Diabetes is a disease that should not be taken lightly. Most individuals who suffer from this condition try to maintain appropriate sugar levels. Of equal importance is the regulation of carbohydrates, such as white rice and potatoes, even whole grains can elevate blood sugars.
Glycemic Index is a number connected to carbohydrates and the effect it has on one’s blood sugar level. A rise in sugar will usually occur about two hours after food consumption. Pure glucose (blood sugar) has a glycemic index of 100. Foods that have a glycemic index of 70 or greater will cause blood sugar to rise, Better food options would be those with an index of 55 to 69. Spikes in glucose levels means that the diabetes is not well maintained. Over time, poor diabetic maintenance can lead to damage to nerves and blood vessels, and more serious complications like heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney problems.
A single slice of bread is around 15 grams of carbohydrates and a cup of white rice is 53 grams, or a glycemic index of about 87. That means that one cup of white rice is equivalent to 3 ½ slices of bread. Brown rice comes in at 46 grams for one cup (or about 3 slices of bread), with a glycemic index between 48 and 62. Now envision the serving of rice that comes with a meal of Asian stir fry, or a side with kebabs; they are probably well over a single-cup serving, sometimes as much as 3 cups. Imagine that sugar load!
White Rice Versus Brown Rice
White rice is a staple around the world. In fact in gluten free products and some pastas, white rice is a substitute for all-purpose flour. White rice is developed from brown rice which has been refined. In that process, the rice loses many of its nutrients and minerals. Specifically, fiber and magnesium are removed.
Fiber is what helps us feel full. That means less feeling hungry between meals and more satisfaction. Whole grains (brown rice) are significantly better than refined (white rice) products. A high-fiber diet is also beneficial in maintaining good colo-rectal health, lowering cholesterol, and preventing diabetes.
Magnesium is essential for bone health. It also will maintain healthy muscles, including cardiac muscles. Since magnesium is lost with refining grains, like rice and wheat, it is important to consume whole-grain products rather than processed foods.
Other Rice Options
All is not gloom and doom in the world of rice. White Basmati and Moolgiri have glycemic ratings in the 50s range, and so would be good substitutions. If these are not available at your local food store, refrigerate ordinary cooked rice for 16 to 20 hours before consumption. For some carbohydrates, cooling them will alter their properties into more resistant starches. Using the refrigeration technique will change that same cup of white rice to a glycemic level of 53.
Each person is different and their reactions to certain foods can be different as well. To determine how food affects your blood sugar levels, take regular readings and record the levels. As an example, test sugar levels before eating a measured serving of white rice. Then take sugar levels again at 30 minutes after eating, an hour later and finally two hours later. If blood sugar levels are excessive, the next time try the experiment again but with a smaller portion. Obviously this method can be used to test your reaction to other foods and their portion sizes. That should provide a good idea of which foods trigger a sugar rise and which portion sizes would be appropriate for your metabolism.
The bottom line is to be aware of the affect certain foods have on the human body and to consume the best possible nutrition available.