Is Eating White Rice Healthy? We Find Out!

Sarika Rana  |  Updated: June 27, 2018 12:23 IST

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Is Eating White Rice Healthy? We Find Out!
Highlights
  • Rice has got a bit of a reputation for being an 'unhealthy grain'
  • All nutrients present in the rice along with fibre are lost when polished
  • Adding Fibre to the rice portion is important for everyone
Who doesn't like a comforting plateful of rajma rice, kadhi rice or plain and simple dal-chawal? It's a favourite with so many Indians from the northern part of the country. But wait, the south and east love their rice with equal fervour, if not more. Be it fish curry-rice, sambhar-chawal or Hyderabadi biryani; rice is consumed across the country in hundreds of different lip-smacking ways. But of late, rice has got a bit of a reputation for being an 'unhealthy' grain, there is a perception that eating rice will make you put on weight. This staple food of lakhs of Indians has been around for centuries and is an integral part of the cuisine of this country. So how did it become unhealthy suddenly? Let's find out.

When rice is harvested it comes with an outer covering called the bran. The outer layer's main job is to protect the rice grains in the growing season. Once harvested, rice is taken through the process of hulling where most of the indigestible parts of the hull are separated. What remains is whole brown rice that still contains most of its nutrients. It is when this rice is taken for polishing that it becomes white and shiny. According to Delhi based Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta, "All the nutrients present in the rice along with fibre are lost when it is polished, making it unhealthy. It is a refined cereal and is consumed more as it makes for a lighter food, leaving us hungry in just a few hours."



According to Dr. Zamurrud Patel, Consultant Dietician, Global Hospitals, Mumbai, "Eating white rice is healthy if you eat the portion size recommended to you. Adding adequate fibre is beneficial for health."
 

riceWhite rice has a high amount of starch present, which breaks glucose down
 
The nutritional value of white rice for every 100 gm of edible portion looks like this:
  • Calories 1491 KJ (357 Kcal)
  • Protein 8 gm
  • Fat 0.5 gm
  • Carbohydrate 78 gm
  • Total Fibre 2.8 gm (Soluble 2 gm and Insoluble 0.8 gm)

Adding Fibre to the rice portion is important for everyone, especially diabetics. This can be done by accompanying it with vegetable raita as a side dish or making rice preparations with vegetables like Vegetable Pulao, Vegetable Biryani, etc. Basically, adding vegetables, pulses, dal to the rice makes it healthier to eat, further improving its protein and fibre content.

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In addition, white rice has a high amount of starch present, which breaks glucose down and contributes to a rise in insulin levels, which is even worse for diabetics.
 

red riceYou can switch to brown rice, red rice or parboiled rice
 
How much rice should you ideally have in a day?

Dr. Patel tells us, "Recommending the portion size of rice per day depends on the total calorie requirement for the day. There is no fixed amount that one should be eating daily. In case, you are worried about consuming too much white rice, you can switch to brown rice, red rice or parboiled rice that are better contributors of fibre content as compared to white rice."



The Verdict



Comments

White rice is not as healthy as brown, unpolished rice. So if you can get used to the taste of brown rice, switch soon! However, if you are continuing to eating white rice regularly, make sure you eat it in controlled portions and along with adequate amounts of veggies and other sources of proteins. White rice will give you the energy you need from carbs, but without the added nutrients that brown, unpolished rice comes with. It's quite simple really - either stick to moderate amounts or switch to other alternatives for a healthier lifestyle.


 

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