Rice varies in how healthy it is depending on what type you choose
Rice was once considered a healthy option but recently white rice has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Now, though, new research shows that some varieties of rice are better than others, at least in terms of their glycaemic index. As with bread, rice varies in how healthy (or otherwise) it is, depending on the kind you choose.
Researchers from the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines assessed 235 different types and scored them on a glycaemic index. GI measures how much a food raises blood glucose levels after eating – the more it does so, the higher it is on the index, and therefore the more likely it is to contribute to diabetes if eaten in large quantities over a long period of time.
Most varieties of rice measured by the researchers were between a low and medium GI (48 being low and 64 being the average), but some did scored as high of as 92.
The researchers founds that the most widely grown rice varieties produced and eaten in India, such as swarna, for example, have a low GI. Similarly basmati and Australian-grown varieties such as doongara have a medium GI. “Brown Indian rice, especially basmati, is the ideal option when it comes to rice,” says registered nutritionist Dr Carina Norris. “Because it’s less processed it provides more nutritional value and fibre too – it also has a lower GI. Among the different white varieties available, long grain tends to have a lower GI index than medium or short grain rice, and the sticky rice types often used in Asian cooking have the highest GI index.”