By Linda | February 29, 2012
Eat White Not Brown Rice
What? White rice is better than brown rice?
Western thinking nutritionists assess food by nutrient levels, which gives brown rice a slight edge over white. Eastern thinkers look at the net effect on the body, which makes the winner white rice.
Brown rice can lead to digestive problems including gut heaviness after eating, an undesirable damp condition, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Despite claims, brown rice is not a pillar of nutrients to begin with. There’s only one gram of fiber more in a half-cup of brown rice than in the same amount of white. There’s five times more fiber in an apple or serving of broccoli.
Neither rice provides vitamins B2 or B12. A half-cup of brown rice contains 1.5 milligrams (mg) niacin versus .25 mg for white, which may sound like a big difference, but you can get more than 13 mg in a serving of salmon or a beef patty. Brown rice has 7.8 micrograms (mcg) folate compared to 1.7 mcg for white, but you get a whopping 236 mcg in a cup of spinach, and 468 mcg in 3 ounces of chicken liver.
The dark side to brown rice is its anti-nutrients, like phytic acid, which binds with magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc so they can’t be absorbed. Any extra magnesium in brown rice becomes irrelevant.
Grains, like rice, are the seeds of grasses and have evolved a survival mechanism in their outer bran: plant toxins. Phytates, tannins, enzyme inhibitors, and lectins protect grains form grazing insects and animals by causing health and digestive problems for them, and you.
Cows and other grazers evolved rumens capable of disarming grain toxins. We, on the other hand, have one stomach that is ill equipped to break down whole grains without side effects, including bloating and other digestive problems, deficiencies, weight gain and auto-immune problems.
Traditional cultures spend days soaking, sprouting, acidifying, grinding and fermenting grains in order to neutralize grain toxins and render them digestible. Not so in the U.S. Here are ideas for treating brown rice.
Making matters worse, last month Dartmouth researchers discovered brown rice may contain alarming amounts of arsenic. Much of the nation’s rice is grown in the southern US, once a cotton-growing region regularly doused with arsenic-based pesticides. High levels of arsenic increase risk of cancer heart disease, asthma and type 2 diabetes. The extra gram of fiber in brown rice will not help you here.
White rice is far easier to digest and assimilate than other grains. Although not loaded with nutrients rice helps strengthen digestion and health. Basmati and jasmine rice are aromatic, lighter and better choices for weight loss. Avoid instant rice.
It’s very western to just judge a food by solely by fiber or vitamin content. Poison oak is high fiber too, but you don’t see this recommended for health. Learn more about the energetic properties of food before calling it a health food.