faq glutinous rice, gluten and glycemic index

black rice is gluten free, glycemic index is low

written by Alex Cochez MD
June 2021.
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glutinous rice

Glutinous is synonym for sticky or sweet rice.

The difference with non-glutinous rice, like our heirloom black rice, is the way carbs are stored (starch). Sticky rice is high in amylopectin, a very branched chain of carb molecules, whereas non-sticky varieties are high in amylose. The latter connects carbs in serie, straight and unbranched, with the advantage its resistance to digestion. In the intestine these carbs mostly will be fermented (and act probiotic).

The high levels of branched amylopectin in sticky rice result in a quick breakup once boiled in water.

all rice is gluten free

Gluten is a protein mixture found in rye, wheat and barley and makes dough rise.

Rice contains no gluten and fits anyone with gluten allergy or sensitivity such as celiac disease.


Black rice is partially milled: only the outer, inedible layer is removed (='husked' rice). Therefore, black rice is a WHOLEGRAIN with all nutrient-dense parts of the grain kernel preserved.

glycemic index below 50

Diabetes is not my medical specialty, I'm a physician with a background in emergency medicine but I try to educate myself more in this direction. In the end, if you are a diabetic, it's your call, you decide what's best for your health.

That said, most black non-sticky rice varieties have a glycemic index just below 50 (due to amylose and high fiber content).

That's a low-moderate GI and therefore, yes, a rather safe choice for someone with a fairly well controlled DM type 2.

Note that GI can only be measured in a clinical setting, so this is the one single test that we cannot do ourselves, but scientific papers about Thai black rice have consistently shown values under 50.

Due to its high levels of amylopectin, I can't recommend glutinous rice to diabetic patients.