White Rice vs. Brown Rice

Rice is a staple in the diet of those who are training, dieting, competing, or just trying to eat healthier. Most people who prepare their meals will add this instead of any other carbohydrate. Between white rice and brown, many tend to go with brown rice because they think it’s healthier for you than white. But, the answer isn’t so brown and white. 

Carbs Aren’t the Enemy

Not all carbohydrates are the same. There’s many foods that contain carbohydrates but have different health effects. The difference between these are “whole” carbs and “refined” carbs. A good way to remember the difference is that whole carbs are unprocessed and contain all their natural fibers. Refined carbs are processed and all their natural fibers are removed or altered. 

Here’s some examples of whole carbs are: 

  • Quinoa
  • Legumes
  • Potatoes
  • Vegetables

Some examples of refined carbs are: 

  • White bread
  • Pastries
  • Anything that includes white flour

Refined carbohydrates lack essential nutrients, which leads to them being referred to as “empty” calories. Most are pumped with added sugars that lead to higher blood sugar levels that leads to a crash later in the day. Also, instead of leaving you feeling full, they tend to make you feel hungry and have food cravings. 

Whole carbohydrates don’t have the same side effects. They are loaded with nutrients, fiber, and don’t cause a rollercoaster of your blood sugar levels. Eating them actually improves your metabolic health and helps lower the risk of disease. However, it’s important to note that not all refined carbs are bad for you

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White Rice

White rice has been processed, making it a refined carbohydrate. This means that it’s had the bran and germ removed. Although this is typically seen as bad, it isn’t. This is because it’s low in saturated fats, gluten free, sugar free, and cholesterol free. It’s cheap, widely available, and most people can eat it. It also contains magnesium, selenium, iron, and vitamin B. So, it’s not the “empty” carb that most refined carbohydrates are viewed as. 

For people who exercise regularly, especially those who are strength training, white rice is a great addition to your diet. It ranks high on the glycemic index, which helps with energy recovery and replenishes glycogen levels in muscles. When we work out we store glycogen in the muscles and it’s the first energy source our body uses to fuel or workouts. Having something like white rice after your workout replenishes the glycogen fast aiding in muscle recovery. It’s a lot easier to digest, making it ideal for your pre or post-workout meal. 

Brown Rice

Unlike white rice, brown rice isn’t processed, making it a whole carbohydrate. It still contains its bran and germ. The main difference between white and brown rice is that it still has phytic acid. This acid being left on the grain can cause stomach problems, nutrient blockages, and cause allergic reactions. 

Even with these negative effects, brown rice is still backed with nutrients and fiber. So, if you live a sedentary lifestyle, it should be the carbohydrate of choice in your diet. These nutrients are needed, especially when you’re not exercising whereas white rice is needed for helping athletes recover after a workout. 

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Common Misconceptions

There’s quite a few common misconceptions about rice. When starting a new diet plan, it’s important to know the truth behind the carb. 

Does Rice Have Gluten

While you may think it has gluten because it’s a grain, it actually does not. This goes for all forms of rice, brown and white. This makes it a great option for adding carbohydrates into your diet, especially if you have celiac disease. 

It Makes You Fat

Now, anything can make you fat in excess quantities, but rice is fairly healthy. When prepared and consumed properly, rice can help you on your journey to weight loss. Just make sure you are tracking your calories. 

It is Hard to Digest 

This can be true for brown rice, as the bran and germ are hard to digest, especially for those who have stomach problems. However, white rice is far easier to digest because it’s had the bran and germ removed. 

It is an Empty Carbohydrate

Rice contains many essential nutrients. It contains carbohydrates, fiber, and some protein. So, when you’re eating it, you’re always getting something out of it. 

It is Hard to Work With

While brown rice takes a little longer to cook than white, they’re both easy to cook. They can also be paired with almost any meat or vegetable and have a long shelf life. This makes it an ideal carb to always have on hand. 

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Overall, brown rice is healthier for people who don’t normally exercise or for people who don’t plan on exercising after eating. The phytic acid makes brown rice harder to digest than white. Athletes and lifters also opt for white rice over brown because of the digestibility. This makes it much easier to eat after a workout. However, this digestibility does come with a drop in nutritional value.

Now you have a good grasp on the difference between brown and white rice. If you’re still having trouble meeting your fitness goals, speak with a personal trainer. They will be able to help you create a diet plan that works for you and help pick which type is best for you. 

Revival Fitness, the best personal trainer in RI, is able to help you meet all of your fitness goals. Contact us today to create a diet plan that best suits your needs.