White Rice And Cholesterol
As Americans become more health-conscious, it’s no surprise that they are concerned about the link between cholesterol and diet. You may be wondering if certain foods, such as white rice, affect your dietary cholesterol levels, or if eating white rice helps lower blood cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels can negatively affect heart health, so if you’re interested in learning more about how foods in your diet can affect your cholesterol levels, you’re on the right track. Find out if white rice can be a part of your diet or if you need to give it up.
White rice does not contain cholesterol
Some foods in your diet contain cholesterol, but white rice is not one of them. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, white rice does not contain cholesterol. Experts have found that cholesterol in the diet can adversely affect blood cholesterol, which naturally raises concerns about cholesterol in the diet. It is no wonder that people want to know the cholesterol content of white rice.
Beware of cholesterol
Even if white rice is a cholesterol-free food, you should not jump for joy. From a nutritional standpoint, white rice is not a nutritious food if you’re monitoring your cholesterol. According to the Whole Grains Council, white rice is not a whole grain. Whole grains have distinct dietary advantages. They have a “whole” form, which means they contain all edible parts. These parts, namely the bran, endosperm and germ, contribute to the nutritional content of the grain. According to the Whole Grains Council, bran is rich in antioxidants and B vitamins, while germ contains minerals, protein and B vitamins. White rice is stripped of its bran, making it lower in fiber content and nutritional value. This is important because, according to the American Heart Association, a diet rich in whole grains can improve cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
Refined Carbohydrates Raise Cholesterol
When you think of raising cholesterol levels, you probably think of processed fatty meats. According to the American Heart Association, fatty meats are high in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels and worsen heart disease. But according to a study published in the November 2013 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, a diet high in carbohydrates from refined whole grains (such as white rice) can also negatively affect cholesterol.
Lack of fiber and nutrients
White rice and brown rice are the most popular types of rice and are similar in origin. Brown rice is the whole grain of rice. It contains fiber-rich bran, nutrient-rich germ and carbohydrate-rich endosperm. White rice, on the other hand, has the bran and germ removed, leaving only the endosperm. The rice is then milled to improve its texture, extend its shelf life, and improve its cooking properties (1 letter source). White rice is considered an empty carbohydrate because it loses its main source of nutrients. However, in the United States and many other countries, white rice is often fortified with nutrients such as iron, folic acid, niacin, and B vitamins such as thiamin. (1 Confidence Source).
Should I eat white rice?
White rice, which is often unfairly criticized, maybe a better choice than brown rice in some cases. For example, pregnant women may benefit from the folic acid supplements found in fortified white rice. In addition, people on low-fiber diets or adults with nausea or heartburn may find white rice easier to digest and less likely to cause discomfort. However, brown rice is the best choice for many people. Brown rice is rich in vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and plant compounds. It is also suitable for diabetics and pre-diabetics because of the slower conversion of carbohydrates into blood sugar. However, it is normal to consume white rice in moderation without feeling guilty.
Choosing healthier rice alternatives
Rice comes in several different colors besides white. If you’re worried about your cholesterol, the refined nature and low nutrient content of white rice keep you from making the big leap. The next time you go to the grocery store, look for brown, black, or red rice. These are whole grains that, unlike white rice, are high in nutritional value. Black rice, for example, is rich in anthocyanins. Unlike white rice, which has a negative effect on cholesterol, anthocyanin-rich foods can reduce the risk of heart disease. If you can’t find black or red rice in the rice section, check out the ethnic foods section. And of course, don’t forget to supplement with other whole grains and fiber-rich foods. Eating 100% whole wheat bread is good for cholesterol, as is sweet potato.
It is well known that all rice, whether white, whole grain, organic or conventional, can be contaminated with arsenic. In fact, a trusted source at the FDA has issued a statement prohibiting pregnant women and parents from using rice and rice grains as a staple food due to arsenic contamination. Arsenic is a heavy metal that accumulates in the body over time and cannot be excreted. Therefore, it is wise to limit your exposure to arsenic in rice by eating a variety of foods and grains throughout your adult life. Whole grains such as nuts, seeds, and brown rice also contain a substance called phytic acid, which binds to minerals such as calcium, iron, and zinc. Some whole grains contain enough phytase, an enzyme needed to break down phytic acid, while other grains, such as oats, brown rice and beans, do not. Humans do not produce phytase, so soaking, fermenting or sprouting these foods can lower phytic acid levels and increase mineral absorption. White rice is lower in phytic acid because it has been processed.
Is it safe for diabetics to eat rice?
Both white rice and brown rice can have a high glycemic index (GI). The GI score of a food represents the effect of the food on blood sugar levels. It is based on the time or rate it takes for a food to raise blood sugar levels. White rice has a GI score of 72, so it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Brown rice has a GI score of 50. Brown rice has a slower effect on blood sugar levels, but a greater effect because it contains less fiber than other whole grains.
The Bottom Line
White rice is more processed, not necessarily worse. Most white rice in the United States is fortified with vitamins such as folic acid to improve its nutritional value. It also has less fiber, which can help with digestive issues. However, brown rice is ultimately healthier and more nutritious. Not to mention that studies have shown that brown rice is good for diabetes, heart disease, and weight maintenance.