White rice causes a high glycemic response, and brown rice is recognized as a whole gain product that has been associated with lowering the risk of diabetes. Last year, the American Dietetic Association published a study that examined the awareness and acceptability of substituting brown rice for white rice in Chinese adults. They also examined whether it was a feasible substitution. 

The focus-group study examined that attitudes of Chinese adults living in Shanghai, China, towards consuming brown rice. Researchers noted that although the attitudes toward brown rice had been that it tasted inferior to white rice, once the participants were informed of the nutritional benefits of brown rice, they were more willing to consume brown rice.

Brown rice has a bad rap for being a bit grittier, rougher, and chewier than white rice, and those are legitimate gripes. An additional drawback to brown rice is that the cooking time is much longer. Even so, brown rice has great nutritional benefits, such as fiber and vitamin content. The researchers asserted that the insoluble fiber content of the brown rice helps to lower postprandial blood glucose levels, and the rice brain oil may help to lower cholesterol. We should make more efforts to eat whole grains, including brown rice, in order to get those nutritional benefits.

The study participants said that the costs of brown rice should be less than white rice, since less processing is needed to create it. Brown rice can also be processed into other products, like flour, and still provide some of the nutritional benefits. Developing the palate for brown rice is also necessary, because it does have a different taste and texture than white rice.

What would encourage you to eat more brown rice? What was your “trick” to introducing brown rice to your family?

American Dietetic Association “Substituting Brown Rice for White Rice to Lower Diabetes Risk: A Focus-Group Stud in Chinese Adults” by Zhang, et al. 2010. Vol 110, Num 8. Pp. 1216-1221. What’s the difference between white rice and brown rice?