Is Eating White Rice Healthy For You? August 8, 2016

It is no wonder there has been this statement circulating all around – that brown rice is the healthier option. But then, is that what you too think? Do you consume white rice daily? Or is brown rice your preferred choice? According to the experts, what is the healthier option?

This post has the answers. Would you like to know them? Read on!

White Rice:

White rice is the popularly used form of rice. When the rice bran is removed, and the rice is polished, we end up with white rice. It has many benefits and contains 90% carbohydrates, with the rest 10% consisting of 8% protein and 2% fat (1).

[ Read: Health Benefits Of Matta Rice ]

Brown Rice:

Brown rice is the naturally occurring form of rice. It is not processed and contains most of the bran, which is the nutrient-rich part of this type of rice. It also contains a lower percentage of carbohydrates but has a higher percentage of fat when compared to white rice (2).

Is White Rice Healthy To Eat?

In terms of nutrients, brown rice is much better than white rice. However, can we conclude that brown rice is, in fact, healthier than white rice? Well, not just yet.

To get an objective view, we need to look at some key differences between brown and white rice.

  1. White rice is polished, and the germ and bran are removed from it, while brown rice still has the germ and the bran. The germ can go rancid quite quickly, and the higher amount of polyunsaturated fatty acid is oxidized easily, which leads to many adverse reactions in the body (3). This essentially means that all the nutrient-rich bran can lead to potentially difficult symptoms.
  2. Brown rice contains more dietary fiber than white rice. The bran is what contains the highest concentration of fiber. While this is a good addition for people who don’t eat fiber, for people who have enough fiber in the diet need to watch out. Excess fiber can lead to intestinal gas, abdominal cramps and bloating (4).
  3. Brown rice also contains several anti-nutrients, which are substances that inhibit the absorption of nutrients and drive out nutrients from muscles and tissues. So, the sword is double edged, as with brown rice you get more nutrients and more anti-nutrients as well.
  4. Usually phytic acid is the main anti-nutrient that we usually remove by soaking brown rice. However, studies conclude that phytic acid still remains in the bran even after soaking brown rice for more than 20 minutes.

[ Read: Health Benefits Of Black Rice ]

White rice has often been put down due to the high amount of starch it contains. Health-activists jump the gun while telling you that starch is quite unhealthy for the body. The keyword here is excess. Starch is quite necessary for the body, and you, like most other humans depend on starch for basic nutrition (5). As long as you aren’t eating only white rice, the starch amount shouldn’t affect your body in a drastic way.

Starch is associated with breaking glucose down, and it contributes to a rise in insulin levels, which can swiftly escalate to insulin resistance. However, we need glucose to function. Glucose that we derive from starch and carbohydrates does not lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is caused by the cells’ inability to absorb glucose (6).

The Conclusion:

Brown rice is nutrient rich and contains a lot of dietary fiber. However, the significant footprint of anti-nutrients like phytic acid, which inhibit mineral absorption, does not make it a healthier option than white rice. In fact, these properties only serve to highlight how white rice is better than brown rice. White rice does not contain the excess PUFAs; neither does it contain germs that turn rancid quickly.

So, is white rice healthy to eat? Answering the question, white rice is most definitely healthy for you. So, don’t worry and eat that bowl of white rice you have been avoiding for so long. If you use brown rice or know someone who does, tell them about this information now. Please share your thoughts and opinions here. Leave a comment below.

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