Is white rice healthy or not is a question that many ask when putting together a healthy meal plan. It is no surprise that athletes go through a rigorous exercise and health regime to gain their physical proficiency. Even though physical exercise constitutes a significant part of it, dietary habits also contribute significantly towards this. When talking about food habits of athletes, the most debated among all food items is nothing more than the humble rice.
But a common confusion is if white rice is healthy and if it’s ok to use as a main staple or if brown rice is the way to go? Before you can answer that question it’s important to understand the difference between the two. The rice grain is made up of three different parts the bran which is the firm out layer, the germ and the endosperm.
When the grain is whole it is considered brown rice or Whole grain rice. White rice is the inner endosperm part that is produced after it is milled to remove the bran and germ. Leaving the small white part which is fluffy when cooked and is carb rich and goes well with most foods and more pleasing on the taste buds. However, it’s the bran and the germ is the part that contains most of the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. For that reason white rice gets a bad rap for being empty calories.
However While there are some who swear by the nutritious content of brown rice, others consider white rice just as healthy and the best option. It’s no surprise that brown rice has created a place for itself in the list of ‘health food’. There are still some pointers which put white rice in a comparatively better light, especially when it comes to athletes.
The thing about white rice is that it comes with a higher level of glycemic value. It is known to provide fast fuel to the body for people undergoing extensive workouts and dealing with muscle recovery. It is a simple and safe carbohydrate which does not include any adverse effects on the body like stomach issues, allergies, etc. Whole grains like brown rice carry phytic acid (phytate). It is an agent which repels the nutrients from the body. This prevents the body from absorbing crucial minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. So for athletes or very active people looking to take in a lot of calories and have a high-calorie burn rate white rice is a much more efficient choice.
Athletes have no spare time to entertain stomach issues which the consumption of brown rice can cause. Brown rice contains a higher amount of fiber. People struggling with food-related issues may face problem while consuming whole grain. The rigorous physical activity required by an athlete requires a higher intake quantity of carbs. That is ideally around 60g/h of carbs. This is especially true for exercises lasting longer than the two hours. Terming white rice healthier as it is a safe carbohydrate makes total sense. It is best to intake it before an exercise session. It is fairly easy to digest and meets the physical nutritional requirements well.
Since rice is richer in carbohydrates compared to potatoes, normal rice is healthy and suggested for pre and post-workout meals. It is a meal which ensures that the body is getting enough nutrients for competitive physical sports. This makes it the best-suited option for weightlifters and sportsmen. However, it is not the best food option out there for underactive people. This includes people training less than 4 days a week and suffering from a slow metabolism. In this case, brown rice happens to be the best choice.
While it is true that different people respond to different food types differently, there is a fair case in favor of white rice in place. This is true for athletes having a high physical requirement and needing specific kind of diet for their chosen career. We encourage you to take and give both options a fair research before choosing the type of rice for your diet. An athletes body is an investment and one should be careful about what to put in their body. Taking a well-researched, calculated decision can save one from a lot of unprecedented physical problems later on.
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