By Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu
Diabetics are more particular about the type of food they eat. This is because the type of food can either increase or decrease their blood sugar content. Rice has been a subject of controversy for diabetics. However, others believe that not all rice is created equal and some types are diabetic-friendly. This is because white rice has a glycemic index of 89. Hence, I examine the science behind Basmati rice on our health in this article.
The nutritional value of Basmati rice varies depending on the type one buys. However, in the generic terms, each type has is high in carbs and calories, as well as micronutrients like folate, thiamine, and selenium.
The US Department of Agriculture states that: One cup (163 grams) of cooked white basmati rice contains the following:
Protein: 4.4 grams
Fat: 0.5 grams
Carbs: 45.6 grams
Fiber: 0.7 grams
Sodium: 399 mg
Folate: 24% of the Daily Value (DV)
Thiamine: 22% of the DV
Selenium: 22% of the DV
Niacin: 15% of the DV
Copper: 12% of the DV
Iron: 11% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
Zinc: 7% of the DV
Phosphorus: 6% of the DV
Magnesium: 5% of the DV
The same organization further held that, brown basmati rice is somewhat higher in calories, carbs, and fiber. Furthermore, the magnesium, vitamin E, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus are more as compared to white basmati rice.
Basmati: Scientific justification
Some types are whole grains
Brown basmati rice is regarded a whole grain, this means that it contains all three parts of the kernel — the germ, bran, and endosperm. Why are whole grains good for our health? One study happens to answer this: Aune et al. (2016) analyzed 45 studies and found that whole grain consumption decreases ones risk of heart disease, cancer, and premature death.
A previous review by Aune et al. (2013) also reported that consumption of whole grains, including brown rice, reduces ones risk of type 2 diabetes.
What is more interesting is that: one randomized controlled trial, Vitaglione et al.(2015) examined 80 respondents in an 8-week study and found that substituting refined grains with whole grains decreased ones levels of inflammatory markers.
It is believe that the white basmati rice is mostly supplemented to improve some nutrients that were lost in the processing stages to enhance the nutritional value. This is done to improve our vitamins and mineral content.
Rice and other grains are regularly augmented with iron and B vitamins like folic acid, thiamine, and niacin.
Hong et al.(2014) study found that basmati is normally lower in arsenic, a heavy metal that could destroy our health and in turn reduces the risk of diabetes, heart problems, and some cancers juxtapose to other types of rice.
Also, arsenic accrues a lot in rice as compared to other grains. This raises many health issues for frequent consumers of white rice.
But the good news is that, basmati rice from California, India, or Pakistan have the lowest levels of arsenic, juxtapose to other rice varieties (Davis et al. 2017). Also, Basmati brown rice types have higher levels of arsenic than white rice, as it accrues in the hard outer bran layer.
White basmati is a refined grain, unlike the brown basmati, this affect the nutritional content. Two meta-analysis, (Musa-Veloso et al. 2018; Hu et al. 2012) found that the more one eats refined grains could negatively affect blood sugar and potentially increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, another study, Kim et al.(2012) examined over 10,000 people and found that eating more white rice increases the risk of obesity.
Another study, Ahn et al. (2013) examined 26,006 people and found a link between white rice intake and a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. This could be due to white rice’s high amount of carbs and low amount of fiber compared with brown rice.
This means, although white basmati rice can be eaten in moderation, brown basmati may be a better overall option for your health.
So from the review, is basmati diabetic-friendly? It appears so: According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, basmati, brown, wild, short, and long grain rice has a medium glycemic index (between 56 and 69), as opposed to jasmine and instant white rice with a glycemic index of 89, thus making it more suitable for diabetics as compared to certain other grains and products made from white flour. Besides, it also has many health benefits from studies.
Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups. My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.
The writer is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, a Medical Journalist, and a science writer. President, Nyarkotey University College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/African Naturopathic Foundation, Ashaiman, Ghana. Currently BL Candidate at the Gambia Law School, Banjul. E. mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. + 2207452652(for more information)
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“The Glycemic Index”. Canadian Diabetes Association. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
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Aune D, Keum N, Giovannucci E, Fadnes LT, Boffetta P, Greenwood DC, Tonstad S, Vatten LJ, Riboli E, Norat T. Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ. 2016 Jun 14;353:i2716. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i2716. PMID: 27301975; PMCID: PMC4908315.
Aune D, Norat T, Romundstad P, Vatten LJ. Whole grain and refined grain consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of cohort studies. Eur J Epidemiol. 2013 Nov;28(11):845-58. doi: 10.1007/s10654-013-9852-5. Epub 2013 Oct 25. PMID: 24158434.
Vitaglione P, Mennella I, Ferracane R, Rivellese AA, Giacco R, Ercolini D, Gibbons SM, La Storia A, Gilbert JA, Jonnalagadda S, Thielecke F, Gallo MA, Scalfi L, Fogliano V. Whole-grain wheat consumption reduces inflammation in a randomized controlled trial on overweight and obese subjects with unhealthy dietary and lifestyle behaviors: role of polyphenols bound to cereal dietary fiber. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Feb;101(2):251-61. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.088120. Epub 2014 Dec 3. PMID: 25646321.
Basmati. Last accessed at 24 January 2023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basmati