Nutritionally speaking, brown rice does naturally contain more fiber and nutrients like magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, selenium, copper and potassium because white rice has been milled or processed more to remove everything but the white endosperm portion of the grain.
However, brown rice contains phytates and lectins, which bind to vitamins and minerals and prevent their absorption, which leaves us to question how much of these nutrients we are really getting anyway.
Because white rice is more processed, it’s actually easier to digest.
But won’t white rice spike your blood sugar?
If you eat a bowl of white rice alone, it surely can spike your blood sugar. By having rice as part of a balanced meal that contains vegetables, protein, and fat, this can cut the blood sugar spike in half. A great time to have rice is right after a workout when your muscles are ready to soak up the glucose from carbohydrates. My favorite combination is a bowl of white rice, stir-fry organic chicken breast, and steamed broccoli, all sautéed in a pan with some coconut aminos.
Research also has shown that brown rice can contain high levels of arsenic. Exposure to heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and cadmium in either the short term or long term can cause cancer in humans. Always wash your rice and incorporate a variety of grains to reduce your exposure.
In my most recent podcast with a pediatric dietitian, Caroline Weeks, we discussed the importance of early life nutrition and how it impacts the gut microbiome as well as more of the research around baby food and concerns about current products on the shelves today, especially those made with brown rice.
Who should choose white rice?
- Those who have poor gut health/digestion/SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
- Those who prefer white rice
Remember, everyone is different and what works for someone might not work for you. Listen to your body and remember to enjoy your food!