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Brown Rice vs White Rice (or How ‘Bout We All Just Eat Less Rice?)

I have been interested in diet, health and wellness for as long as I can remember. I follow the subjects with great interest on the evening news, in women’s magazines, and more recently as the subject of numerous blogs and websites. It was in fact one of these blogs that caught my eye and sparked a rather vociferous reaction from me, despite the fact that I was alone in the room when I read it. This is something I do frequently you see: yell at the television, smack my fist down on the newspaper.  It doesn’t really help, but what can I say? It’s part of the passion!

I was reading a weight loss blog that was extolling the virtues of brown rice over white rice. Choose brown rice over white rice, they said, and you’ll be full longer because it’s higher in fiber. Choose brown rice over white for its vastly superior nutrition. (It’s not.) In fact, most “brown” products are not vastly superior to their white counterparts. Many of them have a gram or two more fiber than the nutritionally stripped down white version, but that doesn’t offer much in the way of increased satiety.

I can’t tell you how many times people tell me about how they’re making better food choices, and they provide examples such as brown rice sushi, whole wheat tortillas or whole wheat pasta. Okay, that’s great if those foods really rock your world. They probably are healthier choices than the white versions of the same foods. But in the context of weight loss this makes absolutely no difference! I hate to see people get so caught up in the popular “make better choices” mantra at the expense of the real truth, which is that no matter which you choose, you must consume fewer calories than you expend if you want to lose weight! If eating brown rice makes you feel more full (I’m guessing the difference is actually unnoticeable), okay I guess. But honestly, the best option is to not eat the rice! Rice, tortillas, pasta – brown or white – are poor choices compared with your other food options. Grains in general consume too much space in our traditional American diet; we could all stand to eat fewer of them. Fill that space with those complex carbohydrates that are real nutritional powerhouses – vegetables! And no, I do not count corn, peas or white potatoes as vegetables (sorry).

The reason this is important is that when we’re limiting our calorie intake we need to ensure that those calories really mean something. They should be delicious and satisfying, but they should be nutritionally substantive too. Rice is not. Skip it.

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