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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

Rice or Millets - Which is good for diabetes?


If you have diabetes, you may wonder what kind of grains you can eat without affecting your blood sugar levels. Rice and millets are two common options, but which one is better for diabetes? Let’s compare them and see.


Rice is a staple food in many cuisines, especially in Asia. It is a source of carbohydrates, protein, and some vitamins and minerals. However, rice also has a high glycemic index (GI), which means it can raise your blood sugar quickly after eating. This can be problematic for people with diabetes, who need to keep their blood sugar levels stable and avoid spikes and crashes.


Millets are a group of small-seeded grains that are widely grown and consumed in Africa and India. They come in different varieties, such as pearl, foxtail, finger, little, jowar, and kodo. Millets are also rich in carbohydrates, protein, and some vitamins and minerals. However, millets have a lower glycemic index than rice, which means they can help regulate your blood sugar levels better. Millets are also high in fiber, which can slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and prevent blood sugar spikes.


Some research has shown that millets can have beneficial effects on diabetes management. For example, one type of millet called foxtail millet can lower blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels when eaten regularly. Another study found that eating foxtail millet instead of rice at breakfast resulted in lower post-meal blood sugar levels.


Millets are also gluten-free, which makes them suitable for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Rice is also gluten-free, but some rice products may contain gluten from other ingredients or cross-contamination.


Therefore, based on the available evidence, millets seem to be a better choice than rice for people with diabetes. Millets can provide similar nutrients as rice, but with less impact on your blood sugar levels. Millets can also offer more fiber and variety to your diet.


However, this does not mean that you have to avoid rice completely if you have diabetes. You can still enjoy rice in moderation, as long as you balance it with other foods that are low in glycemic index and high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. For example, you can pair rice with beans, lentils, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or lean meats. You can also choose brown rice or basmati rice over white rice, as they have lower glycemic index values.


The bottom line is that both rice and millets can be part of a healthy diet for diabetes, but millets may have some advantages over rice in terms of glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors. You can experiment with different types of millets and find the ones that suit your taste and preference. You can also consult your doctor for more guidance on how to plan your meals and snacks according to your individual needs and goals.


Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist


Kify Hospital

Danavaipeta

Rajahmundry

Phone : 85000 23456

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