White Rice vs. Brown Rice. Which is Better?


The internet is a cesspool of mis-information, pseudo science, and holistic lifestyle coaches that have read Wheat Belly and Grain Brain, and therefore are now qualified to dish out nutritional advice in line with their personal philosophy.

Grains? Forget it.

Legumes? No way.

Nightshades? Only if you want leaky gut syndrome.

And if you think it’s ok to eat wheat in any capacity, why don’t you just go kill yourself instead? It would be faster and cause less long term suffering for polar bears.

It’s become super hip to demonize certain foods, and lump things into categories of “clean” vs. “dirty”. This can be based on certain dietary plans, the Glycemic Index, or Keanu Reeves movies.

I’ve made my own list of items I deem clean and dirty. Follow this exactly, and you’re going to have hyugge gunz, a 14 inch wang, and you’ll live the life your dreams while your rivals fade into relative obscurity.

All this to say that many people demonize white rice, and extol the benefits of brown rice.

What’s the reasoning behind this, and are they right?

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As a caveat, this debate falls into the category of “Majoring in the Minors”. Focusing on myopic bullshit like this does more harm than good in the long run, and causes more people to get sidelined instead of accomplishing their goals. If you want to look pretty good, feel better, and have more energy, stop zeroing in on tiny details and focus on the big picture.

If you want to be a big freaky beast with a 6 pack and a 4.3 40 time, feel free to dial in all the minute aspects of training and nutrition.
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White rice and brown rice both fall into the common category of: RICE.

White rice is brown rice that has had the husk polished off, which removes certain nutrients and fiber, which causes many people to be outraged at the lack of nutrition while sipping their 2nd venti vanilla soy latte.

This lack of nutrition is often compensated for by “enriching” the white rice, by adding nutrients back in. The benefit of the enrichment process is debatable, so I won’t even talk about it.

White rice haters most often comment on two things: the lack of vitamins and minerals, and the fact that it’s a “fast digesting” carbohydrate.

Both of these complaints are totally valid and founded in science. Here’s why it doesn’t fucking matter.

Nutritional Profile:

As you can see, the difference in caloric content and micro-nutrients is minimal. Brown rice isn’t a super-food, and you’ll likely not derive the majority of your vitamins and minerals from a single serving.

Fast vs. Slow Digesting:

The biggest argument here is that slower digesting foods with a higher fiber content will break down slower, and be released into your blood stream slower, causing less of an insulin spike, and maintaining blood sugar levels. This is true, and important to keep in mind if blood sugar levels are a concern. If you’re diabetic, you may want to stay with brown rice.

Most of the time in America, we aren’t eating a big bowl of rice and calling it a night. It’s often combined with various meats, beans, vegetables, peanut butter, etc. This is due to the fact that rice is pretty delicious when used in conjunction with other foods.

What most fast carb haters won’t tell you is that when you combine a fast digesting food with proteins, fats, or additional fibers, you slow the digestion of the whole meal. Think about eating a Chipotle burrito bowl. Sure you have rice, but also beans, meat, salsa and cheese. (And if you’re ballin’ out, guac)

It’s not like your body is going to separate all of the foods into different compartments and then give your liver the middle finger and a big insulin dump while saving all the delicious chicken and steak to digest later. It’s all in a big tasty mess in your stomach. This is why we chew our food.

Brown Rice. The Dark Side

Brown rice still has a delightful fiborous husk that slows digestion and allegedly keeps you skinny, but comes with a (small) price.

Brown rice husks contain phytates (phytic acid), a class of acid that is classified as an ANTI-NUTRIENT. These reduce protein digestion and bind to nutrients in brown rice or other foods, and don’t allow them to be absorbed.

HOLY SHIT, CALL YOUR MOM AND TELL HER THE NEWS.

Again, NOT important to the vast majority of us who want to look better naked and feel good. It pretty much just negates the nutrients in Brown Rice, making it nutritionally equal to it’s best friend White Rice.

Conclusion:

Brown rice and white rice are both FINE. Stop over thinking everything, because that shit will actually kill you.

 Personal Revelations:

I prefer white rice over brown rice because there’s really no nutritional complexity, and if I’m eating it, it’s generally after a workout, where I prefer fast digesting carbs to refuel my muscles faster.

I also think it tastes better, and I can eat more of it in a single sitting.

 Bonus:

If you’re in the business of building muscle, you can’t do much better than Chipotle for a post workout meal. It’s relatively inexpensive, and can pack a good amount of nutritionally dense calories. Here’s my favorite:

Burrito Bowl, tortilla on the side
Double white rice
Black beans
Half chicken, half steak (generally results in larger amounts of meat)
Pico de Gallo salsa
Hot salsa
Cheese
Copious amounts of chipotle Tabasco sauce.

Tear off bits of the tortilla and make mini burritos until the tortilla is gone. Use fork or hands to enjoy the rest.

Oh hell yea.