Let’s put his debate to rest, ONCE AND FOR ALL!
White rice vs. Brown rice, DING! DING!
I am positive all of you have heard reasons as to why you should avoid white rice, why brown rice is the healthier food, why you should maybe avoid rice altogether, but if you want to put on muscle eat white rice…see what I mean?! It’s conflicting and SO confusing! To help you through this maze of rice craziness, I’m going to go over the so-called “advantages and disadvantages” of the rice world.
White rice often gets a bad rap because it’s processed and has a higher glycemic index. For those of you who don’t know, glycemic index is a rating scale used to determine which foods cause low vs. high spikes in insulin. The scale goes from 0-100, with foods 55 and under labeled as low GI, 56-69 as medium GI, and 70 and above as high GI foods. The higher the score, the higher the spike in insulin (fat storage). While white rice may supposedly be higher on the scale, it’s not really. White rice scores between 50-87, while brown rice is between 43-89, so it could go both ways! Brown rice is said to be lower GI because it is a whole grain, i.e. it contains the germ and the bran. White rice only contains the endosperm, making it a processed food. The body takes extra time to process the bran layers and the germ, which can causes less of an insulin spike, but more digestive issues in some people suffering from IBS and other digestive disorders. –
Nutrients. Because brown rice is a whole grain, it also contains more fiber than white rice (found in the bran). Fiber helps you feel fuller longer and is necessary for the body, but it only contains 1.8g of fiber more than white rice. In reality if you’re eating a balanced diet, you’ll be getting your fiber from fruits and vegetables, not worrying about it in rice! One thing brown rice does trump white rice on is the mineral content. Brown rice is packed with more nutrients and minerals because it contains the whole grain. With that said, brown rice also contains antinutrients, called phytic acid. Phytic acid blocks the bodies ability to absorb minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, and calcium. It can also interrupt digestive enzymes in the stomach.
Arsenic. It is true that rice contains high amounts of arsenic and is cautioned to be eaten in moderation (Arsenic is present due to the way it is grown). Both white and brown rice contain arsenic, however brown rice actually contains 80% more arsenic because it builds up in its outer layers, which are stripped off of white rice. To combat these high levels, you can soak your rice for 3 hours before cooking, wash it thoroughly before cooking, or cook it with more water than is needed and discard the excess water. The rice with the lowest arsenic content is white basmati rice, making it the superstar of the day.
Bottomline: both types of rice have their value. If you’re eating a balanced, healthy diet and eating rice in moderation, it does not matter which rice you choose. Because of this, I usually eat the type I like the best, which happens to be the white basmati rice. I find I digest it easier and it tastes better!