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Is Brown Rice Good For Weight Loss? Benefits, Nutrition & Risks 2023
There are many types of rice available on the market as it is a common staple food, but are they all equally healthy? Brown rice may be less popular than white rice; however, there are many health benefits associated with brown rice due to its nutrient-rich content. But is brown rice good for weight loss? In addition to health benefits, brown rice for weight loss has been a popular topic of research. Keep reading to find out more about brown rice benefits.
Is Brown Rice Healthy For Weight Loss?
We often hear that we should watch how many carbohydrates we are consuming and eat a low-carb diet when trying to lose weight. What is important to remember when trying to lose weight is not all carbohydrates are equal. In order to lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight, it is important to eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods. For example, brown rice is rich in nutrients and is a source of dietary fiber.
Research has shown that dietary fiber is a predictor of weight loss. This was determined by a study that followed 345 participants for 6 months and examined the impact of different calorie-restricted diets on weight loss. Dietary fiber consumption was found to be associated with weight loss promotion in adults who were overweight or obese and following a calorie-restricted diet.
While this study did not look at brown rice for weight loss specifically, it does indicate dietary fiber could be beneficial for weight management. Since brown rice has more fiber than other types of rice, it may be something you would want to consider including in your diet if you are on a weight loss journey. Eating essential carbohydrates such as dietary fiber is part of healthy eating; most people do not consume enough.
Brown Rice Nutrition Facts
Listed below is the nutritional value for 1 cup (202 grams) of cooked brown rice:
- Energy (calorie): 248 kilocalories
- Protein: 5.54 grams
- Fat: 1.96 grams
- Carbohydrates: 51.7 grams
- Fiber: 3.23 grams
- Calcium: 6.06 milligrams
- Iron: 1.13 milligrams
- Magnesium: 78.8 milligrams
- Phosphorus: 208 milligrams
- Potassium: 174 milligrams
- Zinc: 1.43 milligrams
- Copper: 0.214 milligrams
- Manganese: 1.97 milligrams
- Selenium: 11.7 micrograms
- Thiamin: 0.36 milligrams
- Niacin: 5.17 milligrams
- Vitamin B6: 0.248 milligrams
Health Benefits Of Brown Rice
Recent research has shown dietary fiber, regardless of the type of fiber, is associated with improved glycemic control, as well as blood lipids, body weight, and inflammation. All of those improvements were linked to improved diabetes management for all types of diabetes.
Another recent study determined that glycemia measurements were improved among adults living with type 2 diabetes when consuming less processed whole grains than consumed finely milled, or more processed, whole grain foods. The study only included whole grain products made from brown rice, wheat, or oats. This emphasizes the importance of eating fewer refined grains.
The beneficial effects of brown rice on diabetes management were investigated in a 2021 study. The study found brown rice, compared to white rice, did not affect glycemic control among individuals with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Brown rice did, however, increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol — good cholesterol — and reduce body weight. The authors hypothesize longer-term studies are needed to further investigate this subject.
Overall, there is an indication that brown rice is good for diabetes management, specifically, dietary fiber is known to be good for diabetes management. The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 14 grams per 1000 calories.
A recent 2022 review study has concluded that dietary fiber is beneficial in the management of hypertension and heart disease. Findings demonstrated high fiber intake was associated with reduced risk factors of premature mortality, improved total blood cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, i.e., bad cholesterol, and improvements in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
A 2014 study looked at the impact of brown rice consumption on the risk of cardiovascular disease in comparison to white rice consumption. The study centered on non-menopausal women who were overweight or obese.
The results revealed that brown rice consumption was associated with a decrease in systolic blood pressure and the inflammatory marker, C-reactive protein, as well as a reduction in body weight, waist, and hip circumference, and body mass index. The study did not find any differences between blood lipid profiles or fasting blood glucose; however, it must be noted that the more recent 2022 study looking at dietary fiber in general did.
Another great thing about eating rice is that all types of rice are gluten-free grains, so rice is part of a gluten-free diet. This means individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can eat it. The only time rice may not be gluten-free is if there was cross-contamination in the processing facility, so be sure to purchase your rice from a reliable seller.
