A person in Spain consumes at least two kilograms of white rice a year. A figure that has not stopped increasing in the last two decades. And it is that rice is a food that is very easy to combine with other dishes and that many consider essential in their diet.
White rice is a processed food obtained after husking and subsequent bleaching and polishing of the rice grain. As Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Navarra, points out in What is healthy eating? (Planet, 2020), rice is naturally whole grain and brown, so to make it white you have to eliminate its germ and its bran. Despite this, it is the most consumed variety, but also the one that has less vitamins and proteins than other types like brown rice.
Although, as with other foods, the idea is to make moderate consumption of white rice, do not eliminate it 100%. In addition, this food of oriental origin is usually eaten in large quantities, so experts recommend reducing them so that the digestion and assimilation of the cereal are less heavy.
Blood sugar spikes
White rice is found in a large part of the dishes consumed in Spain, even in paella, which is made with this variety. Scientists from Harvard University published a study in which they pointed out that eating this food daily could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, a disease in which the levels of glucose or sugar in the blood are too high.
Specifically, they studied 352,384 participants from four countries: China, Japan, the United States and Australia, and the results showed that subjects who ingested larger amounts of the cereal had a 27% greater chance of developing the disease.
The reason? As the Martínez-González book collects, our body rapidly transforms the starch of white rice into glucose, which produces dangerous spikes in blood sugar. This in turn, in addition to the risk of suffering from diseases such as diabetes, generates resistance to insulin and metabolic syndrome, among others.
As an alternative, experts recommend the consumption of brown rice for its high content of fiber, vitamins and minerals. In addition, this variety does not affect blood glucose levels as much and can be included without problems in the Mediterranean diet. They also advise cooking them with vegetables, fish or seafood to enhance their nutritional contribution.
The danger of arsenic
Arsenic is a naturally occurring carcinogen in foods like rice. Consumer ReportsIn one study, he found that comparing varieties of brown and white rice in different supermarkets, a large amount of them contained arsenic. Later, it was reported that many rice cereals and pasta products contained “more than the maximum amount of rice that they recommended to consume in a week”.
In this sense, it is important to know that has a high level of arsenic compared to most foods, because it absorbs about 10 times more toxic inorganic arsenic than other cereal crops.
The reason why rice has so much arsenic is due to the way it is grown in flooded paddy fields. This causes the carcinogenic components of the soil. According to an investigation published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, contaminated groundwater is one of the greatest public health threats in relation to exposure to this metal. For this reason, some countries have regulations designed in such a way that these risks are limited and therefore reduced with the consumption of rice.
Thus, if consumed, it is recommended to wash it before and after cooking, which will eliminate 50% of the carcinogen, even though some of the most beneficial nutrients are also used up.
The foods that satisfy the most are those rich in fiber, such as legumes, whole grains or vegetables. White rice would not be on this list, since it is a product that it is very easy to digest being very cooked. This is the reason why, for example, grilled vegetables will digest slower than if they are cooked. The stomach doesn’t have to work as hard on your digestion.
In this sense, it is easy to notice a Feeling fullat the time of consuming rice, but it is something that will disappear much faster than when other less processed foods are eaten.
In countries like China or Japan, they tend to mix this food with soy, which balances the amount of protein, as well as vegetables that provide fiber and can be more satiating with smaller portions.
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