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Brown versus white rice

Transplant_DK Feb 24, 2012 10:23 AM

Did a search and was surprised the topic didn't come up, but I'm sure someone will let me know if I missed id <smile>

We have been eating brown rice for years now, thinking it is healthier. Recently, I've been hearing that may not be the case, due to toxins, much less fiber than previously thought, yada yada. I've been reading up on a health plan that outright preaches against brown rice and recommends eating white rice regularly.

What's the consensus here?

  1. raytamsgv May 11, 2012 11:57 AM

    The consensus is that there is no consensus. :-)

    1. Caroline1 Feb 26, 2012 12:53 PM

      All things given, I highly suspect that an enriched white rice has move nutrients, overall, than brown rice. The primary reason I don't cook a lot of brown rice is the cookin time, so when I want something reminiscent of brown rice and MUCH quicker cooking, I just use bulgur. Easy!

      EDIT: Look what I found! TaDAAA..!!!


      1. woodleyparkhound Feb 25, 2012 01:25 PM

        I've been using Tamaki haiga-mai rice for a few years now and prefer it to white or brown.

        Here is a blurb about it I found ...

        Tamaki “Haiga” rice is specially milled California premium short grain rice that retains the kernel’s own nutritious rice germ. “Haiga” translates into “rice germ.” The “Haiga” process of milling rice utilizes the latest in milling techniques to produce a fully milled rice kernel that retains the kernel’s rice germ. In retaining the kernel’s own rice germ, it preserves much of the Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, B6, fibre, and GABA (Gammar Amino Butyric Acid). Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects body tissue from the damage of oxidation. It is also important for proper function of nerves and muscles. Vitamin B1 helps for recovery of fatigue, improves mental attitude, aids in digestion and keep the nervous system, muscles, and heart functioning normally. Fibre assists digestion and elimination. It may be helpful in prevention or treatment of diveticulosis, diabetes and heart disease. Many clinical studies of GABA have indicated that it may help the release of human growth hormone, calming, improving sleep cycles, alleviate pain and stabilize blood pressure. Being a specialty rice it commands a greater price when compared to Kokuho Rose rice.

        I get it at H Mart for about $14 (it cost $9 not long ago).


        5 Replies
        1. re: woodleyparkhound
          mcf Feb 25, 2012 05:38 PM

          It's high in calories and has almost no fiber and nutrient value. It's rice. If you're going to eat it, do it because you like it, because the differences between them and the nutrient value are minimal no matter which you choose.

          1. re: mcf
            Mayor of Melonville Feb 25, 2012 06:17 PM

            Brown rice is high in calories, as are many foodstuffs. However, your own definition of nutrient value may differ from what others think. A standard serving has high levels of magnesium, niacin, and selenium, for example. Fiber is above 10% of the daily recommendation. Rice can be incorporated into a healthy eating plan; to demonize it for personal reasons is uncalled for. And the glycemic index has proved to be a useful tool for those concerned about blood sugar levels. I am also a diabetic, and sympathetic to the tribulations of other diabetics. My observation is to do your own research and experiment with everything that goes into your body.

            1. re: Mayor of Melonville
              mcf Feb 26, 2012 08:30 AM

              It is very low in fiber and nutrients per calorie, as compared to other foods. That makes it a bad choice for everyone concerned with optimal health, and diabetics in particular.

              I'm not "demonizing" rice, I'm scrupulously avoiding it and have reversed all my diabetic complications for over ten years as a result.

              I've done assiduous endocrine and metabolic research all this time, too, which is why I don't eat starch, and don't need any meds after many years as a diabetic, long undiagnosed.

              . Glycemic index is not useful in any reliable and predictable way for those with broken metabolisms. In fact, some foods that are quite low GI spike many diabetics like crazy and others that are high GI do little. Diabetics must eat to their meters, not someone else's personal philosophy. That will lead to an individualized and customized diet plan over time that promotes the best outcomes.

              1. re: mcf
                huiray Feb 26, 2012 09:20 AM

                Have you allowed for racial differences in metabolism?


                1. re: huiray
                  mcf Feb 26, 2012 10:31 AM

                  Of course. That's what "eat to your meter" means.

                  What happens in someone else's body in response to the same foods may be very different in other individuals.

        2. b
          bitchincook Feb 25, 2012 11:19 AM

          White rice makes my diabetic husband's blood sugar skyrocket. Brown does not. That's all the evidence I need that brown rice is more healthful, at least for diabetics and probably for everyone.

