What’s Black Rice Glycemic Index and How Healthy It Is?

When choosing grains for a healthy diet, the glycemic index (GI) is an essential factor to consider. The GI measures how quickly carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels. 

White rice, a staple in many diets, has a high GI. However, there are healthier alternatives available, such as black rice. 

In this blog post, you’ll explore the glycemic index of black rice. And why it can be better for you to improve insulin resistance and manage blood sugar levels.

What is Black Rice? 

Black rice is a type of rice originating from Asia, known by several names such as forbidden rice, emperor’s rice, or purple rice. Its unique feature lies in its dark black or deep purple color, setting it apart from the more common white or brown rice varieties. Historically, black rice held great significance as it was exclusively reserved for Chinese emperors due to its rarity and remarkable nutritional profile. This exclusivity led to its name as forbidden rice.

Understanding What’s Meant By Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement scale used to assess the impact of carbohydrate-rich foods on blood sugar levels. It evaluates the rate at which carbohydrates are digested and subsequently affects the levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

Foods that have a high GI value (above 70) are rapidly digested and absorbed, leading to quick and significant increases in blood sugar levels.

Conversely, foods with a low GI value (below 55) undergo slower digestion, which causes a slow and steady glucose release into the bloodstream. This results in a more balanced impact on blood sugar levels. This positive effect of low GI foods helps with maintaining blood sugar which leads to avoiding chronic diseases like heart diseases and cancers.

What’s the Glycemic Index of Black Rice

Compared to white rice, black rice is known for its lower glycemic index. The exact GI value can vary depending on the specific variety and cooking method. On average, black rice has a glycemic index ranging from 42 to 45, placing it in the medium-to-low GI range. This means black rice consumption results in a slower and more controlled increase in blood sugar levels than white rice.

What Factors Influence the Black Rice Glycemic Index?

Here are some factors that contribute to its low GI:

Fiber content

Like brown rice, black rice is also rich in dietary fiber. Black rice’s dietary fiber slows down digestion which affects the absorption of carbohydrates in the digestive tract. 

It leads to a slower release of glucose into the main bloodstream, which means a lower glycemic response.

Anthocyanin pigments

Black rice gets its dark color from anthocyanin pigments. These are potent antioxidants. Research suggests these pigments help regulate glucose metabolism. Besides this, they improve insulin sensitivity, potentially contributing to lower glycemic response.


Black rice has various phytochemicals, including phenolic compounds and flavonoids, associated with potential health benefits. These anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds may help modulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including diabetes.

Minimal processing

Like brown rice, black rice undergoes minimal processing, preserving its outer bran layer and germ. This retains the natural fiber content and nutrients, resulting in a lower GI than highly processed white rice.

It’s worth noting that individual variations and the cooking method can also influence the glycemic response to black rice. Combining black rice with other foods that contain protein, healthy fats, and vegetables can further lower the overall glycemic load of a meal.

Is Black Rice Low Carb?

Unlike other rice varieties like red rice or brown rice, black rice isn’t low carb.100 grams of uncooked black rice has 72 grams of carbs. At the same time, 100 grams of cooked black rice has 33.3 grams of carbs. The content is higher, yet the higher fiber, nutrient density, and low glycemic index makes this rice benefit loaded.

Health Benefits of Choosing Black Rice

Opting for black rice offers several health benefits beyond its lower glycemic index. Here are some of the proven health benefits of black rice.

Rich in antioxidants

Black rice is loaded with anthocyanins, an antioxidant. These antioxidants help protect the body from oxidative stress and free radical damage, which can contribute to various chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders.

Supports heart health

Black rice also has fiber in large quantities. Therefore, it can help reducing the risk of heart disease by reducing plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein levels in the blood.

Additionally, the anthocyanins in black rice have been linked to improved heart health by reducing inflammation, preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and enhancing blood vessel function.

Blood sugar regulation

The forbidden rice’s low glycemic index and high fiber content contribute to better blood sugar control. It promotes a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing sharp spikes in blood sugar levels. This characteristic makes black rice suitable for those with diabetes or seeking to manage their blood sugar levels.

Improved digestive Health

The forbidden black rice has a high fiber content. This fiber supports healthy digestion and helps prevent constipation. It aids in regular bowel movements, promotes the growth of friendly gut bacteria, and contributes to a healthy gut microbiome.


Black rice contains essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. It provides notable iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. These nutrients are crucial for energy production, immune function, and well-being.

