One of our readers asked us this question the other day. Why do cultures who rely heavily on rice in their diet typically use white rice which has less nutritional value than other types of rice?

White Rice

White rice is basically sugar. Your body breaks it down super fast, making your blood sugar spike – and the only thing that brings down blood sugar is insulin, so that spikes too. It should come as no surprise, then, that people who eat lots of white rice are strong contestants in the horrible game called Type 2 Diabetes. What is white rice? Well, it’s basically brown rice that’s been stripped of all things awesome and healthy.

Brown Rice

Why Brown Rice Wins Before the Game has Even Started:

  • Fiber: Thanks to the bran in brown rice, it’s great for poops and digestion, warding off certain cancers, and weight management.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Say hello to B vitamins 1, 3, and 6! They regulate nerve function, the metabolism, and cell production. Selenium keeps you away from inflammation and heart disease! Manganese lowers cholesterol!
  • Stable Blood Sugar: Unlike its unkind white friend, brown rice is harder to break down, so no spikes in blood sugar or insulin (you can’t hear it but your pancreas is thanking you from deep within!).

One of the reasons why Asians have used mainly white rice over the years is that white rice lasts longer in storage than brown rice. The essential fatty acids found in brown rice usually begin to go bad after approximately 6 to 12 months of storage, the exact amount of time depending on how much oxygen is available. When brown rice is polished down to make white rice, many of the essential fatty acids are lost, allowing white rice to last longer than brown rice without going bad.

Another reason why many Asians prefer white rice is that they have become accustomed to how easy it is to chew and digest. Brown rice requires more chewing power to properly digest than white rice does.

Some Asians refuse to eat brown rice because to them, it’s a sign of poverty. Many Asians who are above 40 years of age have been deeply conditioned to believe that prosperous people eat white rice while peasants eat brown rice.

White Rice flavors

White rice also tastes a lot better than brown, and is great at soaking up the extra flavors from other dishes. Brown rice also doesn’t go well with the side dishes they eat. This is because brown rice has a flavor which destroys the taste of side dishes or soups or curry or whatever else it is combined with.

Finally, many Asians choose white rice over brown rice because white rice is less expensive. White rice is far less expensive to produce and distribute because it is in greater global demand and produces higher profits because of its longer shelf life.

People eat what tastes good, not what is ‘healthier’. It’s similar to white bread vs. whole wheat bread.

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Last Update: April 25, 2016

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