eLanka | What would be the best diet plan for Sri Lankans having diabetes?-by Harold Gunatillake

Harold Gunatillake




Yes, let us discuss the topic, and let me explain the myths, and what  the best dietary module acceptable, if you have diabetes type 2.

The staple diet of a Sri Lankan is rice and curry and not curry and rice.

Rice is an important part of a diet for many people around the world.

This means eating a plateful of cooked white rice with a few curries to accompany, and that would be the regular diet of a Sri Lankan.

One cup of long white grain cooked rice weighs 158 g has 242 kilo calories. Has 4.43 g of protein, 0.39 g of fat, 53.2 g of carbs, 0.56 g of fiber.

It is known that white rice consumption is linked to a higher risk of diabetes among Asian people.

Eating brown rice could help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Also having a cup or two of cooked white rice, when you have diabetes is considered too much to stabilize the blood sugar adequately and prevent sugar spikes

The reason is that the starch in white rice when broken down to glucose in your gut gets absorbed quickly, gives high levels of blood sugar level called sugar spikes

The glucose ultimately becomes body fat and adds to your weight problem.

Furthermore, eating as many as two cups of cooked rice per meal daily can raise your arsenic level in the blood which is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.

On the other hand, eating one cup of long grain brown rice contains 216 calories, out of which 44 grams are carbs and contains 3.5 grams of fiber.

Brown rice contains more protein, fiber, and carbs than white rice.

NutrientsIron    White rice         Brown rice        Recommended daily amounts

Iron (mg)          2.8       1.1       8–18

Thiamin (mg)   0.3       0.4       1.1–1.2

Niacin (mg)      3.4       5.2       14–16

Vitamin B-6 (mg)         0.1       0.3       1.3

Folate (mcg)     108       18.2      400 (with additional needs during pregnancy)

Phosphorus (mg)           68.8      208       700

Magnesium (mg)           24.2      78.8      310–420

Zinc (mg)         0.8       1.4       8–11

Selenium (mcg) 14        11.7      55

Copper (mg)     0.1       0.2       900

Manganese (mg)           0.7       2.0       1.8–2.3

White rice is brown rice with the bran and germ removed. The bran and the germ both contain valuable nutrients like antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals, fats, fiber, and a small amount of protein.

People having diabetes needs to eat unprocessed brown or red rice. It stays in your stomach longer than white rice. Emptying is slower, and the digestive process is slower, and absorption as glucose into the blood stream is also slower and helps create a gentler blood sugar response without blood sugar spikes.

Brown rice takes a little bit longer time to cook and you need to add more water, because of the outer layer of bran on them.

Brown rice unfortunately contains more antinutrients and may be higher in arsenic.

It contains an antinutrient known as phytic acid.

Phytic acid can be reduced by soaking the brown rice for 24 hours in filtered water.

White rice is much lower in phytic acid than brown rice, because most of the phytic acid is found in the bran of rice.

In Sri Lanka, white rice is more in demand than brown or red rice.

In the early times the domestics were given the brown rice whilst the master and the rest of the family ate white rice.

Same applies to bread, too. People buy more white bread from the supermarkets than multigrades, or whole-meal bread. Of course, white bread is three times less in the price range and is more palatable.

Brown rice contains more phosphorus and potassium than white rice. People with kidney disease may need to limit these nutrients in their diet.

High levels of potassium in your blood can lead to heart attack.

It is better for a diabetic with kidney disease to eat white rice in preference to brown rice.

Brown rice seem to prevent weight gain unlike white rice. Those who have a weight problem, it is advisable to eat brown rice.

The round rice or the shorter grain rice is sticky and the Chinese like it because it is easier to eat with chopsticks. They are pearly white or brown

The longer grain rice is less sticky, and basmati is the best example

Basmati rice, particularly wholegrain is the best rice for type 2 diabetes. This rice has the lowest glycemic index of all rice types, which means once digested it releases its energy slowly keeping blood sugar levels more stable

Basmati rice has the greatest amount of a type known as amylose, and as a result breaking down with the enzyme amylase is much slower, slowing the digestive process which does not give rise to sugar spikes in your blood.

Both wholegrain and white Basmati rice contains a type of carb known as resistant starch. This has a prebiotic effect in the bowel and the gut microbes feed on them and produce beneficial short chain fatty acids which protects your large gut mucosa against inflammatory diseases including cancer.

You could make any white or brown rice to have resistant starch through its cooking process. According to a Sri Lankan researcher adding coconut oil to the boiling rice and cooling in the refrigerator overnight will make the starch in the rice more resistant.

This would be the ideal rice that all diabetics must eat to prevent sugar spikes in their blood.

How much rice should be eaten per day if you are a diabetic?

Brown, red or any unprocessed rice would be the best choice for diabetes.

Long grain such as Basmati has a low glycemic index and has resistant starch and would be the best choice.

Starch in white rice could be made into resistant starch through cooking process, and such rice would be a good choice for diabetes.

Quantity-wise, half a cup of cooked rice would be ideal to control blood sugar levels in the blood whether on anti-diabetic medication or not.

Fill your plate with dhal curry, and other spicy vegetable curries for satiety and feel full after a meal for self-satisfaction.

Eat plenty of veggies, pulses and nuts being low glycemic foods.

Noodles and pastas are also good substitutes for rice, as their glycemic index is much lower than rice.

Hope this video talk was useful.

Please take care and reiterating eat unprocessed foods if you are a diabetic.

Goodbye for now.


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