When thinking about unhealthy and refined foods we often have one color come to mind: white. Oftentimes, these unhealthy, white foods have a healthy brown counterpart. For example, white sugar and brown sugar, white flour and whole flour, etc. While it may hold true for most foods that white is healthier than brown, rice seems to be one of the only exceptions.
The reason that many people believe that white rice is unhealthy, is because they associate white rice with other white carbohydrate foods, such as white bread that have a high glycemic index, and increase blood sugar levels. In regards to rice, though, this is simply not true. Both white and brown basmati rice have an incredibly low glycemic index.
One study, which was published by the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition discovered that brown basmati rice actually raised the blood glucose levels more than white basmati rice. As a part of the study, researchers provided 14 healthy people with 11 different forms of rice, among those were white and brown basmati rice. 6 Researchers then took measurements of each participant’s blood glucose levels to determine which type of rice belonged to the low glycemic index category (which would mean they didn’t raise blood sugar) or medium-high glycemic category (meaning they did raise blood sugar). They found that white basmati rice actually belonged in the low glycemic index category while brown basmati rice fell into the medium-high glycemic index category, proving that the color of rice does not necessarily determine how it will affect your blood sugar.
Not only does white rice not increase your blood sugar, it also contains fewer phytates than brown rice. Phytates, or phytic acid, is known as an “anti-nutrient”, as it prevents the body from absorbing necessary minerals like calcium, zinc, and iron. Although phytates will not seriously threaten your life, it has been found that that a diet high in phytates can lead to mineral deficiency.
Numerous people claim that brown rice is healthier than white rice due to brown rice containing more nutrients, however, if it prevents the absorption of various mineral and nutrients than brown rice is actually less healthy than white rice.
In conclusion, make sure that you determine what is best for you by researching the facts, and understanding what is and isn’t healthy by yourself. Oftentimes, we assume that myth based health dialect is true and miss out on truly healthy options that will benefit our overall well-being.