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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

Chapati or Rice? Which is good for diabetes?

If you have diabetes, you may wonder what kind of foods you can eat to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Two common staples in Indian cuisine are chapati and rice, but are they good for your diabetes diet? The answer depends on several factors, such as the type, quantity, and preparation of these foods, as well as your individual health condition and goals. Here are some points to consider when choosing between chapati and rice for your diabetes meal plan.

What is the Glycemic Index?

One way to compare different foods that contain carbohydrates is to look at their glycemic index (GI), which is a measure of how quickly they raise your blood sugar after eating them. Foods with a high GI (70 or more) cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, which can be harmful for people with diabetes. Foods with a low GI (55 or less) have a slower and smaller effect on blood sugar, which can help prevent or manage diabetes complications. Foods with a medium GI (56 to 69) have a moderate impact on blood sugar.

The GI of chapati and rice depends on several factors, such as the type of grain, the degree of processing, the cooking method, and the presence of other foods in the meal. In general, whole grains have a lower GI than refined grains, because they contain more fiber and nutrients that slow down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. Cooking methods that increase the water content or break down the starch structure of grains can increase their GI. Eating foods that contain protein, fat, or fiber along with grains can lower their GI by slowing down the digestion process.

What is the Nutritional Value of Chapati and Rice?

Another way to compare different foods is to look at their nutritional value, which includes the amount and quality of calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they provide. Chapati and rice are both sources of carbohydrates, which provide energy for your body. However, they differ in their nutritional value depending on the type of grain and the way they are prepared.

Chapati is usually made from whole wheat flour, which has more fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins than refined wheat flour. Chapati also has less fat and sodium than bread made from refined wheat flour. However, chapati can vary in its nutritional value depending on the amount and type of oil or ghee used to cook it, as well as the size and thickness of each piece.

Rice is usually either white or brown, depending on how much of the outer layer (bran) and germ are removed during milling. Brown rice has more fiber, protein, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and B vitamins than white rice. Brown rice also has a lower GI than white rice. However, rice can vary in its nutritional value depending on the variety (such as basmati or jasmine), the cooking method (such as boiling or steaming), and the amount of water used to cook it.

What are the Benefits and Risks of Chapati and Rice for Diabetics?

Both chapati and rice can be part of a healthy diabetes diet if eaten in moderation and balanced with other foods that provide protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some benefits of eating chapati and rice for diabetics are:

  • They can provide energy and satisfy your appetite.

  • They can help regulate your bowel movements and prevent constipation.

  • They can help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.

  • They can provide some antioxidants that protect your cells from damage.

Some risks of eating chapati and rice for diabetics are:

  • They can raise your blood sugar levels if eaten in large amounts or without other foods that lower their GI.

  • They can increase your calorie intake if eaten in large portions or with added oil or ghee.

  • They can cause weight gain if eaten more than your body needs.

  • They can lack some nutrients that are important for your health if eaten as the main source of carbohydrates in your diet.

How to Choose Between Chapati and Rice for Your Diabetes Diet?

There is no definitive answer to which is better for a diabetic: chapati or rice. The best choice depends on your individual preferences, health condition, goals, and lifestyle. However, here are some general tips to help you make an informed decision:

  • Choose whole wheat chapati over refined wheat chapati.

  • Choose brown rice over white rice.

  • Limit your portion size to one or two pieces of chapati or half a cup of cooked rice per meal.

  • Eat chapati or rice with foods that lower their GI, such as lean protein (such as chicken or fish), healthy fat (such as nuts or seeds), or non-starchy vegetables (such as spinach or broccoli).

  • Monitor your blood sugar levels before and after eating chapati or rice to see how they affect you.

  • Consult your doctor for personalized advice on how much and how often you can eat chapati or rice for your diabetes diet.

  • Experiment with different types and varieties of chapati or rice to find the ones that suit your taste and health needs.

  • Enjoy chapati or rice as part of a balanced and varied diet that includes other nutritious foods from all food groups.

Chapati and rice are both delicious and versatile foods that can be enjoyed by people with diabetes. By following these tips, you can make the best choice for yourself and enjoy the benefits of these foods without compromising your blood sugar control. Bon appetit!

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

Internal Medicine Specialist

Kify Hospital



Phone : 85000 23456


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