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Diet Basics: Is Rice Fattening?

  By posted Aug 18th 2012
Weight Loss
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Rice is a huge grey area when it comes to health and weight gain. Two schools of thought exist, those that say that it's full of starch with little nutrients and hence should be avoided at all costs and those who embrace the positives of rice and see it as a good source of carbohydrates. While rice has got a fair share of flack in recent times, we take a closer look at why rice has got the poor reputation it does and how we should incorporate it into our diet.

Nutritional benefits of the different varieties of rice
(Per 100 gms)

Brown Rice

  • 77 g carb
  • 3.5 g fiber
  • 3 g fat
  • 8 g protein
  • 0.4 mg thiamin (Vitamin B1)
  • 5 mg niacin
  • 1.5 mg iron
  • 143 mg magnesium
  • 223 mg potassium


White Rice

 

  • 80 g carb
  • 1 g fiber
  • 0.6 g fat
  • 7 g protein
  • 0.07 mg thiamin
  • 1.6 g niacin
  • 0.8 mg iron
  • 25 mg magnesium


As you can see from the above nutritional information, rice is nothing to write home about when it comes to nutrients. But the fact remains that if rice is a vehicle to get good food into your system, then so be it. It has it's benefits. 

The Asian Paradox

In the Far East Asian countries people have traditionally eaten rice for generations and remained healthy and slim (though that’s changing nowadays with the influx of the Western diet). 

It just suggests that carbs, in and of themselves, are benign in a metabolic vacuum. If you have everything else going right – insulin sensitivity, regular activity, absence of metabolic deranging foods like fructose, lectins, and excessive linoleic acid – pure starchy carbs aren’t going to be a big problem. But, we aren’t starting from ground zero. The overweight middle-aged man with 2 kids and a 10 hour a day job is not starting from square one.  He has an issue with glucose, one that might not be cured in a lifetime. For a person like that, avoidance of rice is recommended and probably necessary.

Where rice belongs in your life depends on where you fall on the metabolic derangement continuum.

Rice fried in rancid corn oil? Avoid.
Rice fried in homemade ghee? Not so bad, necessarily.
Rice if you’re trying to lose weight? Avoid.
Rice if you’re lean and active? Not so bad, necessarily.

Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images 

 

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