rice and Blood Sugar

Your blood sugar is the amount of glucose circulating within your bloodstream. Glucose enters your blood when you eat foods rich in carbohydrates, which are broken down into glucose. Most healthy bodies are able to keep blood glucose levels within normal limits, but patients suffering from diabetes may develop abnormal glucose levels. By controlling your diet and eating healthy foods, such as brown rice, you can reduce your chances of developing diabetes or prevent blood sugar abnormalities if you already have diabetes.

Uncooked brown rice in a crock in the kitchen. (Image: bit245/iStock/Getty Images)

Brown Rice

Brown rice and other complex carbohydrates, such as millet, steel-cut oats and legumes, take longer to digest. A longer digestion time prolongs your sense of fullness and helps keep your blood sugar levels within normal ranges. However, simple carbohydrates, including white rice, soda, candy and white flour, are digested faster and tend to increase blood sugar levels quickly. Furthermore, refined or processed carbohydrates, such as soda and white rice, contain few nutrients, which can decrease overall nutritional value.

Brown Rice and Glycemic Index

Glycemic index, or GI, measures the effect certain foods have on raising blood sugar. Food with a low GI do not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels and are generally better tolerated by diabetic patients. Brown rice has a relatively low GI of 55 and is, therefore, able to keep blood sugar levels more stable.

Less Sugar Release

All carbohydrates cause an influx of glucose into your body. Brown rice provides a much lower sugar release when compared with other forms of rice. In fact, brown rice released 23.7 percent less sugar when compared with milled rice, according to a 2006 article published in the "International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition." By releasing less sugar, brown rice helps prevent high blood sugar levels.

Lower the Risk for Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a disease characterized by chronically high sugar levels. Its causes range from insufficient levels of the hormone insulin to increased insulin resistance in cells. Substituting brown rice, or other whole grains, for simple carbohydrates, such as white rice, reduces your risk of developing diabetes, an article in the June 2010 issue of "Archives Internal Medicine" states. Eating brown rice instead of white rice or other refined carbohydrates reduces your risk of developing diabetes by 16 percent.

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