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Thursday, 22 September 2016 14:35

Brown Rice vs White Rice? Which should I be eating? Featured

For many, the answer is obvious, always choose brown rice. Brown rice is healthier, ‘cleaner’ and good for you, but on the other hand, white rice is not nutritious and worst of makes you gain weight right? Not quite.

The biggest difference between brown and white rice (besides the colour) is the difference in processing. Brown rice retains almost all the layers of a grain, whereas white rice has the outside layers removed, which gives it its colour. The outside layer of a grain contains many micronutrients that are removed to make white rice, including magnesium, manganese and zinc. This may suggest that brown rice is superior to white, but studies have shown that brown rice contains levels of phytate, an anti-nutrient that stops the body from absorbing these nutrients. How much of the extra micronutrients we are actually absorbing is questionable and likely negligible.

If we compare the nutrient content of brown and white rice, there are only a few small differences – brown rice contains less energy, more fibre, more protein but more fat. It must be better right?! When we really break it down, the difference between 2 equally sized cups of rice (~160g) is 12 calories, 1g of fibre, 0.3g of protein and 1.4g of fat. A nibble on a biscuit would almost give you the same nutrients.

What about Glycaemic Index? Brown rice is in fact a lower GI grain compared to white, but it does depend on which type of rice you are comparing to. On the GI scale which ranges from 0-100, where 100 is the highest score (high GI) and most easily digestible, brown rice sits about halfway at 55. Compared to rice types like jasmine (79) or short grain rice (85), brown does appear to be better. But if you’re team white rice, white basmati rice sits right next to brown at 57.

To sum it up –

1 – It is okay to eat rice as part of your diet. Not eating rice is also fine, provided you have a healthy source of carbohydrate in your diet.

2 – Let your taste buds decide. Some people prefer white, some people prefer brown, but at the core of it, the nutrients you get are very similar.

3 – Portion size is the most important. Eating one type of rice won’t make you gain more weight than the other. Eating too much rice will make you gain weight. A good guide is to use the size of your closed fist to help you portion your meal.

4 – Variety is the spice of life. Mix it up – eat brown, white, long-grain, short grain or basmati. Changing up your meals helps to keep food interesting.

Read 4289 times Last modified on Thursday, 22 September 2016 14:36