Rice is rice is rice, right?
I figured flavor and texture might vary, but I figured nutritionally that statement was correct. But I was wrong.
I came upon this fact through personal experimentation. At this time, I am trying to maintain a daily macronutrient ratio of about 195 grams of Protein, about 100 grams of carbs and 200 grams of fat. Though I have increased my intake of green vegetables, it takes a truckload to fuel my daily carb requirements. To get my carbs I need to go to starchy veggies like sweet potatoes and winter squashes. Sometimes I opt for white rice.
My personal favorite is Jasmine rice. I like it’s moist and sticky texture. And it is very reasonably priced, especially if you get a five-pound bag at the local asian markets.
I also like Basmati rice, but I find it to be dryer and since it isn’t as sticky, the grains are fluffier.
Both of these rices have a delightful aroma when they are cooking in my rice cooker.
So back to my intro; rice is rice is rice. Yes, and no. Though one may see little difference in these two varieties, your body sees them as considerably different. The Jasmine Rice has a Glycemic Index (GI) of 109. Basmati Rice is almost half that at 58. What does that mean?
The Glycemic Index (GI) of a food is a measurement of how quickly blood sugar levels (i.e., levels of glucose in the blood) rise after eating a particular type of food. But GI is only part of the equation. The other component is called Glycemic Load (GL), which considers the volume of this food consumed and it’s Glycemic Index. Foods are classified as having a Low (<=55), Medium (56-69 ), or High (>=70 ) Glycemic Index. A low GI food will release glucose more slowly and steadily, which produces a more suitable post-meal blood glucose readings.
But simply knowing the GI and GL of a food aren’t the only variables. Since foods are seldom eaten as the sole component of a meal, one must consider the potential interaction of these foods, when combined as a meal. For example, adding vinegar will lower GI. Fat can slow down digestion, and so reduce GI. While adding fat or protein will lower the glycemic response to a meal, the relative differences remain. That is, with or without additions, there is still a higher blood glucose curve after a higher GI rice, such as Jasmine, than after a lower GI rice such as Basmati.
My new found curiosity regarding Glycemic Load is because it appears to be beneficial to me in understanding insulin resistance, and weight management.
Though I compared two varieties of rice, there are a gazillion that you can sample. This link will highlight some of the characteristics, but you will have to Google them yourself to check on the GI of each variety.
Who woulda thunk that advice as simple as “eat white rice” could be so complicated?