May detoxify liver

Black rice has amazing detoxifying properties to cleanse the liver by removing harmful toxins, primarily because of its high antioxidant content. Recent research conducted on rabbits compared the antioxidant levels in blood, liver, and aorta (a main artery) between those fed refined white rice and those fed black rice.

The findings revealed that the rabbits consuming black rice experienced lower levels of oxidative stress or damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, their blood contained higher levels of antioxidants, their livers underwent detoxification, and plaque accumulation in the arteries decreased by 50%.

Hence, phytonutrients in black rice aid in reducing inflammation. Thus, it reduces the buildup of detrimental substances that become the root cause of various health conditions.

Weight management

Black rice’s high fiber content can promote feelings of fullness and satiety, aiding in weight management and preventing overeating. Including black rice in a balanced diet can help support weight loss or maintenance goals.

Brain Health

Black rice is a great source of iron, an essential mineral for brain function. Iron helps carry oxygen to the brain, which is important for cognitive function and memory.

Good for eye health

Black rice is an excellent source of antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants play a vital role in maintaining optimal eye health. These antioxidants serve as protective agents for the eyes, guarding against harm caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation and age-related macular degeneration.

Immunity booster

Black rice is selenium-rich food. Selenium a mineral that helps boost the immune system. Selenium helps the body fight off infection and disease.

Please remember that while black rice offers potential health benefits, it should be consumed as part of a well-rounded and varied diet. Individual dietary needs and overall lifestyle factors should be considered for optimal health outcomes.

Incorporating Black Rice into Your Low-Carb and Keto Diet

Now that you understand the benefits of black rice, it’s time to explore delicious ways to incorporate it into your meals. Black rice can be used as a side dish in salads, stir-fries, grain bowls, and even in desserts. Its unique color adds visual appeal to any dish, making it an exciting addition to your culinary repertoire.

How Much Black Rice Can You Have on a Low-Carb Diet?

Low-carb diet protocol requires you to restrict your daily carbs intake to 10-25%. So, following the table, you can eat black rice keeping your daily calorie consumption in view.

Daily Diet CaloriesAllowed Carb CaloriesCooked Black Rice Consumption Allowance with 33.3 carbs per 100-gram serving
1000 50 to 100 75-187
120060 to 120 90-225
140070 to 140 105-262
150075 to 150 113-281
160080 to 160 120-300
180090 to 180 135-337
200050 to 100 150-375
2200110 to 220 165-412
2500125 to 250 187-467

NOTE: Low-carb diet experts and coaches like Dr. Berg agree that fiber-rich vegetable carbs shouldn’t be counted on.

It’s best to eat the rice following the lower limit on a low-carb diet to add some other healthy carbs to your diet as well.

How Much Black Rice Can You Have on a Keto Diet?

The Keto diet protocol requires you to restrict your daily carbs intake to 5-10%, which means you can have 5-10% carb calories of your daily dietary intake.

Here is a table to give you a clear idea of how much cooked plain rice you can eat daily when following a Keto diet.

Daily Diet CaloriesAllowed Carb Calories with 5-10% Carbs IntakeBlack Rice
1000 50 to 100 Up to 75 grams of cooked plain rice
120060 to 120 Up to 90 grams of cooked plain rice
140070 to 140 Up to 105 grams of cooked plain rice
150075 to 150 Up to 113 grams of cooked plain rice
160080 to 160 Up to 120 grams of cooked plain rice
180090 to 180 Up to 135 grams of cooked plain rice
200050 to 100 Up to 150 grams of cooked plain rice
2200110 to 220 Up to 165 grams of cooked plain rice
2500125 to 250 Up to 187 grams of cooked plain rice


I’ll advise you to maintain a lower rice intake ratio for this table so that you can also consume other low-carb foods like nuts. OR, if you like to eat rice on a Keto diet, you can skip eating other carb foods on that day, except veggies.

Besides this, when following a low-carb diet, experts and coaches like Dr. Berg favor the idea that fiber-rich vegetable carbs shouldn’t be counted on.


Choosing black rice as an alternative to white rice can be smart. You can benefit from it when aiming to manage blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, and enjoy the benefits of a nutrient-rich grain. 

With its lower glycemic index, rich antioxidant content, and versatile culinary applications, black rice is an excellent option as a healthier grain choice. You can savor its unique flavor by incorporating black rice into your diet while promoting overall well-being.

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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