The Healthy Eater’s Guide to Rice


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re White Rice Eaters Nutritional Cavemen?

You’ve probably experienced it. You go out to a sushi restaurant with a bunch of friends and the chef comes over to take everyone’s order. Then one member of your party, probably “Zinnia” or something – who invariably smells of patchouli and who braids and beads her armpit hair and is always waxing nostalgic over the Lilith Fair concerts – asks that her spicy tuna cut roll be made with brown rice instead of white.

She says it nice enough, but you can detect a tiny bit of snobbery in her dietary request, and you can sense that the chef briefly thinks about sprinkling a little poisonous Fugu into her cut roll, but he doesn’t really do that kind of stuff – at least not since he retired from the Yakuza. No doubt about it, Zinnia thinks the rest of you are nutritional cavemen, not fit to carry her recyclable Whole Foods canvas tote.

But Zinnia is wrong. There’s nothing nutritionally wrong with white rice 8 and, in fact, it’s much better, health-wise than brown, especially when you buy certain types and prepare it a certain way.

Before we get to types and preparation, though, let’s dispose of this brown-rice superiority myth.

Brown Rice Vs. White Rice – Glycemic Index

Brown rice is absorbed much more slowly (because of the fiber) and, as such, doesn’t cause as much of an insulin release. A recently released study out of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston documented 10,507 cases of type 2 diabetes and concluded that people who ate a lot of white rice (5 servings a week) had a 17% higher risk of getting the disease than those who only ate it once a week.

Maybe, but I’d love to see how these women ate their rice. The thing is, hardly anybody eats white rice by itself… unless maybe they’re on the Bataan Death March and it’s all they’ve been given by their cruel captors. Instead, they eat their rice with meat, vegetables, and oils or fats that slow the digestion rate of the rice and thus lead to smaller and more sustained releases of insulin.


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