Rice for diabetics launched

There’s a very odd story in The Hindu. It describes the launch of a “new variety of low glycemic rice“. Low glycemic foods are digested more slowly and create less of a spike in blood sugar, and have been pushed for diabetics, weight loss and sundry other benefits. One of the nice things about basmati rice, quite apart from its wonderful fragrance and flavour, is a relatively low glycemic index (although strictly speaking it has a medium GI). The new rice is not a basmati rice.

Moolgiri pack The rice, called Moolgiri, is marketed by Taj Mahal Agro Industries, and according to independent tests does indeed have a glycemic index of 54, just in the “low” category. That could be very interesting news, especially if Moolgiri is one of the many thousands of rice varieties that just happens to have this property. But the story got murkier the more I looked into it.

For a start, it is not a variety but a trade name. A rice with its own web site! There’s all kinds of information there, but not an awful lot about what exactly makes Moolgiri special. We learn that:

Moolgiri rice is a clear blend of tradition and technology. After ten years of continuous research Tajmahal Agro industries identified suitable traditional grain and developed innovative process to achieve Moolgiri.

There’s also a lot about how it is grown, tested and so on. But you have to dig deeper to discover that the variety itself is called manisamba, and that it

undergoes a patented process to remove 70% of the starch content.

So I did a little more digging, in SINGER, and discovered that there is a rice called Pamani samba, that it was collected in India, and that there is a sample (of unknown status) in the genebank at the International Rice Research Institute. And there the trail goes cold. There seems to be no further information about this wonderful variety. No “special traits” are noted.

All of which is both satisfying and unsatisfying (rather like a meal of high GI rice?). I found the variety. But no more about it. Maybe the special patented process could do the same to any old rice? I doubt it, but you never know. And maybe there are actually rice varieties out there that would have a low GI without a special patented process. I think that’s what I had been hoping, that there existed a rice that, polished and purified, would be have a naturally low glycemic index. Alas, it ain’t so.

9 Replies to “Rice for diabetics launched”

  1. What a shame … when I saw the title, I thought this was about an indigenous knowledge story I heard from Bangladesh – a community with 2 traditional varieties, one grown, the locals said, for diabetics and the other for children and young labourers. Conventional scientific starch tests couldn’t distinguish between them; but human digestion tests showed the first had a low GI and the second a high one. No special technology to make it low GI. That’s an exciting story.

    Or there’s the sticky rice from Laos, which you can still feel in your stomach 24 hours later. I feel sure it must have a low GI, but I don’t know that anyone’s measured it.

  2. I’ve discovered that Pamani Samba was originally sent to the IRRI genebank in 1978 by A. Venketraman in Tamil Nadu AU, along with 947 other accessions in the same shipment. Of course completely different varieties can have very similar names. So “Pamani samba” and “Manisamba” are probably not the same. Incidentally, I looked up these words in a Tamil online dictionary and elsewhere and “samba” seems to be the word for a particular season of the year. You can check out what the word “mani” means for yourself. Maybe someone at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University can help us?

  3. Dear moolgiri Rice Company
    We are an Iranian company who are interested in having more information about your products specially the rices which are suitable for Diabetic patients. We would appreciate if you provide us with the condition of perchasing your rices from Iran. Please inform us regarding their price list as well.
    We are looking forward to hearing from you.

    Ferinaz Tabar
    Import Manager
    RAD Co.Ltd

    1. Dear Ferinaz Tabar,

      Thank you for your comment. We are not the company you seek. We report on things we find elsewhere, and I am glad you found our report interesting.

      The company that sells it is
      Tajmahal Agro Industries Pvt Ltd,
      33, Palanjur Road,
      Tel: +91-44-26811765
      Fax: +91-44-26810799
      E-mail: cmd@moolgiri.com

      I found that for you at the company’s website.

    2. Dear Mr. Ferinaz Tabar,

      Good Afternoon and Good Day to you,

      Kindly provide your Company Profile / Details and Contact Person in order to get to your and discuss about your requirements.

      Awaiting for your earliest reply in this regards

      With Best Wishes

      Nagaraja Gupta

  4. Dear sir,
    My husband and I live in Nigeria and we read about your rice. Please, give us names of shops or distributors where we can get MOOLGIRI rice in Nigeria. Your swift response is appreciated. Thank you sir.

  5. Hi

    I live near San Francisco in the US and I would like to know if there are any distributors in this area. I am a diabetic and this information will be useful


    Santanu Gupta

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