Is quick brown rice as healthy as regular brown rice?

Do quick-cooking brown rice and regular brown rice have the same health benefits? Or is the quick-cooking brown rice no better than white?

According to CNN Diet and Fitness Expert Dr. Melina Jampolis, Physician Nutrition Specialist..

A study just came out in the Archives of Internal Medicine that found that higher brown rice intake (two or more servings per week vs. less than one serving per month) is associated with an 11 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas higher intakes of white rice (five or more servings per week vs. less than one serving per month) are associated with a 17 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Despite the health benefits, many people don’t want to spend 40 to 50 minutes cooking brown rice, so they resort to quick-cooking brown rice, which can take only five to 15 minutes to prepare.

To answer this question, she turned to Cynthia Harriman of the nonprofit Whole Grains Council. She informed us that a leading brown rice manufacturer had submitted both its regular and instant brown rice products as well as those of its competitors to an independent third-party laboratory. The lab found that there was no appreciable difference in the nutrient profiles of regular versus quick-cooking. Both are considered whole grains, and both are good sources or manganese, magnesium, selenium and fiber.

In addition, unlike instant vs. slow-cooked oatmeal, instant brown rice in some cases actually has an equivalent or even a lower glycemic index (raises blood sugar more slowly) than longer-cooking rice. Lower glycemic index diets have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in Americans.

So you don’t have to spend an hour in the kitchen to enjoy the healthy, whole-grain benefits of brown rice. Just watch your serving size, as brown rice is still somewhat carbohydrate-dense, so the overall impact on your blood sugar and total caloric intake is still significant if you consume too much.

Now because we live in South Florida, specially for our Miami Lakes and Hialeah readers, the next question might be

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Which Is Better?

by Jose Antonio PhD (Note: this article was originally posted on Inside Fitness)

“I really like white rice. You know the sticky kind that you can pick up with your fingers and throw down the gullet. I mean 1.5 billion Chinese couldn’t all be wong. I’ve heard a million times how brown rice, which tastes like tree bark mixed with bread crust, is soooo much better than the white variety. Growing up eating rice the way most families consume potatoes and bread, I actually rarely go a day without consuming some white stuff. So is the white stuff so bad? Is it like eating pasta or white bread? Well, let’s do what the lead characters on the hit TV series, CSI, do: they follow the data. And the data will set you free; or will it? It seems the more we learn, the more confusing it might get. Well never fear, I’m here to tell you like it is.

A case-control study was conducted to investigate the association between white rice-based food consumption and the risk of ischemic stroke in a southern Chinese population. Information on diet and lifestyle was obtained from 374 incident ischemic stroke patients and 464 hospital-based controls. The found that the average weekly intake of rice foods appeared to be significantly higher in cases than in controls. Increased consumptions of cooked rice, congee, and rice noodle were associated with a higher risk for ischemic stroke after controlling for confounding factors. So is this evidence of a link between habitual rice food consumption and the risk of ischemic stroke in Chinese adults?1

Now keep in mind what exactly a case control study is. It is a design used in epidemiological research. Basically what scientists do is compare subjects who have a certain condition (e.g. high blood pressure) with those who do not (e.g. are normal blood pressure) and then identify the factors that may lead to that condition. It is far inferior to the gold standard of science, the randomized controlled trial in which subjects are randomized to a ‘treatment’ or ‘placebo/control’ group. Thus, there is an actual intervention to see if a ‘treatment’ has an effect and minimizes bias.

So indeed it is true that epidemiologic studies have suggested that higher consumption of white rice (WR) is associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus. So if you actually substitute white rice for brown rice, should we not then see a benefit? Let’s see what this study showed. A total of 202 middle-aged adults with diabetes or a high risk for diabetes were randomly assigned to a white rice (WR) or brown rice (BR) group and consumed the rice ad libitum (free access to rice) for 16 weeks. Metabolic risk markers were measured. So what happened? Did the WR group get ill? Did the BR group become healthier than a triathlete? They basically found no between-group differences were found for any markers. However, blood LDL cholesterol concentration decreased more in the WR group compared to the BR group; this effect was observed only among participants with diabetes. On the other hand, diabetics had a greater reduction in diastolic blood pressure in the BR group compared to the WR group. So what’s the net-net? Nothing! There’s in essence no difference. So if you ignore the mishmash of epidemiology and look at a true experimental trial, white rice is the same as brown rice.2

I’d like Kung Pao Chicken, with white rice please….”

The biggest question you should be asking is “how much rice are you eating?”…if your lunch down here in South Florida has 2 or 3 cups of rice….white or brown won’t matter…

At 52 WORKOUTS we want our members to experience a variety in exercise concepts. Variety in training keeps our members excited about what’s coming next and that makes them consistent. Consistency leads to results, improved health and a better quality life. We also want our members to have the right information when it comes to nutrition, that is why we base our concepts on science

Visit us at or at 2400 W 80th st. Unit #7 in the Miami Lakes/ Hialeah area

References for the Science Fans

1. Liang W, Lee AH, Binns CW: White rice-based food consumption and ischemic stroke risk: a case-control study in southern China, Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases : the official journal of National Stroke Association 2010, 19:480–484

2. Zhang G, Pan A, Zong G, Yu Z, Wu H, Chen X, Tang L, Feng Y, Zhou H, Li H, Hong B, Malik VS, Willett WC, Spiegelman D, Hu FB, Lin X: Substituting white rice with brown rice for 16 weeks does not substantially affect metabolic risk factors in middle-aged Chinese men and women with diabetes or a high risk for diabetes, The Journal of nutrition 2011, 141:1685–1690

Bio For Jose Antonio, PhD, FNSCA, FACSM, FISSN

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