RICE 101: NUTRITION & HEALTH BENEFITS

RICE 101: NUTRITION & HEALTH BENEFITS

Rice is a commonly consumed part of our staple diet, and several questions come to one’s mind with the most common one being – Is rice healthy to consume? Does it induce fattening or is it weight loss friendly? So this article is to let you know everything about rice. White rice is the refined version of rice in which most of the fibre is removed, and it is a high carb food. High intake of any refined carbohydrate is directly linked to various chronic diseases and obesity.

What is Rice?

It is a cereal grain that is a staple food in many countries and comes in several varieties. Brown rice consists of the bran and the germ because of which it is rich in fibre and antioxidants. White rice is the refined version as it consists of no bran or germ. Both the germ and bran are removed to enhance cooking qualities, for prolonging shelf life and improving the taste.

Different types of rice have varied starch content that affects rice digestibility and texture. Rice high in amylose does not stick together, and sticky rice is high in amylopectin content. Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice as white rice is stripped of all its nutritional parts, it is higher in calories and contains few nutrients and fibre in comparison to brown rice.

The effect of white rice and brown rice is different for weight loss. Brown rice is linked to have weight loss effects and reduced risk of weight gain as it provides satiety upon consumption along with nutrients and fibre than white rice. However refined grains like white rice are directly linked to weight gain and obesity, but the studies regarding this claim have been very inconsistent and require more research.

Different types of rice have different kinds of effects on blood sugar levels. Sticky rice is high in amylopectin, which is high on the GI scale, therefore causes blood sugar to spike as it gets rapidly digested. Non-sticky rice is high in amylose content which is low on the GI scale, thus does not cause any spike in the blood sugar levels as it gets slowly digested. It contains more fibre and resistant starch.

Portion size is the key  Rice is not fattening, but if you increase its serving size then definitely there will be an overall increase of the calories that may lead to weight gain. Eating any food in excess can cause you to gain weight over a period, so depending on your serving size, rice can be used in a weight loss diet or can be fattening for you.

In conclusion, rice is not fattening, and when it comes to the type of rice, then brown rice is more nutritious. Also, non-sticky rice is a better option for people with blood sugar issues, and you should watch the serving size of any type or kind of rice in your diet as that is the deciding factor of it being healthy or fattening for you.

References:

Kral, T. V., Roe, L. S., & Rolls, B. J. (2004). Combined effects of energy density and portion size on energy intake in women. The American journal of clinical nutrition79(6), 962–968. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/79.6.962

Thorne, M. J., Thompson, L. U., & Jenkins, D. J. (1983). Factors affecting starch digestibility and the glycemic response with special reference to legumes. The American journal of clinical nutrition38(3), 481–488. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/38.3.481

Batres-Marquez, S. P., Jensen, H. H., & Upton, J. (2009). Rice consumption in the United States: recent evidence from food consumption surveys. Journal of the American Dietetic Association109(10), 1719–1727. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2009.07.010



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