1 cup of cooked basmati rice contains about 45 grams of carbohydrates. Basmati rice is a popular long grain variety that originates from India and Pakistan. It has a distinctive flavor and aroma and tends to have a lower glycemic index than other types of rice. However, it is still a starchy, high carb food that should be eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Carb Content of Basmati Rice
The exact carb count of basmati rice can vary slightly depending on the brand, but most sources estimate around 45 grams of total carbs per 1 cup of cooked basmati rice (158 grams).
Here is a breakdown of the typical nutritional profile of 1 cup of cooked white basmati rice:
As you can see, nearly all of the calories and carbs in basmati rice come from carbohydrates. Specifically, basmati rice is almost entirely starch, which is a complex carb.
Fiber makes up a small percentage of the total carbohydrate content. The glycemic index of basmati rice ranges between 50-58, which is lower than other types of white rice. Still, it is considered a high glycemic food that can spike blood sugar levels.
Comparing Brown and White Basmati Rice
Brown basmati rice undergoes less processing and retains more of the outer bran layer. This makes it higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals compared to white basmati.
Here is a nutritional comparison of 1 cup of cooked brown basmati rice vs white basmati rice:
|Nutrient||Brown Basmati Rice||White Basmati Rice|
As you can see, brown basmati rice contains slightly more fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals than white rice. However, the total carb count per serving is nearly identical.
So in terms of carbohydrate and calorie density, there is little difference between brown and white basmati rice. The main nutritional advantage of brown rice comes from its higher fiber content.
Controlling Carbs in Basmati Rice
Here are some tips for keeping basmati rice fits into a low carb or diabetic diet:
– Measure portion sizes carefully using a measuring cup rather than estimating. Stick to 1/2 – 1 cup cooked servings.
– Rinse rice before cooking to remove excess surface starch. This can reduce the glycemic impact slightly.
– Spread rice out on a plate rather than eating it in a bowl. Visual cues help control portions.
– Mix in non-starchy vegetables like peas, carrots or cauliflower rice to add bulk and dilute the overall carb count.
– Switch to brown basmati rice for more fiber, which slows digestion and blood sugar absorption.
– Enjoy rice as part of a balanced meal with protein and healthy fats to prevent spikes in blood sugar.
– Use rice as a side dish rather than the main part of your meal. Bulk up on greens, proteins and other non-starchy vegetables first.
– Limit higher carb rice dishes like rice pudding or rice casseroles. Stick to plain basmati rice.
– Consider lower carb alternatives like cauliflower rice, riced broccoli or shirataki rice on occasion.
High Carb vs Low Carb Diet
Whether or not basmati rice fits into your diet plan depends largely on your daily carb needs and health goals:
On a standard high carb diet (50-60% of calories from carbs), basmati rice can certainly be accommodated in moderate amounts of 1-2 servings daily, along with other whole grains, starchy vegetables and fruits. This level of carbohydrate intake provides enough glucose for energy, muscle glycogen storage and central nervous system functioning.
On a low carb diet (less than 130g per day or 26% of calories), foods like rice, pasta, bread and starchy vegetables must be restricted. These high carb foods are limited to small sides or occasional treats rather than diet staples. Lower carb veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, fruits, meat, fish, eggs and healthy fats make up the bulk of calories instead.
For diabetics or those with metabolic disorders like PCOS, a moderately low carb diet with 100-150g of carbs daily from wholesome foods helps maintain steady blood sugar control. Basmati rice may be tolerated in 1/2 – 1 cup servings along with careful carb counting and portion sizing for the rest of meals and snacks.
Going very low carb or keto (25-50g per day) requires eliminating nearly all high carb foods including rice, flour products and root vegetables. Remaining carbs come from non-starchy veggies, berries and small amounts of nuts/seeds. This ultra low carb approach forces the body into ketosis for fat burning.
In summary, basmati rice can fit into higher carb, moderately low carb or diabetic diets in moderate amounts. Those adhering to very low carb or ketogenic diets should avoid rice and all other high carb foods. Work with a registered dietitian to determine the optimal carb intake for your individual nutrition needs and health status.
Glycemic Index of Basmati Rice
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly and how much a food spikes your blood sugar levels after eating. Foods are ranked on a scale of 1-100:
– Low GI = 55 or less
– Moderate GI = 56-69
– High GI = 70 or greater
Foods with a lower glycemic index cause a slower, more gradual rise in blood glucose compared to high GI foods. Basmati rice falls into the medium glycemic range with a GI of 50-58 according to the University of Sydney (1).
That puts basmati rice significantly lower than other types of white rice on the GI scale:
|Type of Rice||Glycemic Index|
|Long grain white rice||64-69|
|Short grain white rice||72-83|
The lower GI of basmati rice may be attributed to it’s high amylose content. Amylose is a type of slow digesting starch, compared to amylopectin which is more easily broken down.
