If you are following a low-glycemic diet, aim to include more foods with a low-GI number. The GI measures how rapidly carbohydrates affect blood glucose levels within two hours of intake. Think of it as a ranking system for carbohydrates; the lower the value, the lesser the effect on glucose levels. When it comes to rice and the GI, you may have misconceptions about whether it should be classified as a low, medium or high-GI food.
Low, Medium or High GI?
Rice can vary in GI values depending on its carbohydrate content and the way it is prepared. In clinical studies, rice has ranged from as low as 54 to as high as 121 on the GI. Much of the variation is due to differences in the proportion of starch present as amylose. Varieties that contain a higher amount of amylose have a slower rate of digestion and produce lower glycemic and insulin responses.
Types of Low-GI Rice
The GI classifies food as "low" if it has a value of 55 or less. The Glycemic Index Database provides an extensive list of rice and categorizes it according to region, brand, variety and preparation. Low-GI rice varieties found in the database include Bangladeshi rice -- 37, American steamed brown rice -- 50 and Uncle Ben's Cajun-style rice -- 51.
White rice is usually higher on the GI, but Japonica, a white, short-grained rice, comes in at a low 48.
Rice bran, a byproduct of milled rice, has a value of only 19, which makes it the rice product with the lowest GI score. Rice bran is a nutritious, gluten-free alternative to wheat bran that you can incorporate into many cooking and baking recipes.
Types of Medium-GI Rice
Rice with a GI value between 56 and 69 is medium-GI. Types of rice in this range include Basmati rice -- 58, Canadian wild rice -- 57, Chinese vermicelli -- 58, American long-grain boiled rice -- 61 and risotto rice -- 69.
Types of High-GI Rice
Rice with values of 70 or higher are high-GI, the category to avoid if you are trying to follow a low-GI diet. Most white rice varieties are high on the GI. Types of rice in this category includes instant white rice -- 87; jasmine rice -- 89, American parboiled white rice -- 72 and short-grain white rice -- 83.
Tips for a Low-GI Meal With Rice
When including rice with a meal, include other low-GI foods to complement it, such as vegetables and poultry. By including these complementary foods, you'll balance out the higher-GI rice and keep your blood sugar levels more stable verses eating rice by itself or complementing with a high-GI food. A low-GI diet is not only beneficial for your general health but can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
When to Avoid Eating Rice
If you are diabetic, at risk for diabetes or glucose intolerant, stay away from white rice completely because of the stress it puts on your blood sugar-regulating mechanisms. If you do consume rice, choose a low-GI rice variety, keep the portions small and consume it with complementary foods.
- Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte/Getty Images Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images Dynamic Graphics/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
What Is the Nutritional Value of Rice?
The word is out: Rice is a healthy food, and more and more Americans are using rice in their diet. Market analysis...
List of Grains With Low GI
Low glycemic foods require the body to release less insulin, a hormone supplied by the body to process excess sugar in the...
Basmati Rice Nutrition Information
Basmati rice is a type of long-grain, fragrant rice grown in India and Pakistan. Rice is a staple food in many countries...
Restaurants That Serve Low Glycemic Foods
The glycemic index (GI), developed in 1981 by Dr. David Jenkins, is a system that describes the rate at which carbohydrates turn...
What Are the Dangers of Rice Cakes?
Rice cakes can be eaten plain or combined with a number of different foods for a quick, healthy snack. The cakes are...
List of High GI Foods
The glycemic index (GI) ranks foods according to the amount that they raise an individual's blood sugar level. Foods with a high...
Different Types of Rice Dishes
There are more than 40,000 varieties of rice grown in the world. Learning to use "real" rice instead of instant rice will...