Many ethnic food cultures have rice as a main staple in their cuisine. And the question of: Which is Best White or Brown Rice – often comes up in the minds of many ethnic foods lovers.
Rice is cultivated all over the world, and is naturally grown in rice paddies like this image on the left. And “natural” rice is usually some shade of brown in color. But over the past several decades, “white” foods, such as white bread, potatoes, pasta, etc., have taken a bad rap. When asked the question about being the healthiest for you: Which is Best – White or Brown Rice? – most “health conscious” cooks will automatically respond with “brown”.
But is this really the case? I have had conversations with other cooking enthusiasts, chefs, and nutritionists, whose opinions I respect, and discovered that the “Little White Lie” about which is healthier for you – white “processed” foods, or the brown, marketed as “natural” foods, are best.
So I did some digging and research of my own on this, and came up with the following conclusions to help you decide:
Which is Best White or Brown Rice
The truth of the situation is, at sometime in recent history, a misleading consensus started, that white rice (and other “white” foods) are bad for you, and that brown rice is better, healthier for you. How this myth started, is not clear. But it is a myth, and it is, with a little looking into, totally unfounded. The following is a list of some of the more common claims against white rice (and other “white” foods) and the repudiations discovered upon some investigation.
The Facts of the Matter: While it is true that foods that are less processed contain more nutrients, again, there are other considerations to take into account here. The unprocessed components of brown-rice grains contain both nutrients that are good for us to eat, and some anti-nutrients that the plant uses as a defense system against pests.
Also, the bran in brown rice contains arsenic. The processing of brown rice into white rice, (which removes arsenic, that is located in the bran, and bran is what makes rice “brown”) eliminates the arsenic.
Additionally, the removal of the bran, in the process of turning brown rice into white, removes the phytic acid contained in the bran. If you are fighting or wanting to ward off against tooth decay, keeping phytic acid (which serves to cause tooth decay) out of your diet is important.
Myth #4: White rice is devoid of any calories that are of use to your body.
The Facts of the Matter: Oh come on. Rice has been a staple diet ingredient in so many cultures the world over, for millennia. And those cultures have thrived. For thousands of years, in Buddhist temples, only white rice is traditionally served, and those monks are among the healthiest groups of people on the planet.
Taken by itself and exclusively, certainly a diet of just rice – whether brown or white – is not a well rounded, balanced diet that will produce optimum health and longevity. Rice, whether brown or white, is meant to be a “diluting” and “augmenting” element in any diet. You eat it along with other foods. What you eat with the rice is what makes the question: Which is better – White or Brown Rice? – relevant.
Again, brown, unprocessed rice, by itself, and if eaten only by itself, might prove to be a healthier choice than processed white rice. But also, again, you have to take into consideration the above admonitions: The bran in unprocessed brown rice contains arsenic and phytic acid. Here are a few facts to put the caloric content of white versus brown rice into perspective:
- 1 cup of cooked white rice contains 205 calories. The same 1 cup of cooked brown rice has 216 calories.
- 1 cup of white rice has ZERO fat – the same cup of brown rice contains 2 grams of fat.
- The amount of carbohydrates in brown and white rice is exactly the same.
- The amount of protein in 1 cup of cooked white rice is 4 grams. Brown rice gives you just one more, 5 grams.
So now here’s my answer to the question: Which is best White or Brown Rice?
You know what? It is really up to you. Eating white rice or brown rice is a matter of personal and dietary preferences. Taken properly, they are both equally healthy for you.
Chow, Y’all, enjoy eating rice whether brown or white, and please feel free to leave a comment. Which do you prefer? And why?
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