To the annoyance of my friends and family, a sushi night out usually requires relentlessly searching the city until I find a restaurant that complies with my needs.
During these excursions I must endure the reoccurring and irate questioning: “Does it even really matter?!?!”
Well does it? I was determined to find out.
I always abide by the white is bad, brown is good rule. My understanding is that the dietary fiber in whole wheat products slows the digestion of food and lowers glucose, making it a superior choice. But if you compare the nutritional information, brown rice only has 3 grams more fiber than white.
So is that really much better?
White rice is essentially brown rice, just with more processing. To produce brown rice, millers remove only the outer husks from the grains. To make white rice, they go one step further and remove the “bran,” a nutrient rich layer. This is where the difference is made.
During processing white rice loses a ton of its nutrients like Vitamin E, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folacin, Potassium, Magnesium, and Iron. So health wise, it’s clearly better.
But diet-wise, it has the same amount of carbs. So is it really better for your waist than white?
In June researchers at Harvard found that eating white rice is linked to an increased risk of Type II diabetes, while eating brown was linked to a decreased risk. This is because white rice causes a large spike in blood glucose levels, which contributes to diabetes.
According to Science Daily, “Brown rice is superior to white rice when it comes to fiber content, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals, and it often does not generate as large an increase in blood sugar levels after a meal.”
You know what else a spike in glucose causes…your body to store carbs as fat, and to release cortisol which breaks down lean muscle mass.
Although that all sounds extreme, eating white rice in small amounts-once in a while-probably isn’t that bad. But if you’re planning on having a few, multiple times a week (like me), I would suggest sticking to brown.
And to top it all off, because brown and black rice undergo less processing, they’re also more environmentally friendly choices.
And with that, a word to my sushi sistas: Make the earth and your innards happy and respect my brown rice roll requisites!