GRAIN OF TRUTH

Can switching from white rice to brown rice give you a higher nutritional punch and keep the extra kilos at bay? Read on to know.

Whether it is brown or white both serve as a staple food for many, but they have a different nutritional value. The white one definitely tastes better than its brown sibling, which is why it makes way to people’s plate more often than its brown sibling. However, when it comes to which one is packed with more health benefits, then as per the several researches the latter scores high. But before we draw a conclusion on which is healthier here’re a few points to compare.

– White rice is a processed form of brown rice, without the fibrous bran and nutritious germ. Hence making the other one more nutritious.

– When it comes to the nutrient content, brown rice takes over white rice. While both have high levels of carbs and fiber, 1 cup of brown rice gives 4 grams of fiber and 46 grams of carbohydrates. The same quantity of white rice gives 1 gram of fiber and 53 grams of carbohydrates. Former is richer in other nutrients as well like magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6, iron and zinc.

– Coming to the calorie content, as per research 1 cup of brown rice has 218 calories while 1 cup of white rice provides 242 calories. Hence not much of difference in your calorie intake is made.

– Glycemic index is something that a diabetic person would want to know; higher it is higher it will take the blood sugar levels. The average glycemic index for brown rice is 50 and that for its refined variant is 89. Delhi-based nutritionist, Kavita Devgan says, “But this may not be a point where either one wins as rice is rarely eaten alone, and though brown rice has lesser GI, pairing of white rice with other foods reduces the GI impact. Besides as with any other food, portion size is obviously important.”

– One area where white rice has advantage over brown rice is that the latter contains anti-nutrients like phytic acid and arsenic. The acid is believed to reduce body’s ability to digest zinc and iron from your diet. And high arsenic is something you would find more in whole grains. The toxic chemical is naturally present in the environment. But this might not be a problem if you consume the staple in moderation. Devgan adds, “Basmati rice has the least arsenic content so one can go with that as well.”

To sum up we would say that you can have brown rice twice or thrice a week for the nutrition benefit, but having it as a replacement for your daily white staple may not be that great an idea. Looking at the calorie content and GI index of whole grain rice you can clearly say that it doesn’t play much role in keeping you slim or healthy, and is not-so-tasty either. So I’m for sure sticking to my white grain.

Experts consulted: Nutritionists, Kavita Devgan and Richa Bhatnagar.

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