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Types of Rice and their Glycemic Index (GI) 

If you’re like us, rice is a staple and an essential in most meals. It’s perfect with most dishes as a pairing main, provides satiety and satisfaction to a complete meal. Most of all, it is one of the most common sources of carbohydrate to give us the energy we need to sustain our bodies through the day. There are several types of rice in the market. They differ in size, taste, texture, nutritional content and price. This blog offers information about the types of ricethe categories they are divided into and their corresponding glycemic index (GI)

What is Glycemic Index (GI)?

Glycemic Index (GI) Levels of Food 

Foods that contain carbohydrates have a relative ranking called glycemic index (GI) level which measures the impact of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels; how quickly and much it is raised on a scale of one to 100 after consumptionIt is categorised from low to high as follows:  

  • Low: 55 
  • Medium: 56–69 
  • High: 70  

Refined carbs and food containing more sugar are typically higher in GI levels and get digested more quickly. On the other hand, foods with low GI contains higher amounts of protein, fat or fibre, which is ideal for maintaining our health. 

The GI of food is also affected by the ripeness (of fruits), cooking method, what it’s being paired with during consumption, type of sugar it contains and how it’s been processed. Read more about GI here. 

Categories of rice 
Short grain  Medium grain  Long-grain 

Japanese sushi rice 

Glutinous rice 

Brown rice 

Arborio 

Brown rice 

Jasmine rice 

Glutinous rice 

Basmati rice 

Brown rice 

Black rice 

Rice and Glycemic Index (GI) 

Types of Commonly Consumed Rice  

White long grain

Jasmine rice (aka ‘Thai fragrant rice’) 

Type: Long grain rice 

Jasmine rice has an aromatic floral profileis fluffy in texture and can be easily incorporated to a variety of Asian dishes such as fried rice, porridge and clay pot rice. It is one of the most used rice in households due to its affordability and versatility 

GI level: High 

Glutinous sticky Rice

Glutinous rice 

Type: Comes in both short and longgrains 

Glutinous rice is also known as sticky rice or sweet rice and is especially common in Thailand and Asia. Due to the lack of starch amylose, it distinguishes itself with its sticky texture when cooked. However, glutinous rice does not contain gluten. This rice is used in both sweet and savoury dishes such as mango sticky rice and steamed glutinous rice with various ingredients (Check out our Golden Lotus Wrapped Glutinous Rice recipe). 

GI level: High 

arborio rice

Arborio rice 

Type: A medium grain rice, wider in size and a differentiating white dot at the center 

The arborio rice has a higher starch content with a chewier and stickier consistency, thus giving food a creamy touch when cooked. This rice is great for dishes like risotto, rice pudding and soup. 

GI level: High moderate

Basmati long grain

Basmati rice 

Type: Long grain rice that is popular in Indian and Asian cuisine, identified by its slender and long shape 

Basmati rice has a lower glycemic index (GI) as compared to other types of white rice and is a good source of fibreWhen cooked, it turns dry, longer and separated. Ihas a unique, almost nutty aroma and is highly absorbent, allowing flavours from spices to be infused into the rice easilyGreat for dishes like pilafbiryani and to pair with curry.  

GI level: Low

Short sushi rice

Japanese sushi rice 

Type: Short grain rice, looks like a pearl 

Japanese sushi rice is loved by many for its sticky, chewy and bouncy texturewith a sweet and nutty taste. Its high starch content makes it stickier in consistency and is an ideal choice for making sushibentos and rice balls (onigiri). 

GI level: High 

Brown grain

Brown rice 

Type: Available in all three types of rice – short, medium and long-grain  

Brown rice is a wholegrain version of white rice. Brown rice is rice that is unpolished where only the hull is removed, and it has a tougher texture because its bran and germ are being kept intact, as such, it contains more nutrients its white counterpart. It also has a nuttier flavour. 

GI level: Medium

Black rice

Black rice (aka ‘forbidden rice’) 

Type: Long-grain rice, a variant of brown rice 

Black rice was also known as the ‘forbidden rice’ in ancient China as it was only for the royals due to its rich nutritional content and medicinal properties. Its deep colour comes from anthocyanins, an antioxidant found in dark purple or red fruits and vegetables. They are high in zinc, iron, fibre and vitamins such as B6 that provides the body with a variety of benefits.  

After cooking, it turns into a deep purple shadeholding a nutty caramel flavour, with a slight crunch in texture. This rice can be consumed on its own to go along with dishes. Its other common use is in local desserts like ‘pulut hitam’.  

GI level: Low

The choice of rice we consume daily, and its GI level affects our bodies in the long run as eating foods high in GI can cause rapid spikes in blood glucose level in our bodies. In time, if blood glucose levels are sustainably high, there is a higher risk of of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and various other health problems. It is beneficial to seek lower GI food alternatives to maintain a healthier blood glucose level and prevent risks of health problems.  

made with alchemy fibre

Alchemy Fibre™ for Rice helps to lower GI levels and increase fibre content 

Not everyone enjoys eating wholegrains and brown options, this is where Alchemy Fibre™ for Rice can help you eat healthier. 

Alchemy Fibre™ for Rice is a plant-based fibre blend that helps to slow down the digestion rate of white rice to that of brown rice, which means a slower glucose release, and hence lower GI. In addition, white rice cooked with Alchemy Fibre™ also contains up to 2.5x more fibre than brown rice for a healthier gut. Better yet, the white rice retains its taste and fluffy texture that most of us are familiar with. Enjoy white rice with the benefits of brown with Alchemy Fibre today.