Brown rice contains many micronutrients that are beneficial for bone health and bone development. Copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc are all found in brown rice.
One cup of cooked brown rice meets 24 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance for copper, 14 percent of the iron RDA for men and 6 percent of the iron RDA for women, 19 percent of the magnesium RDA for men, and 25 percent of the magnesium RDA for women, 30 percent of the RDA for phosphorus, 3 percent of the RDA for potassium, and 13 percent of the RDA for men and 18 percent of the RDA for women. These percentages were calculated using the nutrition facts listed above and information from the Dietary Reference Intakes for North America.
Incorporating whole-grain brown rice into your diet in place of white rice, which has lower nutritional value, could help you attain the essential minerals you need to maintain good bone health.
Risks Of Arsenic Exposure
Arsenic is a naturally occurring chemical element found in water, air, and soil. Arsenic can be found in certain foods, including rice. Arsenic has negative health effects on humans and can affect the skin, liver, kidney, bladder, prostate, nervous system, cardiovascular system, immune system, endocrine system, and developmental process.
Since it is naturally occurring, it cannot be removed entirely from the environment or food supply; nevertheless, levels are monitored. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does explain that rice can absorb arsenic more readily than other crops but also states that rice can still be eaten as part of a healthy diet.
If you are concerned about the arsenic content in rice, you can always eat rice by cooking it with six to ten parts water and one part rice, and then drain off the excess water when the rice is cooked. The downside to using a cooking method that uses excess water is the micronutrient content of the rice will be reduced.
Brown Rice Vs. White Rice: Which One Is Better?
Rice is a starchy cereal grain with many varieties and is eaten by about half of the world’s population. It is commonly consumed as a tasty side dish or main dish, but can also be made into flour, breakfast cereals, brown rice noodles, or brown rice protein powder. Rice is mainly produced in Asia, but can also be grown in Europe, North America, South America, and Australia.
Rice is processed through a process called milling which removes the hull and bran layers of the rice kernel. Brown rice is produced when only the husk is removed, so you will get all the benefits. Rice that has the bran layer removed in addition to the husk is white rice. Due to the bran being removed, white rice has lower nutritional quality.
A brown rice diet would contain more essential nutrients than a diet full of white rice because brown rice is higher in dietary fiber and micronutrients. Due to the higher fiber content, brown rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice, meaning it will have less of an effect on blood sugar. Fiber not only benefits the healthy bacteria in the gut — which improves sugar management — but also makes digestion slow down, which is why the sugar spikes don’t occur as they will with eating white rice. How sugar rises is related to its glycemic index.
Sometimes it can be difficult to make the transition from white rice to brown rice for a healthier version of food if you are used to white rice because brown rice does have a slightly different texture. If you want to consume brown rice in place of white rice but are having trouble being successful, you could try to slowly transition from white rice to brown rice. This would involve making a dish with 75 percent white rice and 25 percent brown rice, then 50/50 white rice to brown rice, etc., until you reach 100 percent brown rice.
All in all, eating brown rice has more overall health benefits and could be beneficial for the management of chronic diseases.
How To Prepare Brown Rice
Brown rice can be a bit trickier to prepare than white rice. Follow these basic steps to prepare brown rice yourself.
- Measure 1 cup of brown rice and rinse with water.
- Take a pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Heat on medium heat.
- When the oil is heated, add brown rice and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes to ensure all grains are coated in the oil.
- Add 2 cups of water to the pot and bring it to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer. Cover the pot with a lid.
- Leave for 30 to 35 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow the rice to stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Fluff the cooked rice with a fork then serve as desired.
You can then eat brown rice in a variety of ways. You can incorporate brown rice into stir-fries or soups, make your own sushi rolls, or even incorporate it into energy bars!
In conclusion, consuming brown rice helps with chronic disease management due to its anti-inflammatory properties, can be part of healthy eating, and can help with weight management or maintaining a healthy weight. While there may be some concerns around arsenic content, the advice of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is that rice consumption is safe if part of a well-balanced diet. Overall, eating a variety of foods is key to a healthy lifestyle and having a healthy body weight.
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