White rice has been demonized by some in the health, fitness nutritional world because of its effects on blood sugar – leading to many nutritional “experts” to recommend brown rice as a “healthy” alternative
One small problem, eating brown rice is NOT a healthy alternative to white rice. Telling people to eat brown rice because it’s lower glycemic than white rice is like telling people to at rubber because it’s lower in fat than butter. True….but there may be some additional concerns.
Yes, brown rice does have a lower glycemic load than white rice. What does this mean? It means that if you eat 1 cup of white rice, it will raise your blood sugar levels higher and faster than eating 1 cup of brown rice – That might be a good or bad thing depending on your needs, for example If you are diabetic, lower glycemic loads are probably a good thing.
Here’s the down side:
Brown rice has high levels of Arsenic…yes that Arsenic. Arsenic levels are becoming a major environmental toxin concern, and other foods do contain Arsenic as well, including white rice, but brown rice levels are scary high.
Brown rice reduces nutrient absorption – naturally occurring compounds known as phytates block nutrient absorption so even though brown rice contains more nutrients than white rice, the phytates reduce their absorption – an not just the nutrients from rice, but all the nutrients you eat in conjunction with the rice.
Brown rice doesn’t taste like white rice – enjoyment is a nutrient – the color doesn’t matter but the taste does – no one has ever confused brown rice with white rice by taste – even those who are colorblind can tell the difference.
The take away:
If you’re going to eat rice during a cheat meal and willingly incur its wrath on blood sugar – I recommend going with the white rice – it tastes better, comes with a reduced load of carcinogenic arsenic and wont block absorption of other nutrients
If you are diabetic or concerned about the effects on blood sugar, consider using Basmati rice which has a lesser effect on blood sugar or avoid the rice all together and use sweet potato or black, kidney, red, garbanzo bean which have a lower glycemic load.