Good news about rice for diabetics

The right type of rice can be a part of a healthy diet for people living with diabetes, according to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and GSIRO's Food Futures Flagship.

Researchers analyzed 235 types of rice and found that most rice varieties scored a low to medium glycemic index (GI). The GI varies greatly depending on the variety.

The team also identified the key gene that determines the GI of rice. This achievement may help rice breeders develop varieties with different GI levels to meet dietary needs.

Most rice GI low to medium

The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly carbohydrates in foods raise blood sugar levels after eating.

Low GI foods measure 55 and less, while medium GI foods measure between 56 and 69. High GI measures 70 and above.

Foods with high GI are easily digested and absorbed by the body. This results in fluctuating blood sugar levels.

Foods with low GI are slowly digested and absorbed, causing a gradual and sustained release of sugar into the blood that is beneficial to health, according to CSIRO.

Making informed choices

Low GI diets can help reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. They can also help people living with diabetes better manage their condition.

People with diabetes can therefore select the right type of rice to help maintain a healthy, low GI diet.

"Understanding that different types of rice have different GI values allows rice consumers to make informed choices about the sort of rice they want to eat," said Melissa Fitzgerald of IRRI.

Rice varieties in the study ranged from 48 to 92 GI. The study found that India's most widely grown rice variety, Swarna, has a low GI. Varieties like Doongara and Basmati from Australia have a medium GI.

Maintaining blood glucose control

According to Mayo Clinic, people living with diabetes can help control blood sugar levels by choosing a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. They should limit saturated fat.

Maintaining a healthy weight can also help. An overweight person losing 5 to 10 percent of body weight is shown to significantly improve blood sugar control, according to Mayo Clinic.

Regular exercise can also help prevent prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and help those living with diabetes to maintain their blood sugar levels. Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

Sources:CSIRO, Mayo Clinic

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