Written by Elizabeth Boham, MD
5 Reasons Brown Rice is Better Than White

5 Reasons Brown Rice is Better Than White

Brown rice or white?  Everyone who has been to a Chinese restaurant has been asked this question.  Next time you are faced with this decision, be sure to consider these 5 reasons to choose brown..

  1. Processing – When white rice is made, the hull, or outer coating of the natural brown rice, is removed.  When the hull is discarded, so are many important vitamins, minerals, and fibers.  As a result, the brown rice, which has lots of nutritional benefits,  is stripped down to a processed food with zero nutritional value.
  2. Magnesium – Brown rice is rich in magnesium.  68% of the US population is not meeting the dietary reference intake for magnesium, which is missing from many processed foods, including white rice.  Magnesium is necessary for the muscles and body to relax.  People who are deficient in magnesium have more muscle cramps, headaches, and heart palpitations, and a higher risk of asthma, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.  When you eat white rice, you take in the calories without getting any of the magnesium and its wonderful benefits.
  3. Fiber  – Brown rice is a high fiber food and white rice is not.  This is a concern for many reasons.  The fiber in brown rice slows the digestion and absorption of your food, resulting in a more steady blood sugar response.  As a result, we feel full longer and do not get the spike in insulin that can lead to weight gain.  Fiber also feeds the good bacteria throughout our digestive tract.  We are learning more and more about how important our microbiota is for digestion, disease prevention, metabolism, and weight maintenance.  
  4. Nutritional value – Brown rice is high in magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamin K, niacin, and thiamin.  All of these nutrients are removed in the processing and production of white rice.  Niacin and thiamin are sprayed on enriched white rice, but the other important nutrients are not.  These are necessary for many cellular functions in our body.  Calcium is important for healthy bones.  Zinc and vitamin K are critical for proper functioning of the immune system, which helps you get sick less frequently.  Vitamin K also aids many important processes in the body including blood clotting and proper bone formation.
  5. Weight – Because white rice is highly processed, the carbohydrates it contains are absorbed very quickly.  This causes blood sugar to rise quickly as well, and our body responds by producing a large amount of insulin to lower the blood sugar.  All of this impacts our metabolism and hunger in a different way than brown rice, causing unhealthy weight gain.  White rice has little nutritional value, so eating it just adds empty calories to your diet.  Many people throughout the world are eating more and more processed foods like white rice that contain empty calories.  As a result, there is a rising population of people who are actually nutritionally deficient but also overweight or obese. Obesity is the new face of malnutrition and it is a huge problem.

To make sure that you are not consuming empty calories that lead to weight gain, always choose brown rice over white!

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