Your world just came to a standstill because you love eating rice, but, now you are told to avoid rice because you are diabetic. You are confused and understandably so. How about my favorite dishes? Stew peas and curried chicken should only be eaten with rice.
At least, this was a tradition in your grandmothers’ home and also your mothers.’ Things seemed pretty normal with them, so you wonder why you were told to stop eating white rice. Your doctors’ response-“because you need to know how to control diabetes using a lifestyle change and rice will make it worst.”
Straight for the Bloodstream
Rice is a carbohydrate, which for diabetics is and can be a big deal. Rice converts to sugar and head straight for the blood. The result is a sudden, high spike in your blood sugar. Let us take a little time to understand what happens. When we eat foods rich carbohydrate, it is broken down into glucose and then it enters our bloodstream. Our blood sugar is simply the amount of glucose which is moving around (circulating) in our blood.
Some people are able to eat white rice and bread and their bodies, for now, is able to control the levels of glucose which enters the bloodstream. This is not the case with diabetics. Our bodies do not function well with too many carbohydrates and so we must find a balance using whole foods so that we can minimize the spike in our blood glucose.
A Robbery has Occurred
Brown rice is milled for us to receive white rice. In this process, the hull and the bran are removed from the rice. The following are removed during the process:
Are you still interested in eating white rice on a regular basis? Please note that the white rice which has “enriched” written on the packaging, is a confession of some sorts. It is a confession that all the vitamins and minerals were stripped from the rice and replaced with their synthetic counterparts. Is enriched or fortified white rice sounding like a smart choice?
The Case for Brown Rice
With that said, let us now turn our attention to brown rice. Brown rice gets digested at a different pace than white rice. It takes longer to be digested and this is where the secret lies. The longer the food takes to be digested, the lower will be the blood sugar spike. Because it takes so long to be digested, we also are left feeling full for an extended period of time.
Have you ever heard of complex carbohydrates? Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate and because of this, it takes longer to be digested. According to the experts at Medline Plus, complex carbohydrates “are made up of sugar molecules that are strung together in long, complex chains.”
Glycemic Index of Brown Rice
Let us now take a brief look at the Glycemic Index. If you are interested in seeing the effect brown rice or white rice will have on raising your blood glucose, then you need to become acquainted with the Glycemic Index (GI). Basically, we need to consume foods with a low GI. Brown rice is only 55 and so it is safe for us to eat in moderation. This will give us a slow, gradual spike in blood glucose.
Equal or Not?
Not all brown rice are equal in my view. I say this based on my personal observations and research. You also have to pay attention to quantities. But, I have eaten 1/2 cup of a certain brand of brown rice and my blood sugar spike seems to be higher than when I eat others. I would suggest that if you decide to eat brown rice a few days, just try different brands and check your blood glucose to see the effect. Also bear in mind that things are not constant, and something else may be responsible for the spike.
I am diabetic and I still enjoy a little rice occasionally, but I make sure it is a good quality brown rice. Please note that some people confuse par-boiled rice with brown rice. They are different. I also exercise moderation when I am eating rice. I try very hard to consume only 1/2 cup with some vegetables and my animal protein. Yes, the truth be told, I have had more in the past, but I do make an effort to be satisfied with less rice and more vegetables.
Health Benefits of Eating Brown Rice
Here are some of the health benefits of brown rice:
- Releases sugar slowly. It is said that half cup of brown rice instead of white rice on a daily basis could reduce your risk of diabetes by as much as 60%.
- Fiber galore. This is good news for diabetics and for all of us in general. Note that our colons are kept clean when we eat a diet rich in fibers. This will also protect us from colon cancer.
- Anti-oxidant luxury. Think about the antioxidants from strawberries and blueberries, then note that brown rice is comparable with these as it relates to anti-oxidants.
- Selenium. Arthritis, cancer and heart diseases are kept a bay because of the selenium content of brown rice.
- Cholesterol treat. The natural fats found in brown rice are useful to help in the lowering of our cholesterol.
Diabetics can eat brown rice and still be able to control their blood glucose. This is so because brown rice is digested at a slower pace than its’ white counterpart and the result is a slower, gradual spike in blood glucose, making it easier to control our blood glucose.
It keeps coming back to eating whole foods, especially the plant-based ones. Highly processed foods, such as white rice which goes to the mill and have most of the nutrients removed are bad for our blood glucose and will make diabetes remain with us.
I encourage my readers to adjust your lifestyle and get accustomed to eating whole foods, from plants and some animal protein and to remember to be physically active if you are serious to eliminate or at least control your diabetes. Until next time, continue to make the right food choices and win the fight against diabetes.
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