We’re all counting calories these days. Sometimes, foods rich in carbohydrates – like rice – can get a bad rap, since they provide so much energy. Let’s look closer at this dietary stereotype.
In truth, carbohydrates aren’t the cause of weight gain they’re made out to be – it’s usually the fatty extras we add to these meals, like cheese or creamy sauces, which do the damage. A low-carb diet is actually not recommended by many health professionals, who state that such diets are often high in fat, low in fibre, and lack many essential vitamins and minerals.
Compared to other popular grain products, such as bread or pasta, rice contains a low number of calories, and very little energy in these calories comes from fat. People who eat rice actually tend to gain less weight and feel full for longer periods of time than those who don’t. This means the calories in rice go a long way, even longer than many similar foods.
Most carbohydrate-rich foods rank high on the glycemic index, which measures the rate of sugar absorption in your bloodstream; parboiled white rice, brown rice, and quinoa all score favourably in comparison to similar foods. This means the natural sugars in rice are absorbed into the bloodstream at a slower rate than many other grains, which in turn, helps to control your appetite while delivering a high amount of energy to your body at a steadier pace.
Children and adolescents who eat whole grains generally have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who do not. Studies show no increased risk of metabolic syndrome – a group of conditions that include high blood pressure and cholesterol levels – in people who eat rice. Rice encourages healthy habits in other ways as well – a meal made with rice usually includes a protein and a vegetable, making the whole dish a well-balanced choice.
Don’t just cut calories – make sure you’re choosing foods that are nutritious and avoiding empty calories. Get the most out of your meal by starting with rice.