How do white and brown rice compare when faced with the demands of a bodybuilder’s diet? Is the difference as big as some marketers want us to believe?
The real difference isn’t huge. However, the distinction can be made in this simple way: both are starchy carbohydrates and both stand for complex carbs. The main issue with white rice – and the reason why it got a bad name – is that the industrial process it goes through strips it off its exterior layers, which contain important nutrients. This is where some essential minerals are stored.
As mentioned, brown rice offers complex carbs in a more natural way than the highly refined white rice. Also, it contains more fiber. The GI is lower (11 for 100g), whereas with white rice it is higher (15 for 100g). However, the calorie count is pretty much the same.
Both types provide energy to the body and to the brain especially, but bodybuilders often argue about superiority of the one to the other. Brown rice is more suitable when you want to cut and reveal shredded muscle that stayed hidden under the fat. It can successfully replace those complex carb foods, like oatmeal that you may have had enough of. White rice is easier to digest because it lacks it exterior layers and therefore causes a blood sugar spike much quicker. This can have an impact on your performance. Also, it can be easier to the body to store digested white rice as fat, easier than it would be with brown rice (See the glycemic index).
Do you really like white rice and would like to keep it in your diet? No problem, since you can slow down its absorption by ingesting it with foods that aren’t so easily digested. To lower the GI, mix it with protein and fat as macronutrients. You may go ahead and eat your white rice as you please, as long as your meals include plenty of nuts, beans, seeds and so on. You have to balance it somehow and pay attention especially to your fiber intake.
Recent studies may still advertize the two varieties as different, but they’re inclined to reveal other aspects that could make roles switch. White rice will cause less discomfort because it is quickly digested and doesn’t lead to bloating or other digestion troubles. The “much healthier” brown rice, on the other hand, is harder to digest and not just that. Its hull, where the extra nutrients are stored, may contain more arsenic. This element, poisonous in large quantities, is quite common in grain hulls and other foods crusts. Therefore, the scales in the end could be inclining in the favor of white rice. In any case, it is not as bad as some try to picture it, nor brown rice is all that good.
To revise this, here is the final word for bodybuilders. Both types will cause an insulin spike, with white rice pushing for higher values. To tone it down, eat it with sufficient fat and fiber. Both are good in meals before training sessions but can be very fattening when you’re not working out and just letting all that energy from carbs to be stored as fat tissue.
If you heavily rely on rice, then you can use a fiber supplement. Take this right before the meal, so your insulin levels don’t go crazy.
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