Food We Eat : Rice (Part 2 of 2)

Rice is a staple food for over half of the world’s population. Today people are going for whole food,to the days our forefather had been eating. You hardly heard of cancer, heart attack and diabetics and so on. All these degenerative deceases in our present society are caused by the pollutants from within and without.

Brown Rice versus White Rice:


Milling is the primary difference between brown and white rice. The varieties may be identical, but it is in the milling process where brown rice becomes white rice. Milling, often called “whitening”, removes the outer bran layer of the rice grain. Milling affects the nutritional quality of the rice Milling strips off the bran layer, leaving a core comprised of mostly carbohydrates. In this bran layer resides nutrients of vital importance in the diet, making white rice a poor competitor in the nutrition game The following chart shows the nutritional differences between brown and white rices. Fiber is dramatically lower in white rice, as are the oils, most of the B vitamins and important minerals. Unknown to many, the bran layer contains very important nutrient such as thiamine, an important component in mother’s milk.

Health Benefits of Brown Rice

The health benefits of brown rice are immeasurable. Brown rice is a whole grain meaning it contains a large amount of fiber. This is due to the fact that the whole grain contains all three components: bran, germ and endosperm. Conversely, when grain is processed, all that is left is the endosperm. When the endosperm is left intact, it generates all of the proteins; the bran contains approximately 80% of the minerals; and the germ contains vitamin E, minerals, unsaturated fats, antioxidants and phytochemicals which are chemicals found in fruits, vegetables, beans and other types of plant food. In addition, it has been ascertained that the antioxidant levels in whole grains are higher than in white rice. The health benefits of brown rice are not only significant, but have proven to be effective in warding off disease and other conditions which can become chronic and, in some cases, life threatening. Now doctors are encouraging patients to consume more whole grain foods than ever before.

Comparison of Nutrient Contents of Brown Rice and White Rice


White rice intake increases risk of Type II diabetes


Bran contains several things of major importance – two major ones are fiber and essential oils. Fiber is not only filling, but is implicated in prevention of major diseases in this country such as certain gastrointestinal diseases and heart disease. The National Cancer Institute recommends 25 grams of fiber a day, a cup of brown rice adds nearly 3.5 g, while an equal amount of white rice not even 1 g. Also, components of the oils present in rice bran have been shown in numerous studies to decrease serum cholesterol, a major risk factor in heart disease.

Each serving of polished rice a day increases the risk of Type II diabetes by 11 per cent, according to a study being published today (Friday) in the British Medical Journal.Polished rice is commonly called white rice, and one serving refers to nearly 160 grams. “Higher consumption of white rice is associated with a significantly increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, especially in Asian (China and Japan) populations,” wrote the authors from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston.The conclusion was based on a meta-analysis of 3,52,384 people who were followed up for four to 22 years. The participants were from China, Japan, the United States and Australia.A “positive association” between white rice intake and increased risk of diabetes was found only in the case of the two Asian countries, where rice is a staple food.

“This association seems to be stronger for Asians than for Western populations,” the authors said. Despite the not-so-strong association in Western countries, the researchers estimated that about 167 new cases of diabetes per 1,00,000 people would occur every year for “every additional serving of white rice a day.”White rice primarily contains starch, as the polishing removes most of the nutrients found in the bran such as insoluble fibre, magnesium, vitamins, and lignans (a group of chemical compounds acting as antioxidants). Insoluble fiber and magnesium, for instance, have been found to lower the risk of Type II diabetes.Double harmUnlike brown rice, polished rice has a high glycaemic index (an indicator of glucose-raising effect of a food) and is a major contributor of dietary glycaemic load. The higher dietary glycemic load is generally associated with the increased risk of diabetes. Hence, the harmful effects of polishing are two-pronged — it removes the nutrients that would cut the risk of diabetes and at the same time pushes up the glycaemic index, thus increasing the risk of the disease.

For People In South India 

There’s no denying that South India loves its rice. But latest studies warn us to use caution while piling our plates with the refined version of this staple grain

Have you ever wondered why over 40 per cent of the people in India are diabetic? Some doctors say that this is because the Indian body is prone to diabetes, just like some cars may guzzle more fuel or give you less mileage, because that’s simply how they’re built. Sedentary living and bad eating habits have only made the problem worse. However, a recent and disturbing study conducted by Harvard University has established that consuming just one cup of white rice (polished rice) everyday can put you at risk to diabetes, regardless of your nationality or whether you have a family history of the disease. Since rice is our staple food, the implications of the study can have a great long-term impact on the way India eats.

