RICE – The little grain that could… Or could it?

Rice.

Rice. It’s a staple for many countries on Earth, and it’s come into popularity in the latest ‘clean eating’ diet wave. But is it’s popularity equaled by it’s nutrition?

 

Rice has approximately 30% more calories when cooked, than pasta, but unlike pasta it has very little nutrient value. This means that when we swap out pasta, grainy bread, legumes or other grains for rice, we are creating a nutrient void – and to try to collect these essential nutrients back, the body will be required to eat more. More food ultimately means more calories, and the weighty cycle continues.

And even more problematically, we don’t just eat rice for meals; brown rice for lunch, rice cakes, rice crackers and sushi – they have become staple for us. The lack of fibre and protein make it “empty” which means that by the time it hits your stomach, it dissolves, and before you know it, you’re hungry again. This is also what makes rice High GI. Yes, even brown rice is High GI… But get this, jasmine rice has a GI of 109 – which means it breaks down to glucose in the blood faster than sugar does!! Pasta, when not overcooked, has a low GI, contains both fibre and protein and costs the same as rice –  so why have we bought into the logic that pasta is “bad?”

With so many other nutritious grains and starchy foods on the market, like pasta, risoni, multigrain bread, wholegrain crackers, barley, pearl couscous, quinoa, it’s easy to make better choices!

Enjoy in moderation!

Image taken from Huffington Post Australia.

EMILY HENRY

Sports Dietitian


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