best rice for diabetics

What Type of Rice Do I Choose as a Diabetic?

There are so many different types of rice out there, it's no surprise that we can all get a little confused. 

With brown, basmati, jasmine, wild- I could keep going- there is a lot to choose from. So how do you know which rice to choose if you're a diabetic?
I am sure most of you reading this are well aware of what the Glycaemic Index (GI) is, but for those of you who don't, here's a quick rundown; The Glycaemic Index ranks foods, largely carbohydrates, on how quickly they increase your blood glucose levels over (generally) two hours. Those foods that digest quickly will increase your blood glucose levels faster, therefore they are considered high GI foods.

As a diabetic, generally, you want to be consuming more low GI foods. 

Unfortunately, rice is considered a high GI food. But rice lovers, there's no need to fret! It is not the be-all-end-all. 
When choosing which rice to consume, it's important as a diabetic to choose the type with the lowest Glycaemic Index. Basmati, wholegrain basmati, rice noodles, and long-grain white rice are commonly in the low GI ranking category. Arborio and basmati(boiled) are in the medium GI ranking.
Short grain white rice and brown rice (boiled) are usually in the high GI category.

However, this is where it gets complicated - cooking the rice in different ways can alter the GI. For example, buying a rice product that is precooked in a microwavable pouch has a generally lower GI than boiling it from the dried product. This is due to the amylose vs amylopectin content in the rice. High amylose tends to produce low GI products whereas amylopectin produces high GI. With all of these food rules in place, eating gets really confusing. Especially for diabetics.

To help with the confusion of which types of rice to consume, here's a table with the glycaemic index of common rice varieties.

Remember: (individual portion)
Medium GI= 56-69
High GI= 70+

Rice Type




Brown Rice (steamed)


Rice Noodles


Wild Rice




Brown Rice (boiled)


Short Grain White Rice





Another way to cut out confusion is to purchase rice labeled "Low GI". Many brands have specialised low GI rice products to help out those who cannot consume high GI foods, which makes it a lot easier than having to decipher between 10 different varieties of rice. The Diabetes Kitchen have their very own low GI rice which I have used in this diabetes-friendly Indian fish pilaf below.

Indian Rice Pilaf

Serves 4

Approx time: 30 mins


For the Rice:

1 cup Diabetes Kitchen Low GI Rice (rinsed)

1 large onion, diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

Pinch of salt

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon black pepper powder

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

2 cups fish stock or chicken stock

4 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup roasted chopped almonds

1/4 cup peas

1 cup spinach

coriander to garnish

For the fish:

1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger

1/2 lime juiced, plus lime wedges for serving

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

500g or 4x fish fillets (I used Barramundi)

4 tsp olive oil


Combine garlic, ginger, lime juice, salt and spices in a small bowl.  Pat fish dry then rub spice paste all over it.  Marinate for minimum 2 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, add the olive oil on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and fry until golden brown in colour (about 6-8 mins). Add the cumon. cinnamon, salt, ginger, pepper, and cloves and stir for one minute or until fragrant.

Add the stock, bring to a boil. Add the rice, cover and simmer for 15 mins.

Stir the rice gently, cover and let it cook for another 15 to 18 minutes. Turn off heat and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over a high heat, add olive oil. Add the fish and cook for 2-4 mins or until opaque on the sides (the fish should lift easily with no stick). Carefully flip and finish cooking on the other side until fish is just opaque at the centre and flakes easily with a fork, 1-2 minutes more.

Serve rice with fish laid on top. Garnish with roasted almonds and coriander.

Written by Jaz Batchelor




Back to blog