The Downsides Of Eating White Rice

If you love white rice, you're in good company. According to Statista, rice remains one of the most popular grains in the United States, with Americans having consumed over 4 million metric tons of rice between 2019 to 2020. This is understandable, since rice pairs well with a seemingly endless amount of foods and is often the main dish itself.

So if so many people eat rice, how can there be any downsides? It ultimately depends on how refined the rice is that you consume. According to Healthline, if you're a brown rice eater, then you're getting the original — or whole grain — version of the rice, which is rich in fiber, proteins, and other nutrients. The problem with white rice is that, while it started off as whole grain, it's put through a milling process to lengthen the shelf life, which, in turn, removes some of its initial healthy components (via Healthline).

Does this mean that the next time you plan to eat white rice that you need to think twice?

Is eating white rice too risky?

In addition to having fewer nutrients than its original whole-grain version, eating white rice includes a few specific health risks. For one, if you're at risk for type 2 diabetes, you should probably stay away from white rice. According to Harvard Health Publishing, white rice ranks high on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is an indicator of how many carbohydrates are in foods and how likely a person's blood sugar will rise (via Medical News Today). Another thing to consider is the calories inherent in white rice. A small quantity of white rice with your go-to Thai curry dish or favorite Chinese take-out will likely not have adverse effects, but if you regularly go overboard, this could pack on the pounds (via Livestrong). And according to Insider, studies have found that white rice can also contain arsenic.

But it isn't all bad news! Insider also reveals that white rice still contains some nutritional value. Also, white rice in the US is often enriched with nutrients, and because white rice is low in fiber it could be helpful with digestion (via University of Michigan). 

However, if you are concerned about health risks or a widening waistline, there are many delicious varieties of rice to choose from that will give you more nutrients and fewer calories than white rice (via Well+Good). 

So, no need to lay down those chopsticks. You've got plenty of options if this beloved grain is an ingrained part of your diet.