          13 Replies
          1. re: bitchincook
            mcf Feb 25, 2012 01:07 PM

            If someone is diabetic, they shouldn't be eating rice, IMO. It has nothing nutrient wise to recommend it. But using a meter to determine which foods one should choose is an excellent strategy. Your comment demonstrates why glycemic index is such a non starter, too. Only the individual's meter can bet relied on.

            I aim for foods that don't budge my meter, or that budge it less than 10-20 points at one hour post meal. YMMV.

            1. re: mcf
              huiray Feb 25, 2012 07:03 PM

              "If someone is diabetic, they shouldn't be eating rice, IMO. It has nothing nutrient wise to recommend it."
              There are a few folks - including diabetic folks - from around the world who might have a problem with that blanket statement. Oh, I dunno, maybe Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Koreans,SE Asians, Central Americans, Persians, West Indies folks, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, etc etc...

              1. re: huiray
                mcf Feb 26, 2012 08:26 AM

                I eat those cuisines regulary, and I skip the rice and the bread. Have you *seen* their diabetes prevalence rates?

                1. re: mcf
                  huiray Feb 26, 2012 09:13 AM

                  I think so. Well, rice may not be a staple to you but it is to many of those folks, whether they have diabetes or not, and *simply skipping* rice may not be doable for them or not be culturally possible or desirable for them when it is an innate and base component of the cuisine. Let's not ignore practical realities for a great deal of the world. Moderation or partial substitution might be a more practical goal or suggestion in many places.

                  Rice, after all, is the grain with the third-highest worldwide production and provides more than one-fifth of the caloric intake of all humans.

                  1. re: huiray
                    mcf Feb 26, 2012 10:29 AM

                    I'm pretty sure I'm not addressing those cultures here in this thread, nor do I think that's germaine here, where I've said to eat rice if you like to, but don't imagine that any form of rice makes a nutritional contribution to anyone's diet compared to its nutrient density. In the case of diabetics, it typically creates a problem.

                    All I'm addressing here is inaccuracy of claims that any kind of rice is a valuable source of nutrients.

                    1. re: mcf
                      huiray Feb 26, 2012 10:38 AM

                      Well, lots of folks from those cultures do live here in the USA and many do read CH - including myself. :-)

                      1. re: huiray
                        mcf Feb 26, 2012 10:49 AM

                        And they should eat to their meters, if they're diabetic. There's a common misconception that those in Asian countries who subsist on rice or starchy diets are healthy. Research reveals that's not true. I think we're going afield of what's appropriate for CH, here, so I'll leave it there.

                  2. re: mcf
                    divadmas May 11, 2012 10:06 AM

                    was just seeing some numbers. us diabetes rate 6%, diagnosed cases of diabetes among am asian has increased from 1-2% to 10%. highest rate in world is pima indians with 50% of adults.

              2. re: bitchincook
                sueatmo Feb 25, 2012 01:58 PM

                Thanks for this information. You are talking equal servings amounts, right? This is the kind of info I want to see. Thanks again.

                1. re: sueatmo
                  mcf Feb 25, 2012 05:29 PM

                  Sueatmo, that person's experience is no indication of how it would effect you. From years of sharing info with other diabetics about food spikes, there's no consistency with a particular food from person to person, except for wheat, especially, even in minute quantities. It's pretty universally terrible for bg control. Very few diabetics can eat steel cut oatmeal, but most cannot.

                  That's what meters are for; creating an individual plan that works for you. One size does not fit all. Carb restriction is the best method, but how to do it and with what is highly individual.

                2. re: bitchincook
                  paulj Feb 25, 2012 05:39 PM

                  Doesn't that just mean that he takes longer to digest brown rice?

                  1. re: paulj
                    mcf Feb 25, 2012 06:10 PM

                    No, though that's one possibility easily confirmed with hourly testing starting with the first hour post meal.

                  2. re: bitchincook
                    goodhealthgourmet Feb 25, 2012 06:46 PM

                    not necessarily. white rice is actually better than brown for anyone with fructose malabsorption issues. i learned that one the hard way.

                  3. poptart Feb 24, 2012 06:53 PM

                    Today I read this article about the findings of arsenic in brown rice and brown rice syrup; a shocker to me:

                    The study found that arsenic levels were higher in rice grown in the southeast/south central areas where cotton was grown previously (and pesticides used there with higher levels of arsenic).

