Does Minute Rice have any nutritional value? This brand may be convenient but it's hard to call it healthy. Does it have antioxidants? Hardly. According to this test its value ranks near the very bottom of our table which contains hundreds of different foods. In fact, even Burger King chicken nuggets have more and trust us, that's not meant to be a compliment!
Though it wouldn't be fair to only pick on Minute Rice brand of instant rice. The truth is that all of them, especially the white rices, are equally unhealthy for you regardless of which brand or manufacturer they come from.
Antioxidants - All forms of white rice are a poor source of these. But guess what? Brown rice isn't much better either. The only rice which has a high amount is black and red rice.
Glycemic Index - By far this is the #1 reason why instant white rice is extremely bad for you, at least in our opinion. In order to make it cook so quickly, the processing techniques used to accomplish it also lead to it having a higher Glycemic Index. On average, white varieties (even the non-instant) have a GI of 89 (1). How bad is that? To put it in perspective, ice cream is 57. Sponge cake is 46. Coca Cola is 63. A fruit roll-up is slightly worse at 99, but everyone would agree that's not what you want your food to be compared to. This high GI is terrible for diabetics as well as everyone else, because blood sugar spikes are not ideal for anyone.
Nutritional Value - In all fairness this food is not high calorie and it's actually rather filling considering that you can eat about 1 cup of it cooked, loosely packed, for only around 200 calories. But that is almost the only benefit it has going. Sure that same serving size does have around 4 grams of protein but that's nothing to write home about. Aside from that, there are almost no vitamins or minerals. What there is a lot of though is carbs, arguably too many. 45 grams in that 1 cup. This wouldn't be a problem if it were packed with more fiber to slow the digestion of them but it has hardly any; 1.2 grams or 4% of your daily value.
Taking all these things into consideration, is instant white rice bad for you? In our opinion, the answer to that question is a resounding yes! It's definitely not the worst thing you could be eating, but there are plenty of better options like slow cooked brown rice or quinoa, both of which are better for diabetes because their Glycemic Index is in the 50's.
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't: Carlsen MH, Halvorsen BL, Holte K, et al. Nutrition Journal NIH Jan 2010