A nutritional powerhouse is often associated with brown rice, a staple of many South Asian cuisines.
However, many people believe brown rice has a high fat and carbohydrate content, making it unsuitable for weight loss.
“I’m not saying it’s bad,” says Dr Jeevan Kumar, chief nutritionist at New York-based nutrition company Kaleo Nutrition.
“It is definitely high in fat, it is definitely low in carbohydrates, and that’s why people say it is bad.”
“But it’s not that bad.”‘
Highly nutritious’ and ‘healthful’ According to Kumar, brown rice is high in protein, fibre and other healthy nutrients, as well as having a moderate amount of carbohydrates, which is why it is a great alternative for many South Asians.
“The fat content of brown rice [is] similar to other rice, but the carbohydrates are higher than that of rice,” he says.
“When you eat brown rice it’s very, very high in calories, so it’s also very high protein and fibre.”
While it’s true that brown rice may contain a high amount of fat, there are some important things to know about it: it’s a rice, not a vegetable, and it has a low glycemic index (GI).
“The rice is not a healthy food, but it’s an essential food for the body, so if you can eat brown, you can also eat other grains,” says Kumar.
While it may not be a meal replacement, there is no doubt that brown is a very nutritious grain that should be a staple in any diet.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, brown is considered a “high quality” rice and “a staple food for South Asians in the United States”.
This includes people in all regions of the country, with some communities in North America and Australia even producing a few tonnes a year.
“People don’t think brown rice can be replaced by any other food, especially if you’re going to use it for weight reduction,” says Ramakrishna Rajagopalan, senior nutritionist for the Australian government.
“But there are people who have switched to brown rice in South Asia for weight-loss reasons.
They’ve found that brown has a higher GI than other rice.”
According to Rajagosan, brown’s high fat content also makes it a good source of dietary fibre, which can help keep the gut healthy.
It also contains high amounts of zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and magnesium, which are essential nutrients for good health.
“Brown rice is very nutritious, because it contains a lot of protein and a lot [of] vitamins and minerals,” says Rajagopsan.
“You can’t substitute a healthy protein for a high carbohydrate, but you can substitute it for a very healthy protein.”
This can also help to lower blood pressure and diabetes risk.
“If you’re eating brown rice every day, you’re not going to get a lot out of it,” says Raghavan Das, chief health and wellness officer for the US-based health food provider, Healthful.com.
“Instead, what you should be eating is whole grains and legumes and legume proteins.”
What you need to know About the research behind this article The research, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, suggests that people who consume a diet rich in brown rice or rice with a higher glycemic load have lower blood glucose levels, less inflammation and less heart disease risk than those who consume lower glycemic loads.
However Rajagopoulosan says the studies also show that people should not be concerned with the high fat percentage in brown and the low protein percentage.
“There’s no way you can replace brown rice for people with a high glycemic burden, and there’s no reason that you can’t replace it for people who are not a high risk group,” he explains.
“In fact, if you take brown rice with your other foods, it may help to balance out the risk factor.”
Dr Kumar says he would recommend people who find it difficult to lose weight follow the advice in this article.
“This is a diet that is very high-protein, high-fiber and low in fat.
That’s the kind of diet that will give you a good nutritional boost.”
In addition to the high protein content of this diet, brown has high fibre and protein.
“For people who want to get the best bang for their buck, brown can be a great food to eat,” says Das.
“And if you don’t eat it all the time, it’s easy to add it into meals, especially when you’re at a low weight.”
The best brown rice recipes You can find the best brown-rice recipes at Food and Fitness World.
“Most people would eat this diet for the health benefits and also the low fat and protein,” says Vasudev.
“With brown rice you get a little bit of both, and