Saturday, July 5, 2014

Brown or white rice?

Which is better for you, brown or white rice?

Our family generally eats white rice. The main reasons being that it cooks faster and it's cheaper. However, personally I prefer brown rice and have always thought it the healthier option, so I've started substituting it in our meals once a week when I have a little extra time to cook it. Quite by accident the other day I stumbled across something that said white Basmati rice is actually better for you than brown rice. What? Since the large bags of cheaper white rice that I usually buy are in fact Basmati, I had to check this out so see if I was sneaking in this one weekly meal of brown rice at extra expense and time for no reason.  

What's good about brown rice?

What I found was that brown rice is generally more nutritious than white rice because it contains the whole grain and has not had the fibre and some vitamins and minerals stripped off in the milling process. Brown rice has more fibre, protein more vitamins (particularly B vitamins) and minerals than white rice. More nutritious sounds good to me, and more fibre means that you will feel fuller quicker and so portion control should be easier.  

Why is Basmati rice so good?

However, the reason that Basmati rice is good is that it has a low GI. Most white rices have a high GI, and brown rice has a low GI, but Basmati's GI is around the same (or some sources say even lower) than brown rice. 

 So what is "GI" and why does this matter.  Well to put it simply, GI, or Glycemic index, is the measure of how fast a food is broken down by your body and the sugar or blood glucose absorbed.  High GI foods are good for after a workout to quickly replenish your body, but at other times, low GI is better as it means less insulin is required by the body and it better for long term blood glucose control.  It should also leave you feeling full for longer and help stave off those hunger pangs.     

 So overall, I think I'll still keep on with our once a week of brown rice, knowing that I'm giving our family a few extra nutrients in doing so.  It is good to know though that we're also using 'the best' of the white rices for our other meals. Also, since brown rice is more filling thanks to the fibre content, this should help me try to reduce my portion size - something I'm trying to do since my metabolism seems to be slowing down the older I get, so my eating habits are having to be adjusted accordingly - a habit I'm finding hard to change!

 Do you eat rice? - Brown or White? and is that choice for taste or health?

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