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Rice – should I be concerned about its sugar content?

Rice is a staple in most countries throughout the world. Convenient and easy to cook, it brings flavour and adds body to foods like curries, stir fries, risottos and even desserts. Many of us are curious about the nutritional content of rice. We may also be wondering about its carbohydrate content and whether it contains any sugar?

What are the different types of rice?

White Rice
There are many different types of white rice, which have different textures and aromas. Jasmine rice is a fragrant variety used across south East Asia and in Australia. Basmati rice is traditionally grown in India and Pakistan, and used to complement many Indian and central Asian dishes. Arborio rice is used widely in Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand.  Many flavoursome dishes like risotto and arancini use Arborio rice.

Brown Rice
Brown rice is a healthy addition to any balanced diet. It is a whole grain rice with the bran layer left intact.

Wild Rice
Wild rice is technically not rice, but actually the grain from a grass. It adds a wonderfully nutty flavour to many dishes. 

What carbohydrates are in rice?

Carbohydrates are important for overall good health, including blood glucose control, satiety, weight control and diabetes prevention and management. Many of the foods we eat contain carbohydrates, which includes both sugars and starches. Rice is a rich source of carbohydrates, providing energy to the body.

We can look at the Glycemic Index (GI) of carbohydrate sources like rice to determine which are most beneficial. The GI tells us how quickly carbohydrates are digested and raise blood glucose or blood sugar levels over time. Lower GI carbohydrates are ‘slow release’ carbs and are considered more beneficial to health. 

White rice varieties like Jasmine and Arborio have a high GI, meaning they are digested and release glucose into the blood quickly. Brown rice and wild rice have a lower GI which means they release glucose into the blood more gradually. This is because they still contain the high-fibre bran layer that takes longer to digest.

Here are the total carbohydrate and GI values of some common rice varieties. The values given below are for cooked (boiled) rice with no additions. The values have been taken from the FSANZ Australian Food Composition Database and the University of Sydney Glycemic Index database.

Rice Variety

 Total Carbohydrate (g per 100g) 

 Glycemic Index (GI) 

White Rice, boiled, no added salt

36

72

Brown Rice, boiled, no added salt

33.5

66

Wild Rice, boiled, no added salt

19.5

57

 

For more info on GI, including food comparisons, see Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load.

 

What is the sugar content of rice?

Rice is naturally low in sugar when prepared simply with no additions. Here we take a look at the latest information on the sugar content of different varieties of rice available on supermarket shelves, farmers markets and health food stores.

The values given below are for cooked (boiled) rice with no additions. Sugar content may vary depending on the way the food and meal is prepared or if other ingredients are added during preparation or cooking. Sugar values have been taken from the FSANZ Australian Food Composition Database.

Rice Variety

 Sugar (g per 100g) 

White Rice, boiled, no added salt

0

Brown Rice, boiled, no added salt

0.3

Wild Rice, boiled, no added salt

0.7

 

REFERENCES

 

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