Is Rice Healthy? 5 Benefits Of Eating White Rice

White rice doesn’t quite have the same healthy reputation as its higher-fibre sister, brown rice, but it can absolutely be part of a balanced and nutritious diet. White rice may be at the top of the list for foods that have a bad reputation. Not only is it looked down upon because of its starchy composition, but it’s also often picked less because of its white colouring. In this article we will discuss the benefits of White rice, whether you should be switching to Brown rice or not and if you should be eating it regularly.

Rice is not only versatile and easy to cook—but also light on the stomach. No surprise then that this grain has been an integral part of the Indian diet since forever. That said, rice has always been surrounded by this misconception that it can make you overweight. For the longest time, it has been depicted in a bad light. But is it really that bad for you? 

How does White rice differ from Brown rice?

White rice is rice that has had its bran (the fiberous outer layer) and germ (the nutritious core) removed during processing, making the taste, texture, color and nutrition breakdown of white rice different from that of brown rice. Due to this, it is not surprising that the nutrient value of white rice is different from brown rice.

Nutritional values of White rice

186g of cooked White rice contains:

  • 205 calories
  • 28g carbohydrates
  • 0.6g fibre
  • 4g protein
  • 0.4g fat

Nutritional values of Brown rice

186g of cooked Brown rice contains:

  • 248 calories
  • 52g carbohydrate
  • 3g fibre
  • 6g protein
  • 2g fat

So which is healthier? White rice or Brown rice?

As you can see 186g of cooked brown rice is slightly higher in calories, as well as protein, fat and fibre. There are also some vitamin and mineral differences, with brown rice edging out white rice in B vitamins and phosphorus. These slightly higher numbers can be attributed to brown rice’s bran and germ content.

However, because you are unlikely to be eating White rice alone you must take into consideration the dish you are plating the rice with. If you are serving alongside a high in fat curry such as chicken korma, the calories in either rice is not really worth considering.

If however you are following a strict calorie controlled diet you may wish to consider the White rice for it’s lower calorie content. 

Is rice Slimming World friendly?

Absolutely, in fact it is classed as “Syn Free” when following the Slimming World plan. This includes White and Brown rice. 

However even though Slimming World state that rice can be eaten freely without counting or weighing I need to remind you that it is not calorie free. Rice should be eaten freely until full and your plate should be filled with as much protein and vegetables before adding rice. 

Related Article: How to cook the perfect healthy rice

Top benefits of White rice:

1. It can stabilize your blood sugar levels

While you might have heard that white rice has starch and is comparatively high on the glycemic index, the truth is that when accompanied by other foods such as vegetables, it can prevent blood sugar spikes. But if you are diabetic, always check with your doctor before including it in your diet.

2. It is a quick source of energy

Because white rice is missing the bran and the germ—and the fibre and fat content that goes with them—it’s a simpler carbohydrate, meaning your body has an easier time breaking it down, allowing for quicker absorption of the nutrients, namely the carbohydrates. This makes white rice a great option for people who need a quick source of energy, for example athletes or anyone engaging in a longer workout or activity.

3. It is gluten free

Rice is a hypoallergenic food and also a true blessing for people who are allergic to gluten or have celiac disease. A gluten-free grain, rice can also be easily turned into flour, noodles, and bread for people who opt for gluten-free options.

This includes brown rice, white rice, wild rice and rice flour. 

4. It is gentle on the tummy and easily digested

Ever hear someone tell you to have White rice and chicken if you are feeling a bit tender? Well they are 100% correct.

Those who suffer from certain digestive conditions may have a harder time digesting complex carbs’ fibre, protein and high fat content. While brown rice or other whole grains may not be an option for them during a flare-up, easily digested white rice makes a great option to minimize uncomfortable bloating and irritation. Even if you don’t have a diagnosed digestive problem, white rice can come in handy if you’re dealing with something like a nasty bout of diarrhoea or sickness.

5. Keeps the gut healthy

Even when you eat refined white rice, you get a hefty dose of soluble fibre i.e. resistant starch called butyrate. Butyrate can boost your gut health by reducing any inflammation. That’s the reason why people are often advised to have boiled rice in case of diarrhoea.

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2 Responses

  1. Helen says:

    In the UK we are advised to eat BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast) after a tummy upset.

    • Fatgirlskinny says:

      After a bad bout of IBS and tummy upset if I ate apples I would be in severe agony… I think different things work for different people 🙂 but yes you are right this is the recommendation. My mum always said Chicken and Rice 🙂 even the dog gets it lol x

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