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brown rice is low carb?

  • w

I'm trying to eat that popoular low carb high protein diet. I LOVE carbs, and I don't believe in extreme so I'm not going to cut out all carbs and just eat steaks and cheese. So recently I switched to brown rice, and I like it! If I can't cut out carbs completely, it's okay to eat brown rice and whole wheat stuff, right?

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  1. Brown rice & whole wheat are not low carb, but they are better for you than white rice & bread. As long as you have a side dish serving of rice you will be ok, just don't plan on it as the bulk of your meal. I am diabetic & rice & pasta have been two of the hardest things for me to control but I find if I use no more than a cup or a cup and a half of rice or pasta once or twice a week I'm OK. I make all of my sandwiches using whole wheat. The value in both of these is in the fiber they contain.

    1. c
      Caitlin McGrath

      Brown rice and other whole grains are not low in carbohydrates, but they are complex carbohydrates, whereas refined grains (white rice, white flour), potatoes and corn are simple carbohydrates. Grains that are simple carbohydrates convert quickly to sugar and are very low in fiber; like sugar itself (which is a simple carbohydrate), they supply quick energy boosts, but do not offer long-term fuel and can trigger cravings for more of the same. The fiber and slow breakdown of complex carbs make them better fuel and also give them their long-term health benefits (e.g., helping to prevent heart disease and stroke by keeping LDLs down and HDLs up). Grains are high in calories, though, so unchecked consumption of whole grains can still contribute to weight gain.

      The above is a simplistic explanation. You'll want to read up on nutrition if you're trying to change your diet. A first step you can do right now is to google "glycemic index" and read some literature which explains what the glycemic index is and how carbohydrates are processed by our bodies; this will help you see how and why complex carbohydrates are more healthful.

      1. More and more reliable sources now say you should eat some protein before you have the carb. The protein slows the release of insulin (or something like that). So eat some of your chicken or fish first, then have the brown rice.

        1. According to my low-carb diet book (Sugarbusters) the best rice is brown bastmati rice. It's delicious too!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Natalie

            I agree with this. I think Rick Gallop confirms it in his GI books. I am trying to get my cholesterol down, lose weight and so recently went to see a metabolic specialist doctor and he said to eat protein with each meal. Anyone else heard this?

          2. Here are the values from "Dr. Atkins Carbohydrate Gram Counter":
            ----all these values are for 1/2 C. cooked rice-----
            Brown - 20.6 grams of carbohydrate
            Arborio - 25 grams
            White - 21.9 grams
            Wild - 16 grams
            Here are the per slice values for different breads (understanding that this may vary according to brand - check the label on the bread):
            French - 13.9 grams
            Oatmeal - 12.6 grams
            Rye - 12.1 grams
            Wheat - 12.2 grams
            White - 13.4 grams
            Whole grain - 12.2 grams

            Remembering that Dr. Atkins starts out the diet with a total of 20 grams of carbohydrate a day, that's one big sock-it-to-me as far as carbohydrates are concerned. Why bother with the diet if you're going to do this to it?

            1. Actually, I'm not looking to be on a strict Adkin-like diet. I go to the gym 6 days a week, lift weights, and eat fairly healthy. I just want to loose that last 5-10 vanity pounds, and thought maybe if I just eat less refined carbs and move to brown rice and whole wheat stuff (since I can't give up carbs) it would work...so far though nothing.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Wendy Lai
                Caitlin McGrath

                Wendy, the whole grains and brown rice are better for you in general, but since you already excercise so regularly, you're not likely to lose wait until you cut back on calories, which switching to whole grains doesn't accomplish; they have just as many calories as refined stuff. Probably best to just cut back all around, so you're not depriving yourself of any food groups. If you consume any of the following, cutting them out (less than ideal, I know) will give you an overall calorie reduction: alcohol, fruit juice, regular soda, candy, sweetened breakfast cereal.

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  Actually, I don't consume any of the above products that you listed. Mostly I eat veggies, fruit, carb stuff, and some meat like chicken and fish. I know if I want to loose that few it'll probably mean cutting back on calories, but just seems impossible, I'm already on the verge of being hungry all the time.

                  1. re: Wendy Lai

                    I started using the Glycemic Index to lose weight as suggested by the book "The New Glucose Revolution" by Jennie Brand-Miller et. al. I know they have a website with GI scores on foods, but I can't find it right now. I just started subbing low GI foods for those I'd normally eat. If I want fruit, I have cherries, grapefruit, or prunes in place of bananas or higher GI stuff. I still eat cereal, but have Bran Buds or long-cooking oatmeal instead of grape nuts or cheerios. I've lost a few pounds just doing that and hope to lose a few more.

                    You can probably find the book at your library if you want to try it before you buy it.

                    1. re: Wendy Lai
                      Caitlin McGrath

                      If you're feeling hungry a lot, you probably need to eat more protein-rich foods and fewer simple carbohydrates. I believe complex carbohydrates are important to a healthy diet (and psychological well being!), but they can be high in calories per serving relative to other foods with more staying power (nuts, soy products, lean protein sources); you might want to try adjusting the proportions of what kinds of foods you're eating so you don't feel hungry but aren't adding calories to your diet.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        Have to agree with you there. I was planning on doing my favorite diet trick of going to bed hungry last night. I avoided bread and sugar and opted for roast chicken and a veggie salad with lots of edamame. I was still STUFFED when I went to bed. Must have been the soybeans.

                2. According to the food log on my palm. A cup of brown rice cooked has 50 grms of carbs.,1 gram of fat, 3 grams of fiber,and 232 calories. hope this helps

                  1. Have you tried quinoa? It works well in lots of dishes which call for rice and it's got lots of protein. WFM and TJs carry it.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: lgss

                      Quinoa's got "lots of protein"? Really?

                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        scroll down to the bottom to the chart. Quinoa has a higher protein to carb ratio than commonly used grains.

                        1. re: lgss

                          Interesting; thanks for the link!

                    2. If you're trying a moderately low-carb diet, it's fine to have some brown rice. It - as well as whole wheat etc. - still has many carbs vs. non-starchy vegetables, so modest or sparing use would fit in with that kind of diet plan.

                      Brown rice and whole wheat are not dietary magic bullets vs. white rice and white flour - they're going to have usually roughly similar calorie/carb counts but not quite that high ... however their glycemic index is lower (good thing) than the white alternatives, meaning that they don't stimulate insulin as much. Insulin in excess can promote fat storage and lead to hunger, and overall the brown vs. white alternatives are considered healthier. Similar is true of many things in their original form vs. heavily processed, such as oatmeal - the slow-cook versions vs. instant versions.

                      People trying a very low carb diet, like 30 grams of carbs a day, would probably not choose any rice or wheat products, because they can get so much more for their 'carb mileage' out of fresh, nonstarchy veggies when they're going to have carbs. But if you're talking more like 50+ carbs a day, I could see rice fitting in. Those are really moderate carb diets, if you cut out modern junky foods.