The difference between brown rice and white rice in the health arena can be as heated a debate as Paleo vs Vegetarian. But is white rice all that bad and is brown rice really better? Today we are going to take a deeper look at the two to see what we can uncover.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BROWN RICE AND WHITE RICE
As you can see in the image above, the initial differences are not all that apparent. Both have relatively the same amount of calories so you won’t be building too much of a deficit there. Carbohydrates are a little different which can result in an energy difference depending on where you are in energy expenditure or fitness. So if you are trying to cut weight, brown rice has a little advantage here. Also there is a good jump in fiber content with the brown rice, lets see how that impacts our health.
WHY IS FIBER IMPORTANT?
We have all heard that fiber is good for our health, but do you know the reasons why? First, Fiber can be found in a number of sources and is best known for moving waste through our system after our bodies have digested nutrients from our food. Fiber cannot be digested unlike other parts of our diet, it cannot be broken down. As it passes through our system it remains intact. However, with a high fiber diet comes the benefits of:
- Lower Cholesterol levels
- Normalizes and maintains healthy bowels
- Controls blood sugar levels
- Assists in achieving and keeping a healthy weight
- reduces risk of polyps, kidney stones, stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke
- Increases skin health
- Alleviates Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Fats are a little more with brown rice but not all too concerning. The only spike to keep note of is the saturated fat difference and again that is minimal at best.
Here is where we can note a substantial difference between the two. As you can see there is marginal change with nutrients such as iron, but the big difference is magnesium.
WHY IS MAGNESIUM IMPORTANT?
This is a question that many of us should address as the majority of health problems link to a deficiency in this mineral. To highlight this fact we should note that magnesium is key to nearly every function and tissue in the body. From keeping our hearts healthy, to reducing inflammation that can result in cancer. Harvard University even did a study that uncovered that a high daily intake of magnesium resulted in a 33 percent reduction in the risk of developing diabetes. The average adult can only account for 66% of their daily value for magnesium. When 300 chemical reactions in the human body rely on this mineral its a good idea to keep it in steady supply. Toxicity for intake of magnesium is very low, only in cases like kidney disease can intake become an issue. Some of the other benefits include:
- Maintaining bone integrity
- Assisting in our cells energy production
- Keeping balance in our nervous system
- Assists in controlling blood sugar
- Promotes better bowel function
- Relaxation of blood vessels
- Treatment of Fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease, migraine
- Beneficial to aging process
- activates nerves and muscles
- Helps digest proteins, fats, carbs
- Building block to RNA and DNA syntheses
- Precursor to Neurotransmitters like serotonin
In conclusion brown rice looks to be the better option. But is white rice really that bad? If so does that create a Japanese paradox as many in the region consume white rice? Well, lets first note that white rice is brown rice that has been processed or “milled”. Meaning it has been stripped of certain nutrients. This looks bad on paper but in some ways its not always the case. There are some negative nutrients such as phytic acid which can be bad for things like your teeth. In the end i think that rice in general should be in moderation and eating white rice won’t kill you so much as limit nutrients, good and bad. If you use the logic of Japanese culture eating white rice and not becoming overweight or disease stricken as a culture, remember that they also consume a lot of leafy vegetables.
I hope you found this article on Brown Rice vs White Rice – Which is better for you and why? helpful.
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