I like eating healthy food. So, for years I always choose brown rice. That’s what dieticians told me at least. There’s more fiber in brown rice than white.
But, that was until my Asian friend told me that Asians know that white rice is healthier.
At first I was shocked and brushed it off. But I researched it and sure enough she was right.
Brown rice may be healthier in some ways but the negative qualities of it outweigh the benefits.
Why is Brown Rice Bad?
Let’s get down to the truth.
The truth is Brown Rice contains higher levels of arsenic, a toxic metal you don’t want in your body. Brown rice has 80 percent more inorganic arsenic on average than white rice.
Because of how brown rice is processed (or unprocessed), the arsenic remains on the brown rice more than on white rice.
Arsenic mostly comes from the pesticides used to grow the rice and sometimes it just stays in the soil over time. The rice absorbs arsenic if the soils has it.
What Rice is Healthiest?
Choose White Basmati rice first, and Jasmine second.
Also, if you can, try to get rice grown from California, which tends to have lower levels of arsenic than rice grown in other parts of the US. Apparently Texas has the highest levels of arsenic because of all the pesticides used. So avoid Texas rice at all costs!
Organic or non-organic doesn’t really make a difference.
How Can I Remove Arsenic from my Rice?
There are two ways to prepare rice that removes arsenic.
1. Soak your rice before cooking. Then, rinse. I always do this anyway because it makes the rice fluffier. This removes some of the arsenic.
2. Cook your rice like you cook pasta (use six times as much water as rice and drain the rice after it’s finished cooking) to get rid of about half the arsenic.
Which Gluten-Free Foods are Rice-Based?
Even white rice has some levels of arsenic so it’s a good idea to eat them in moderation, too. If you’re gluten-free probably a lot of the products you eat are rice-based.
These are some common gluten-free foods you may have forgotten are rice-based.
Gluten-free foods made with rice:
- Rice milk
- Rice cereal
- Rice-based baby formula
- Brown rice syrup
- Rice-based snack foods
Try to vary them with other gluten-free grains like buckwheat, millet or quinoa.
I don’t want to add another worry to your life. I was just happy to know that I can still eat white rice pretty guilt-free.
Instead of eating brown rice, I’ll get my whole grains from other sources like quinoa, buckwheat, oats, barley and farro.
Like with everything in life, do it in moderation.
I don’t see eating rice as a concern but if your cereals, drinks and other foods are rice based, try to switch it up.
Don’t buy so many processed rice foods and cook rice yourself so you can rinse it.
Chef Joanna | Chef Joanna’s Kitchen