Despite having a moderately low GI for rice, a 1 cup serving of cooked basmati rice still provides a substantial glycemic load. Glycemic load accounts for both the GI and quantity of carbs per serving.
For improved blood sugar control, pair basmati rice with foods that have a low glycemic impact such as non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats, and sources of protein. Spreading the carbs from rice over a meal slows digestion and leads to smaller glucose spikes.
Cooking Methods Affect Glycemic Index
How you prepare and cook basmati rice also impacts its glycemic index. Studies show some variations in GI values for basmati rice based on differences in processing and cooking:
– Parboiled basmati rice has a lower GI, around 43-50. The parboiling process partially gelatinizes the starch granules in rice before milling, making it more resistant to digestion (2).
– Refrigerating cooked rice for 12-24 hours converts some of the easily digestible starch into resistant starch through retrogradation. This slightly lowers the GI. One study found a GI of 49 for refrigerated basmati rice (3).
– Reheating previously cooked, refrigerated rice raises the GI back up to 58, by reversing the resistant starch changes (3).
– Cooked then refrigerated rice mixed with lentils (1:1 ratio) has a GI of only 39, due to the added fiber and protein (3).
– Longer soaking before cooking, 24 hours versus 4 hours, may reduce GI slightly from 58 to 47 (4).
– Overcooking makes rice more gelatinous and easier to digest, raising GI. Undercooking leads to lower GI values (1).
As you can see, preparation details can influence the glycemic response to basmati rice. In general, cooking methods that increase resistant starch or fiber content tend to lower GI.
Healthier Rice Alternatives
Although basmati rice is one of the lowest carb varieties, it is still quite high in carbohydrates. Here are some healthier low carb alternatives:
Replacing grains with riced cauliflower is a popular low carb swap. To make cauliflower rice:
1. Remove outer leaves then shred raw cauliflower florets in a food processor.
2. Saute riced cauliflower in a skillet with oil or broth until tender.
3. Season with herbs and spices as desired.
4. Use cauliflower rice anywhere you would use regular rice.
With only 5 grams of carbs per cup, cauliflower rice is an excellent high volume, low calorie substitute for white rice and other grains. It is also packed with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K and B-vitamins.
Broccoli can also be riced or chopped into rice-sized pieces. Cook just like cauliflower rice for a healthy low carb side dish. One cup of riced broccoli has 6 grams of carbohydrate.
Shirataki rice is a low carb noodle made from konjac root (glucomannan fiber). After draining and rinsing, it looks and feels like rice. Use shirataki rice in stir fries, rice bowls and more. Each serving has just 1-3 grams of carbs.
This rice alternative is made from a blend of seeds, legumes, and grains. It contains more protein and fiber than white rice. Miracle rice contains about 13-15g of net carbs per 1/2 cup serving.
Shredded raw cabbage can be quickly sauteed in oil to create cabbage rice. Add seasonings of your choice. Cabbage has just 5 grams of carbs per cup.
Pulses and Legumes
Cooked grains like quinoa, buckwheat or farro can be used as a substitute for basmati rice. Beans, lentils and chickpeas also work well and offer more plant-based protein. While carbohydrates are still moderate, these are all healthier options than white rice. Portion size is key.
Any of these lower carb alternatives can help reduce glycemic load. Mixing a portion of riced veggies or other rice substitutes with a smaller amount of basmati rice works well too. This lowers the total carb content while adding more nutrients.
Is Basmati Rice Keto?
The ketogenic diet typically limits carb intake to just 20-50g per day in order to achieve ketosis for fat burning. On keto, nearly all high carb foods including rice, grains, starchy vegetables and fruits are eliminated. These foods are too high in carbs to be included in ketogenic meal plans.
With 45g net carbs per cup, basmati rice is certainly not keto friendly. Even a 1/2 cup serving would provide too many carbs for most people following a ketogenic diet.
To stay in ketosis, low carb substitutes like cauliflower rice, riced broccoli and shirataki rice work much better than basmati rice. You may be able to squeeze in a very small 1/4 cup portion of basmati rice occasionally, but it’s preferable to avoid it altogether on keto.
One cup of cooked white or brown basmati rice contains about 45 grams total carbohydrate, with less than 1 gram of fiber and sugar.
Basmati rice is lower on the glycemic index than other types of white rice. But its high carbohydrate density still elicits a moderate glycemic response.
Eating basmati rice in moderation, along with veggies, healthy fats and lean protein can help mitigate blood sugar spikes. People following very low carb, ketogenic diets should avoid basmati rice.
To reduce carb content, mix in riced cauliflower or shirataki rice with a smaller amount of basmati rice. Or try grain-free substitutes like broccoli rice, cabbage rice or pulses.
At the end of the day, basmati rice is high in carbohydrates. Portion control is key for keeping this grain in your diet, especially if you have diabetes or metabolic disease.