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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know brown rice is healthier than white rice, because it contains the whole grain, right? So why is the rice processed in the first place?<br><br>
What got me thinking about this, is that I eat a lot of white rice. My mother is half Asian, grew up in Hong Kong, and Asian foods are a large part of our staple diet. It's my "comfort food". I've always always eaten Asian food with white rice. I was thinking maybe I should switch to brown rice, then wondered why it is that people in China and other parts of Asia eat white rice - particularly in cases of poverty or starvation, when people have little more than rice to live on, why would you remove the healthy parts? Why is white rice "standard"?
 

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Perhaps because it looks prettier? Also generally it's cheaper. Some times even tastier for palates who are not used to. I've read that some times they even use bleach in the process.
 

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I don't have any answers, but interesting question though. I suppose its the same as most people using white flour vs whole grain flour. I grew up eating white rice, but switched to brown rice after dd was born. Brown rice is a lot more satisfying. White rice now seems a lot more delicate and "refined".
 

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I don't know if this is true, but my mom told me this awhile ago. She listens to WI public radio a lot and so knows tons about a variety of topics.<br><br>
She heard that eastern cultures don't eat brown rice because traditionally they viewed the hulls as containing toxins and they removed them for that reason and ate white rice.<br><br>
It is interesting that white rice is eaten throughout the east. When I was in India, I only saw white rice as well.<br><br>
I personally try to eat brown rice but it gives me a stomach ache, so often find myself cooking white rice.
 

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a lot of fiber in the brown shell of rice, which contributes very little to calorice intake. but if you think of the reasons us G7-types are told to consume fiber, i can see why people from relatively under-nourished parts of the world might dispense with it.<br><br>
i'd also wager there is a cultural "the rich eat white" undercurrent.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by Piglet68</i><br><b>I was thinking maybe I should switch to brown rice, then wondered why it is that people in China and other parts of Asia eat white rice - particularly in cases of poverty or starvation, when people have little more than rice to live on, why would you remove the healthy parts?</b></td>
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The first thought I had is that white bread, like rice, is the standard too. I think it all started with the industrial revolution. Manufacturers don't like whole grains because they go rancid faster and have a short shelf life (whole wheat, brown rice, etc.). The also seem to like us to eat food that we don't have to chew - that way we eat more. White rice has virtually no nutrition - even if it's enriched, it doesn't make up for the nutrients lost. Brown rice has the most B vitamins of any grain, and also contains iron, vitamin E, amino acids, and linoleic acid.<br><br>
Anyway - I guess you can tell I'm a fan of brown rice. In fact, it's the food of choice with my husband and kids. They'd eat it every day if they could.
 

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Thanks Piglet for asking this.....<br><br>
So, is <i>white rice bad?</i> Other than the fiber in brown rice, are brown and white rice equal nutritionally?<br><br>
I love jasmine/basmati rice. if i wanted, could i do equal portions brown and white together in the rice cooker?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I wouldn't go so far as to say white rice is "bad". After all, billions of Asians can't be wrong, right? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
cathe: interesting points. however, doesn't white rice in asia long predate the industrial age?<br><br>
does anybody know? when Marco Polo found Asia...were they eating white rice then?
 

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I am curious too how long they have been eating white rice. I know in Aurveda (sorry about spelling) they at white rice in warm weather and brown in cooler weather.<br><br>
I wonder if it is was prestige thing - like in Europe rich people had white bread and peasants ate brown.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">i'd also wager there is a cultural "the rich eat white" undercurrent.</td>
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oops - guess I wasn't reading that carefully. Dado had the same idea.
 

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I understood from my mom that white rice was eaten way before the industrial revolution in asia- it was a historical food. I wish I had some more concrete data on that. Can anyone find some?
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I wouldn't go so far as to say white rice is "bad". After all, billions of Asians can't be wrong, right?</td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blush"> Sorry Piglet, I meant "bad for you".<br><br>
Piglet, one of my favorite comfort foods before a big presentation in school is Thai "sticky rice" with mango. and that yummy creamy coconut sauce.<br><br>
Edited because i re-read Cathe's post explaining the nutritional benefits of brown rice.
 

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Piglet, look for a history of beriberi.<br><br>
I just did a quick web search and came up with this <a href="http://www.geocities.com/cheeaungroup2001/Beri.htm" target="_blank">site</a> which says
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">In East Asian countries, where polished white rice is a dietary staple, beriberi has been known for over 1,000 years.</td>
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh no, sweetbaby, I knew you meant "bad for you". I was just joking about how asians are known to be a fairly healthy lot, and so how could white rice be that bad for you?<br><br>
well, i'm going to look into this a bit more if I get a chance. in the meantime, I think i'll stick with white rice for my favorite stir-fry recipes, and for curries, but for other things we make (like lentils, curried tofu, thai curried veggies) I'm going to try it on brown rice.<br><br>
I actually love all types of brown rice, including wild rice. I used to make a delicious salad with a mix of brown/black/wild rices and some raisins...
 

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I know its not the healthiest, but this thread is making me crave a pot of white basmati rice.
 

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Interesting thread<br><br>
But Piglet - isn't wild rice actually not rice but seeds? I know that sounds strange but I remember when I lived in Minnesota, that was the common knowledge about wild rice<br><br>
does anyone know?
 

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Wild rice is definitely not the same thing as rice botanically speaking.<br><br>
I lived in Japan for several years, and my understanding is that white rice, historically speaking, was food for the upper classes, while brown rice was peasant food. Of course, with the advent of modern processing technology that made white rice affordable to the masses, everyone switched to white. Same as in the West, brown bread used to be peasant fare and white was for the upper classes who could afford it, until it became affordable for everyone. The widespread white-rice eating thing is only a product of the last 100 years or so, so it's not an ages-old tradition, at least for the majority of people.<br><br>
My Japanese friends always thought I was a nut for buying and eating brown rice....it was a regular topic of conversation, especially if I got introduced to new people. "This is Jane, she eats <i>brown rice.</i> That's so healthy, but so unusual! Foreigners do the wackiest things, don't they!"
 

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I think white rice might be easier to digest. A lot of people in my family get stomach aches (me included) from brown rice but not white rice. We tend to be genetically thin (the ones with trouble eating brown rice) and have trouble keeping our weight on. I wonder if just getting the calories isn't more important for some populations than eating brown rice- and maybe that has something to do with the tradition of eating it?<br><br>
Perhaps some people do better with white rice, and that has to do with its rise in popularity?
 

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According to Walter C. Willet (Eat, Drink and Be Healthy) Asians have historically gotten away with eating a lot of white rice because:<br><br>
1. they didn't eat a lot of meat<br>
2. they didn't eat a lot of dairy<br>
4. they ate tons of veggies<br>
5. they got a lot of exercise<br><br>
In modern Asia with more office workers and MacDonald's Asians are getting fat and diabetic just like North Americans.<br><br>
My husband has a theory that Asians were historically short due to malnutrition. They are taller now that they eat a more North American diet.<br><br>
I have found that brown rice goes quite well with certain foods just as whole wheat pasta goes well with certain sauces. So I sub for these meals and have found myself more open minded to sub'ing for others as well. It grows on you and I swore I'd never like it!
 
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