Polished Rice, Hello Diabetes

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed four previous studies conducted in China, Japan, US and Australia on the impact of white rice in the onset of Type 2 diabetes. The researchers also analyzed whether the Asian population were more at risk to diabetes and whether there was a higher risk of contracting the disease if you ate greater amounts of rice. All the participants had been diabetes free when the studies began. The results of the study proved that the more polished white rice a person eats, regardless of their nationality, they are at great risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes. The authors of the study estimate that the odds increase by 10 per cent with each additional serving of white rice. And interestingly enough, women seemed more at risk than men. The full study “White Rice Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review” (PDF), was published in the British Medical Journal.

If you are a typical South Indian in your choice of foods, you would have grown up with that bed of rice on your plate during most meals. The creative rice preparations in this part of the world can really tempt you. What does the Harvard study mean to us? Should avoid rice altogether or switch to the jaw-breaking unpolished rice? Extensive research on this subject has been conducted by Dr Vishwanathan Mohan, head of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and Dr Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, a WHO Collaborating Centre in Gopalapuram, Chennai. His findings were published recently in the British Journal of Nutrition. “I don’t fully agree with the observation that just taking one cup of white rice per day can cause diabetes,” says Dr Mohan. “One food item in isolation cannot cause a disease. But controlling the amount of rice we consume is very important because our research shows a strong epidemiological link between the amount of rice consumed and the risk of diabetes. When the rice consumption doubled from about 200 gms to 400 gms per day, the risk of diabetes increased fourfold. It was 400 per cent higher even after correcting issues (faced by participants of the study) such as obesity, physical activity, family history of diabetes etc. So there seems to be some kind of link.”

What we can do

We know that the foods we eat are converted to glucose by our bodies. White polished rice (in the parboiled or non-parboiled form) raises blood sugar levels quickly. These are called high GI (Glycemic Index) foods. In comparison, brown rice has a lower GI. When the body processes brown rice, it releases glucose in the blood stream more slowly. The foods that create high GI levels in your body are known to put you at risk to diabetes in the long run.

“However, rice isn’t the only culprit,” says Deepshikha Agarwal, dietician and sports nutritionist. “Most people have sedentary lifestyles today. When this is coupled with too much rice consumption, it exposes them to the risk of diabetes. Stay more active and instead of completely boycotting rice, substitute white polished rice with brown rice. Remember, white rice primarily consists of starch which can be easily converted into fat and stored in the body. With little nutritional value, it is best avoided.”

“We have conducted studies where we have substituted healthier whole grain rice such as brown rice for white rice and have shown that the blood glucose responses are much lower after the meal,” says Dr Mohan. “The serum insulin levels are also reduced by substitution of brown rice.”

How polished your rice is can also be affecting the health of your family. If your rice is an attractive, dazzling white, it will not providing you with the nutrients your body needs. “Ideally, we should consume the whole grain in rice with the bran intact as it contains plenty of nutrients. Once you remove the bran completely, this makes the rice whiter and whiter. It becomes pure starch and all the other key nutrients like vitamins, minerals, functional nutrients (phytonutrients), protein and fibre content of the rice are lost. Traditionally in the past, rice used to be only 2 per cent polished, but today, we have varieties that are polished as much as 12 per cent,” says Dr Mohan.

The Plate Principle

If you love rice, you’ll be happy to learn that experts don’t recommend cutting it out of our diets permanently. “A balanced diet with the right kind of rice is important,” says Agarwal. “Follow the plate principle,” advises Dr Mohan. “Take quarter plate of rice and fill up the remaining part with vegetables, lentils and other nutritive foods for a healthy diet. Remember, what you consume with your rice is equally important, so ensure that your plate is piled up with plenty of vegetables, lentils and pulses such as bengal gram, green gram, black gram. All this will that will add protein and fibre to your meal, so its not all starch.”

Courtesy & Source :, The Hindu

Read the Part 1 : 

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