Should someone with diabetes eat brown rice, or should they avoid rice altogether?
The difference between brown and white rice is that brown rice is a whole grain and white rice is not. Wild rice is also a whole grain and a good choice. Whole grains include the entire grain, while the more processed grains like white rice have some nutrient-rich parts of the grain (most of the germ and bran) removed. Whole grain foods have more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than the more processed grains.
Brown rice and white rice have roughly the same amount of carbohydrate per serving (about 15 grams in 1/3 cup of cooked rice). They have about the same amount of calories per serving as well. Of course, you should always double check the nutrition facts label on the product you buy for the best estimation of carbohydrate grams and calories per serving in the products that you buy.
Choosing whole grains as much as possible over foods made with white flour or refined grains is an important part of eating right with diabetes. For example, choose:
All grains – whole or not – will raise your blood glucose because of the carbs they contain. However, even people with diabetes need some carbohydrates in their diet. So you don’t have to avoid starchy foods like rice all together.
The American Diabetes Association recommends choosing nutrient-rich whole grain foods over more refined flours and grains as much as possible. That way, when you choose to include starchy foods in your meal plan, they are providing you with important nutrients like fiber, minerals, and vitamins. That way, you really make your carbs count!
When you go to the grocery store, try to:
- Choose whole grain or 100% whole wheat breads, pasta, and tortillas instead of white
- Buy brown or wild rice instead of white rice
- Buy whole-grain, lower sugar cereals instead of sugary cereals
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