Rice, scientifically known as oryza sativa, is a staple food for over 3 billion people.
Over 90% of the world’s rice is produced and consumed in Asia, where it accounts for 20-70% of total calorie intake.
With 50 million people directly depending on rice for their only source of livelihood, undoubtedly rice constitutes a major portion in the life of South Asia.
Brown rice or unmilled rice is whole grain rice.
If only the outermost covering of the rice grain is removed (husk) , brown rice is obtained. When the underneath bran layer and germ are removed along with the outer husk, white rice is obtained.
Both of them have similar calorie and carbohydrate content but the main difference between them lies in the processing and nutritional content.
It is rightly said that “Appearances are often deceptive”. White rice appears beautiful; hence we tend to purchase it.
But several vitamins like vitamin B1 & vitamin B2, iron, magnesium, dietary fiber, and fatty acids are lost in the processing and polishing process of white rice.
It has been observed that people consuming unenriched white rich are usually vulnerable to neurological diseases like beriberi and weight gain.
Why Brown Rice is a Wonder Food for Weight Loss & Management
Weight gain is a chronic problem associated with modern lifestyle. Brown rice, because of its rich nutrient content, is found to be beneficial in weight loss and its management. Let’s have a look at how brown rice helps in preventing undue weight gain.
There are several research-backed reasons shy brown rice is considered good for weight loss and weight management.
1. Brown rice promotes a reduction in BMI, waist and hip circumference
Brown rice contains a number of beneficial components like vitamins, magnesium, iron, dietary fiber, essential fatty acids, etc.
A study conducted on 40 obese women showed that treatment with brown rice for six weeks significantly reduced weight, BMI and waist & hip circumference in comparison with white rice.
Scientists at Kwandong University, Korea conducted a randomized study on 30 subjects with type 2 diabetes. Results clearly show that the diet with brown rice was associated with decreased waist circumference and reduction in BMI.
A study conducted at New York Chiropractic College showed that immediate changes were observed to weight and lipid profiles following a specific diet including brown rice for 21 days. Weight loss ranged between 2.4 kg and 9 kg.
Besides, cholesterol levels and BMI decreased. Thus, the seven participants in this study showed short term reduction in BMI and improvement in their lipid profiles.
What it means? Scientific studies have proved that brown rice is effective in reducing BMI, waist and hip circumference. Short term BMI reduction is also achieved through diet containing brown rice.
2. Brown rice enhances satiety, prevents overeating
Brown rice is a great source of dietary fiber. About 1.8g of fiber is present per 100 grams of brown rice.
Insoluble fiber in the diet cannot be digested. Fiber adds bulk to the food and makes one feel full. Soluble fiber in brown rice withdraws water along with it and makes the stomach full. Thus, overeating is avoided.
Overeating is the major cause of weight gain. Thus, brown rice is effective in managing weight.
A study carried out at the University of Minnesota has shown that brown rice is more satiating than normal glucose beverage.
Brown rice improves satisfaction and fullness level and decreases hunger feeling than glucose beverages.
This really helps in weight management.
What it means? Fiber present in brown rice enhances satiety, improves fullness level, decreases hunger feeling thus prevents over eating.
3. Brown rice reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a number of symptoms like visceral obesity, increased blood sugar, abnormal sugar level and excess fats around the waist.
Refined grains like white rice are strongly linked with metabolic syndrome.
A study conducted on Asian Indians at the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation revealed that white rice and other refined grains are significantly associated with higher waist circumference and metabolic syndrome.
On the other hand, people consuming whole grains like brown rice have a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.
High fiber content and low glycaemic index of brown rice is highly beneficial in averting the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Prevalence of metabolic syndrome is 141% more in people having refined food diet than in people having whole grains like brown rice.
What it means? Metabolic syndrome is linked with visceral obesity. High fiber content and low glycaemic index of brown rice prevents the risk of metabolic syndrome.
4. Brown rice prevents an unnecessary fat pile up in the body
Brown rice consists of only 0.9 g of fat per 100 grams. Brown rice is a low energy density food providing calories mainly through the carbohydrate content present in it.
This is highly useful for obese people who need to consume low-fat diet.
A scientific study proved that the effects of brown rice on abdominal fat, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels are encouraging with a significant reduction in the following an 8-week diet consisting of brown rice.
What it means? Brown rice has an extremely low fat content in it. Besides, it is a low energy density food making it a dieter’s dream food.
5. Brown rice prevents insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is a condition wherein the ability of the cells to react to the action of insulin in transporting glucose from the bloodstream to muscles and tissues is diminished.
Insulin resistance is usually accompanied by weight gain and obesity. It increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
A study conducted at the Institute of Bioscience, Malaysia revealed that germinated brown rice can lessen insulin resistance.
It also showed that the addition of white rice to the existing brown rice diet can reduce these effects and lead to insulin resistance.
Germinated brown rice prevents chronic hyperglycemia thus preventing insulin resistance.
Another scientific study showed that pre-germinated brown rice ameliorated hyperglycemia by increasing insulin secretion, insulin receptor levels, and glucose metabolism. Thus, brown rice prevents insulin thereby preventing obesity.
What it means? Insulin resistance is associated with obesity. Scientific studies have proved that brown rice is useful in preventing insulin resistance. Thus, it is important to prefer brown rice instead of white rice in diet.
How to include brown rice in diet?
Besides these benefits, brown rice is effective in lowering blood pressure, preventing atherosclerosis, headaches, asthma, and constipation.
It is necessary to consume brown rice in a specific way to avail its health benefits. Let us have a look at the ways to consume brown rice.
Some facts about brown rice that must be remembered before consuming it
- Germinated brown rice is more nutritious than brown rice. Soak brown rice in lukewarm water for 1-2 days and then consume.
- Non-organic grain may have 1.4 to 5 times more arsenic than organic varieties. So, prefer organic rice.
- Avoid continuous washing of rice as many of the nutrients are lost while washing. If your rice variety is organic, excessive washing is not required.
Brown rice is a whole grain having a low energy density, high fiber content and low glycaemic index making it a dieter’s dream food.
Brown rice can promote a reduction in abdominal fat, enhance satiety and prevent metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.
Considering these facts, it is wise to prefer brown rice over white rice.
Go beyond just the appearance of white rice and use brown rice in your diet. Brown rice can indeed do wonders in helping you to lose weight and manage it effectively.