You can not really talk about brown rice without also going into white rice. The main difference between the two? White rice has been refined to remove beneficial bran and sprouts; Brown rice is categorized as a healthier whole grain because bran (a form of dietary fiber) and sprouts are intact.
“Whole grain, brown rice provides more important nutrients compared to white rice, including magnesium, iron, fiber, B vitamins and antioxidants,” said Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of NY Nutrition, and a member of our medical expert board.
Studies has shown that substituting whole grains, such as brown rice with white rice, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Although brown rice is mostly nutritious. It is also associated with some unwanted effects that you may not be aware of. Here’s what you need to know, and for even healthier diet tips, be sure to check out our list of the 7 healthiest foods to eat right now.
It may have traces of arsenic.
“Brown rice may be higher in a toxic chemical called arsenic that is linked to cancer, heart disease and diabetes,” says Moskovitz. “It is found naturally in our environment, but can be concentrated more in certain foods such as rice or rice products.”
Unlike other food crops, rice arsenic accumulates in concentrations that are ten times higher than other grains. Interesting fact: While arsenic is distributed throughout the grain for white rice, brown rice tends to have arsenic on the grain surface. A study who compared the amount of arsenic in rice showed that brown rice had more inorganic arsenic than white rice.
According to Melissa Mitri, MS, RD Rinsing rice with plenty of water just before cooking helps reduce the amount of arsenic.
But “new research has shown that this method is more effective in white rice than brown,” he says Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD.
Although you need to consume rice in large quantities for this to have a major impact on your health, it is good to still be aware of it when consuming this cereal.
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You may experience digestive problems.
“Because brown rice contains more fiber, it can cause indigestion such as bloating and diarrhea in those who are sensitive to fiber,” warns Mitri.
Moskovitz agrees. “Brown rice is a grain that some people do not tolerate well. If you have a sensitive digestive system, and especially if you struggle with constipation, rice can be binding. For that reason, it is good to vary the types of foods and starches you prepare, she says.
Here is an important effect of eating high-fiber foods, says the expert.
Your body will consume anti-nutrients.
“What may not be as well known is that brown rice contains compounds called anti-nutrients, which can reduce the absorption of nutrients in that food,” says Mitri. “Brown rice is higher in phytic acid, which can bind to and reduce the absorption of minerals such as zinc, calcium and iron,” adds Panoff.
Your blood sugar will rise.
“Brown rice is still a starch,” says Moskovitz. “For those who are carbohydrate conscious or need to watch their blood sugar levels, whether you eat white or brown rice, servings will play a role. A cup of cooked brown rice has about the same amount of carbohydrates as a cup of cooked white rice.”
Conclusion: “You do not have to be afraid or avoid rice, but it is still recommended to rotate rice with other types of barley,” says Moskovitz. Mitri further adds that consuming rice in moderation and rinsing before cooking will limit these side effects. In addition, the benefits of brown rice outweigh these side effects.
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- Surprising side effects of not eating carbohydrates, science says
- Is brown rice as healthy as normal brown rice?
- The # 1 way to make your rice free of toxins
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