Every week, it seems as though we’re being told that we absolutely should or shouldn’t eat a certain something, and it can be rather challenging to keep up with it all. One of the things that seems to stay on the safe side of the fence regardless of the fad of the week is rice, but how do you know which rice you should be eating? Is brown rice really better than white rice? What’s the big difference between them anyway?
Contrary to everything you thought you knew about the world of nutrition, white might actually be the better choice when it comes to rice. Take a look at the article and see if your mind doesn’t change the next time you’re standing in the grocery store with both types in hand, trying to decide which is the better choice.
Why Brown Rice Isn’t the Better Choice
Everything we’ve ever learned about dieting and good nutrition says that anything white must be bad for you because all of the nutrients have been taken out, right? Right. But what if I told you that that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to rice? Here’s why:
It’s Chalked Full of Phytates and Lectins
It’s not as though rice is an incredibly nutrient-rich food to begin with, but even if it were, your body wouldn’t be absorbing any of them because of all the phytates in them. Phytates are anti-nutrients that bind to minerals and prevent your body from being able to absorb them. So, while there might be a little more nutritional value to the brown, the point is moot since your body can’t absorb any of it anyway.
The Bran and Germ are Still Intact on Brown Rice
If you’re someone who suffers from digestive issues, you’re definitely going to want to pass on the brown rice; it still has the wheat and germ intact, which can lead to a whole host of digestive issues, including but not limited to leaky gut syndrome. As I mentioned before, Leaky Gut Syndrome can lead to an entire host of problems, such as allergies, autoimmune disorders, mental health issues, and more.
White rice, on the other hand, has had the bran and germ removed from it, making it an easily digestible starch and an easily absorbed glucose (which makes it absolutely perfect for a post-workout snack to help replace your glycogen levels).
There May Be Higher Levels of Arsenic in Brown Rice
Remember a few years back when everyone was freaking out about their rice consumption because of the possibility of it containing high levels of arsenic? (Don’t worry if you don’t; it’s hard to keep up with all of the fads that come and go) As it turns out, the arsenic levels in brown rice are significantly higher because the arsenic tends to be found in the bran. Some of the brown rice brands that were originally tested contained at least 50% more than the legal, safe limit per serving (and who really makes sure that they only eat one serving of rice?).
The lowest levels of arsenic in the study were found in white rice that had been imported from other countries (basmati and jasmine rice included). If you’re concerned about the arsenic levels of your rice, you can rinse it to help get rid of any that might be there.
White Rice is Gluten-free
Regardless of whether you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or you’ve just decided to cut wheat out of your diet, one thing is for sure: – You don’t realize just how much of the foods you’ve grown up eating contain gluten. Luckily, rice is one of the foods you won’t have to give up.
White rice also happens to be a healthy carb. Suppose you’ve been on a low-carb diet for the last little while and have been feeling a little irritable. In that case, your hormones could be suffering because of your diet – Have a bowl of white rice with steamed veggies and a protein-like boneless, skinless chicken breast and see how you feel afterward; chances are it’s going to be a whole lot better. (If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, substitute tofu or beans for the chicken.)
While some people might try and argue this, the fact is that white rice is just as paleo lifestyle-friendly as brown. If you’re on a paleo diet and you’ve been choking down brown rice (and suffering concurrent digestive problems because of it) because someone told you that it was the only choice, throw it out, buy your favorite white rice the next time you’re out at the grocery store, and enjoy the eating choices you make (we only get one life; we might as well love the food we get to eat while we live it).
So there you have it. The next time someone tells you that brown rice is healthier than white rice, you can tell them exactly why they’re wrong. Just remember that regardless of which rice you choose to enjoy, always eat a well-rounded diet and stay hydrated.