Is rice a whole grain? And what *is* a whole grain really?

November 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Nutrition Tips

Is rice a whole grain? You bet! Rice as a grain contains many B-vitamins including thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and many essential minerals such as manganese, phosphorus and iron. Brown rice happens to contains more nutrients and fibre than its white rice counterpart because the bran and germ haven’t been removed (which is where many of the nutrients are found). It is incredible that the process of making rice white destroys 67% of the niacin, 80% thiamin, 90% of vitamin B6, half the manganese and phosphorus, 60% of the iron and almost all the dietary fibre and essential fatty acids. Um, wondering why we eat white rice at all….me too!

But brown rice isn’t the ‘be all end all’ either… compared to white rice, it looks amazingly rich in nutrients however any rice, whether it be white or brown does not contain a satisfactory amount of dietary fibre needed to meet our recommended fibre needs (25g per day for women and 38g per day for men).  One fourths of a cup (about a cup cooked) of brown rice, red rice, wild rice (which is actually a grass not a grain…) or other whole grain rice will only contain a maximum of 3 g fibre.  True, that’s more fibre than in white rice which is about 1g per cooked cup, but hardly worth celebrating over.

So what do I recommend?  Try a variety of different whole grains; quinoa, barley, buckwheat and millet all have more than 6 g of fibre per cooked cup and are more flavourful than your typical rice.  Barley is an especially good substitute for rice in dishes like curries and stir fry’s.  So mix it up a little and enjoy!