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Is Brown Rice Good For Diabetes?

January 9, 2023
7 min read
Is Brown Rice Good For Diabetes?


  • Brown rice is a whole grain that is often recommended for people with diabetes.
  • Brown rice is generally more nutritious than white rice as it is higher in fiber, magnesium, and other nutrients.
  • In addition to providing essential nutrients, brown rice also has many potential health benefits.
  • Brown rice, has a beneficial effect on blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes.

If you are living with type 2 diabetes, you may have heard that making dietary changes can help you manage your condition. 

One dietary change that you may want to consider is adding brown rice to your diet. 

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the amazing health benefits of brown rice and explain how diabetics can incorporate it into their diet.

100 gm brown rice calories

One small cup (100 grams) of cooked brown rice has 87 kcal. It contains 86% carbohydrates, 11% protein, and 3% fat. Plain brown rice is a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, copper, thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6, and an excellent source of manganese.

Download the Hint app to track your calories and nutrients from cooked brown rice.

Brown rice nutrition facts

Brown rice is a type of whole-grain rice that has bran and an intact germ meaning it retains all of its natural nutrients.

It is a great source of complex carbohydrates, which provide slow energy release throughout the day. It is also a good source of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like magnesium and iron. 

One small cup (100 grams) of cooked brown rice has 87 kcal. It contains 86% carbohydrates, 11% protein, and 3% fat. Download the HINT app and track your calories.

Glycemic index (GI) of brown rice

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood glucose levels. Brown rice is considered a medium GI food with a glycemic index of 581.

Nutrition and health benefits of brown rice

Brown rice not only provides essential nutrients, but it also has several potential health benefits.

1. High in nutrients

Brown rice is highly nutritious and contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, and zinc.2.

2. Rich in antioxidants

Brown rice contains various antioxidants that help protect against damage caused by free radicals. These antioxidants minerals like selenium, manganese, magnesium, and polyphenols, flavonoids have been linked to various health benefits.

3. Helps control blood sugar levels

Brown rice helps to regulate blood sugar levels and can help to reduce the risk of diabetes.

4. Reduces the risk of heart disease

Brown rice contains more fiber compared to white rice. It typically provides 1 to 3 g more fiber than white rice and has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. 

The fiber helps to reduce cholesterol levels and inflammation, which can help protect against heart disease.

5. Helps lowering blood pressure

The magnesium content of brown rice may help reduce blood pressure. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and can help to reduce hypertension.

In addition to its nutritional benefits, brown rice helps in relieving constipation, provides satiety, and is a great way to add variety to your diet. With its nutty flavor and chewy texture, it can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to salads to soups. 

With so much to offer, it’s no wonder why brown rice is a popular choice for those looking to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Is brown rice good for diabetes?

Recent studies have suggested that consuming brown rice is beneficial for people with diabetes.

In a study, researchers concluded that brown rice is a healthier option for diabetics and hyperglycemic individuals than milled white rice due to the higher amounts of phytic acid,  dietary fiber, polyphenols, and oil in brown compared to milled rice3.

Another study conducted in Chennai in 2019 concluded that substituting brown rice for white rice showed a potential improvement in HbA1c4.

Also, renowned Indian endocrinologist, Dr. Viswanathan Mohan, summarizes in his study that consumption of brown rice in place of white rice can help reduce 24-hour glucose and fasting insulin responses5.

In fact, our research led us to believe that one of the major components of brown rice, γ-oryzanol (Orz), acts on pancreatic islets and enhances glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and thereby improving glucose intolerance and preventing obesity and type 2 diabetes6.

In addition, the fiber content of brown rice slows down the absorption of glucose and provides more satiety making one eat lesser quantity and feel full when compared to eating white rice.

So, the consumption of brown rice in diabetes means reduced consumption of carbohydrates and some degree of control over the blood sugar and insulin levels of diabetics.

Is brown rice the only whole-grain option for people with diabetes?

One of the key ways to manage diabetes is through diet, and many people with diabetes are advised to choose whole grains over refined grains as part of a healthy eating plan. 

Brown rice is a whole grain that is often recommended for people with diabetes but it's not the only whole grain option available. 

Other whole grains that may be beneficial for people with diabetes include oats, quinoa, broken wheat or dalia, barley,  millets, jowar, bajra, and ragi.

To get the most benefits, it is best to choose whole grains that are not highly processed or refined.

It's also a good idea to vary your grain intake and include a variety of different whole grains, to ensure you are getting a wide range of nutrients.

However, it's important to note that the benefits of brown rice for diabetes depend on how much you eat and how it is prepared. 

HINT app offers a wide range of brown rice recipes that one can include in their daily diet. 

Here is a list of various options along with their calorific values.

RecipeCalories (kcal) for 1 small cup (100 grams)
Fenugreek mushroom brown rice pulao86
Brown rice87
Curd brown rice98
Brown rice vegetable pulao101
Vegetable brown rice khichdi114
Brown rice khichdi125
Brown rice moong dal Pongal152
Cucumber carrot curd brown rice178

Download the HINT app and sign up for an instant diet plan for managing diabetes and track your calories consumed from various recipes.

As with most things in life, balance and moderation are key. Make it a point to have brown rice in moderation along with a good source of protein, and fiber.

So, let's get started on the journey to better health with brown rice!


  1. Fiona S Atkinson, Jennie C Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell, Anette E Buyken, Janina Goletzke, International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values 2021: a systematic review, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 114, Issue 5, November 2021, Pages 1625–1632.
  2. Ravichanthiran K, Ma ZF, Zhang H, Cao Y, Wang CW, Muhammad S, Aglago EK, Zhang Y, Jin Y, Pan B. Phytochemical Profile of Brown Rice and Its Nutrigenomic Implications. Antioxidants (Basel). 2018 May 23;7(6):71. 
  3. Panlasigui LN, Thompson LU. Blood glucose lowering effects of brown rice in normal and diabetic subjects. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2006 May-Jun;57(3-4):151-8. 
  4. Malik VS, Sudha V, Wedick NM, RamyaBai M, Vijayalakshmi P, Lakshmipriya N, Gayathri R, Kokila A, Jones C, Hong B, Li R, Krishnaswamy K, Anjana RM, Spiegelman D, Willett WC, Hu FB, Mohan V. Substituting brown rice for white rice on diabetes risk factors in India: a randomized controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2019 Jun;121(12):1389-1397. 
  5. Mohan V, Spiegelman D, Sudha V, Gayathri R, Hong B, Praseena K, Anjana RM, Wedick NM, Arumugam K, Malik V, Ramachandran S, Bai MR, Henry JK, Hu FB, Willett W, Krishnaswamy K. Effect of brown rice, white rice, and brown rice with legumes on blood glucose and insulin responses in overweight Asian Indians: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2014 May;16(5):317-25. 
  6. Kozuka C, Yabiku K, Takayama C, Matsushita M, Shimabukuro M. Natural food science-based novel approach toward prevention and treatment of obesity and type 2 diabetes: recent studies on brown rice and γ-oryzanol. Obes Res Clin Pract. 2013 May-Jun;7(3):e165-72. 

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