                    Scary....I would love to know more about this because I love brown rice!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: poptart
                      sueatmo Feb 24, 2012 07:51 PM

                      Bur weren't the levels still quite low? Or did I mishear that?

                      1. re: sueatmo
                        poptart Feb 24, 2012 11:34 PM

                        yes; I think I may have been too focused on their findings in brown rice syrup and rice bran to be "very high". The brown rice, especially from California, seems to be less of an issue.
                        It seems like as always the "everything in moderation" rule applies.

                      2. re: poptart
                        Transplant_DK Feb 25, 2012 02:13 AM

                        And a bit more about the arsenic issue


                      3. s
                        sueatmo Feb 24, 2012 05:30 PM

                        I almost always eat brown rice, when I eat rice. But I don't see how brown rice has significantly more fiber the white, and I am just going by the nutrition label. I'm interested in hearing what other Hounds say about this. I am not worried about toxins. Why would there be more in brown than white? And what diet is this that you reference?

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: sueatmo
                          pippimac Feb 25, 2012 04:45 AM

                          sueatmo, here's a quickndirty wki paste: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_rice
                          A large proportion of any grain's nutritional and fibre value is lost when the husk, germ etc is removed.

                          1. re: pippimac
                            mcf Feb 25, 2012 06:21 AM

                            It's not as if it has much in the way of nutrient value to begin with, especially compared calorie for calorie... it's calorie dense and nutrient impoverished.

                            1. re: mcf
                              Val Feb 25, 2012 09:33 AM

                              Well, but if you look beyond the fiber factor, brown rice still has more nutrients than white rice, just saying...I think it's a decent choice for a carb though I don't eat rice every single day... black rice even better due to antioxidants, here's more for consideration:


                              Regarding toxicity for Transplant_DK, this article goes into detail...scroll down to "Individual Concerns:"


                              1. re: Val
                                mcf Feb 25, 2012 01:04 PM

                                I don't think either white or brown has enough nutrition to bother comparing. I compare starches to what's in colorful, leafy veggies or in good proteins and eat those instead. Calorie for calorie, rice is nutrient impoverished using those for comparison.

                                If you consider glycemic impact, converted rice is lowest, but none of them are worth the calories using nutrient value comparisons.

                            2. re: pippimac
                              sueatmo Feb 25, 2012 01:55 PM

                              Of course brown rice is to be preferred to white from a nutritional standpoint, but how much more nutritious can it be? It is still pretty high in carbs. 32 for brown vs 35 for a 1/4 cup raw which I think is considered a serving. And there is only one gram of fiber in that 1 serving of brown rice. So, I don't know why brown rice is actually that better than white, except for trace amounts of nutrients.

                              I perfectly understand that brown rice is less processed, and preserves more nutritive value.

                              My point is, I suspect choosing brown rice is moot. Might as well eat white. There isn't enough difference to worry about. Please enlighten me if I am wrong.

                              1. re: sueatmo
                                mcf Feb 25, 2012 02:51 PM

                                Exactly right and well put.

                          2. w
                            wyogal Feb 24, 2012 05:11 PM

                            Which diet?

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: wyogal
                              Transplant_DK Feb 25, 2012 02:10 AM


                              not saying I buy all the arguments, but have been reading about it as I've been moving away from grains.

                              1. re: Transplant_DK
                                wyogal Feb 25, 2012 06:07 AM

                                Interesting. Especially when "Buy the book" comes before "about us" on their tool bar.

                                1. re: wyogal
                                  goodhealthgourmet Feb 25, 2012 06:40 PM

                                  of course it does...because they're hoping to get your money before you discover you've just foolishly paid for arbitrary "nutrition" advice from an astrophysicist & a molecular biologist.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                    wyogal Feb 25, 2012 06:43 PM

                                    yep. rather suspect.

                            2. mrbigshotno.1 Feb 24, 2012 02:04 PM

                              Bull Ca Ca, Leftover brown rice just spoils faster than leftover white rice, thats all.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                                pippimac Feb 24, 2012 02:17 PM

                                As far as I know, it IS healthier!
                                Anything that has the fibre removed (thing white flour) is less nutricious.
                                Refined stuff also has really minimal fibre, which fills us up and maintains a healthy gut

                                1. re: pippimac
                                  mrbigshotno.1 Feb 24, 2012 04:56 PM


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