Rice comes is different shapes & forms
Despite popular belief, rice can be a part of your diet when you target weight loss. However, there are many varieties and it’s important to recognise their attributes as not all are equally healthy.
Rice is a staple part of the daily diet in most of Asia and Africa. Parts of Europe such as the Netherlands also consume a big quantity, however the type of grain eaten is different from that in Asia and Africa. As a rule of thumb, rice is rich in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. However, individual varieties vary considerably. In this article, we will take a look at all the varieties and their composition and how it impacts our health and body weight.
The type of rice eaten in the Netherlands is the very popular white variety. White rice is refined in production which means that the husk, bran and germ layers are all removed, so just the white inner kernel remains. This essentially strips it of much of its nutritional value as the bran layer is very rich in nutrients, including dietary fiber, vitamin B1, vitamin B3 and iron.
The refined white variety has a high glycemic index which means that its digested and broken down into glucose much faster than other varieties. According to many health experts, foods with a high glycemic index can increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and so should be avoided or eaten in moderation.
Therefore the white type is not the smartest choice for your health or if you are trying to lose weight.
The brown variety is also known as “whole” rice and is the most popular type in the Netherlands.
In the production of brown rice, only the inedible husk is removed from the grain and the grain is not ground or polished. Because the bran, fleece or pericarp remains, this brown type contains more than 3.5 grams of dietary fiber per cup, compared with 0.6 grams of the white variety.
Brown rice is therefore a much better partner for weight loss than its white counterpart. Not surprisingly, it’s also really good for your health.
This type of rice is actually a grass and the grains are not polished or refined. It’s low in calories, high in fiber and aids digestion. It’s also extremely rich in antioxidants and contains about twice as much protein as even the brown variety.
This wild version is often mixed with other varieties of the grain and eaten. A mixing with brown rice is logically healthier than blending with the white variety.
In most cases, wild rice is healthier and better for weight loss than any other type.
Basmati is a very aromatic and flavourful species of the grain, mostly of Indian or Pakistani descent. Basmati is relatively pricey, and is therefore also called the Rolls-Royce of rice varieties mentioned. It is sold in a white (ground & polished) as well as a whole (uncut and unpolished) form.
Generally speaking, the brown basmati version is a better choice over the white basmati for weight loss.
The jasmine variety is also known as the Thai fragrance rice and eaten extensively in south-east Asia. It has a subtle floral aroma and a soft, full flavour. Like basmati, the jasmine version is also available in a white as well as brown variety.
And like basmati, if you are after good health and weight loss, choose the brown one over the white variety.
Yellow rice is compositionally the same as the white version. Except the yellow one is coloured with turmeric. The more expensive yellow variety is coloured with saffron.
If weight loss is what you are after, treat the yellow rice the same as you would the white variety.
The Pandan type is “normal” white rice which is cooked together with flavourful green pandan leaves (screw palm). This style of the grain is eaten a lot in places like Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and Singapore.
The Pandan type is – like the yellow one – no better than white rice.
The Glutinous or Botan type is used for sushi and desserts because of its sticky texture. Like other forms of the white variety, it contains no fibre or protein and is packed full of carbohydrates and calories.
Go for another variety of rice if you want to lose weight.
The Multigrain version is a mixture of brown , white, barley, wheat and / or wild rice. It is a collection of different types of rice, grains and seeds.
Because the multigrain type typically contains many different ingredients and nutrients, it is as healthy as or even healthier than the brown variety. This, however, is dependent on the exact composition.
So look carefully at the exact composition of this type of rice if you want to lose weight.
Certain types of rice require more than an hour of cooking before they are on the table. The ‘Instant’ type, however, is ready-to-eat. All you need to do is warm it up before you can eat it. The instant kind is almost always white and usually contains less nutrients than any other type of this grain.
An extremely unhealthy choice to make, and not recommended if you are on a diet.
Quick cooking or “parboiled” (partially boiled) rice has previously been cooked (precooked) and then dried again. This type is not ready-to-eat, but will nevertheless take significantly less time to prepare than the “normal” version.
The quick cooking variety usually contains only a little more nutrients than the instant kind and is not the best choice if good health and weight loss is what you are targeting.
Pick the right rice
Brown or the multigrain variety are the healthiest options for weight loss and your overall physical health. Remember, you can eat this wonderful, flavourful grain and still lose weight. It’s all about eating the right variety and not cutting it out completely.