Got rice?

I grew up eating white rice.  We had rice every day, even if it didn’t seem to go with the rest of the menu (e.g., spaghetti with red sauce and rice).

As a kid I wanted to eat potatoes, probably because we rarely ate them.  My mother would occasionally splurge on tater tots, however.  She used them to adorn a casserole made out of hamburger.

As a kid I was shocked to find that some white friends put butter and sugar on their rice.  My parents and grandparents were strict plain-white-rice adherents.  My grandmother used to yell at my cousin for dousing his rice with soy sauce.

As an adult I stopped eating rice on a daily basis. But I still ate enough of it to buy it in twenty-five pound sacks.  I cooked it three or four times a week.  Which meant maybe nine to twelve servings.  It was comfort food.  Also I found out I really don’t like potatoes all that much.  Maybe I just liked the idea of potatoes.

Later I began eating brown rice.  It took me a long time to get used to it.  I still can’t say I like it.  I’m still experimenting with different types to see if there will be one type I really like (suggestions, anyone?).  The pantry holds Korean sweet rice, Japanese brown rice, Thai purple rice, brown basmati and an eight-grain mix called Kagayaki.  Now I eat brown rice about twice a week and white rice about twice a month.  Progress, I guess.

I stopped eating so much white rice for health reasons.  My Asian doctor happened to mention that Asian Americans are more prone to diabetes, even when they are not overweight.  One of my relatives who is not the slightest bit overweight has diabetes.  So she tested me for diabetes.  Fortunately, I don’t have it.  One of my siblings does but is morbidly obese.  I’d also guess that drinking 6-7 cans of soda a day doesn’t help.

It’s a definite advantage to have an Asian doctor who knows about the risks specific to Asians, whether it be keloids or glaucoma or diabetes or osteoporosis.  (Post to follow about white doctors who argue with me despite not knowing shit.)

Is it any surprise that those who eat brown rice have a lower risk of developing diabetes?

I’m curious how many Asians were included in that study, since the article notes “It’s important to note that white rice contributed less than 2 percent of total calories for study subjects; brown rice less than 1 percent.”  The study reportedly covered 197,228 health care workers, 80 percent of whom were female.  (Source.)  So I’d assume a large number were Asian since Filipinos are a huge percentage of health care workers.

How much white rice was associated with the higher risk?  Five or more servings.  Which was about two days worth in my childhood household.

I’m curious that the study didn’t look into other foods with a high glycemic index.  Because I ate white bread when growing up, too. Lots of white pasta as well.

We used to buy rice in hundred pound sacks.  Then fifty.  I bought rice in twenty-five pound sacks, then twenty pounds.  Now the sack has been downsized to fifteen.

In any event, I doubt I’ll ever give up eating white rice entirely.  Funny how just thinking about it makes me want some.

Got rice?  What kind?

14 thoughts on “Got rice?

  1. I eat rice fairly often, but always brown rice. For me, the difficult switch from white to brown was white pasta. Growing up with an Italian-American mom meant lots of white pasta dishes. I’ve largely switched to whole wheat pasta, but it’s a tough sell with the rest of my family.

  2. I grew up eating white rice daily. My family would basically refuse to begin eating if the rice wasn’t ready. My son doesn’t like rice very much and I find myself pushing him to eat it although I’m aware of the diabetes link. Somehow I find it so troubling that he doesn’t like it. There was so much emphasis placed on rice growing up that I feel like I’m not doing a good job parenting him if he doesn’t love rice too.

    We eat white California grown Japanese rice. I don’t mind brown rice but find my family is more comfortable eating a half white/half brown blend.

  3. Study author’s name sounds Chinese, but I would say it would depend on the area of the country how many of the participants were Asian. Where I live, most doctors are either White, Black, Pakistani or Indian with a few Asians. The nursing aides/medical assistants are predominantly Black. RN’s are Black, White or Asian. We are just starting to see Hispanic people where i live so if it was done here, wouldn’t be a lot of Hispanics people.

    I also hate epidemiological studies because you don’t know what other factors are involved. On the other hand, numerous trials have shown improvement with lower glycemic index diet and brown rice does have a lower glycemic index than white rice.

  4. we make white rice at home, generally 2 times a week (but I make in bulk and refrigerate so we actually eat it nearly every day). i have brown rice when i go out to eat…i would also love to know if anybody knows a really good brown rice brand/type. we’re still working on switching from white pasta…it’s a process. i also grew up with white bread, and i think that’s been the easiest switch for me b/c i think that multi-grains and (basically anything other than white) others just taste better.

  5. I never really considered buying a bag heavier than 3 or 5 pounds. However, before changing our diet, we also ate a lot of white pasta, rice and other refined grains. Now that we’ve switched to exclusively brown rice and whole grains I don’t even notice the difference anymore.

    Brown rice is just rice.

    The source study for this research is called the Nursed Health Study at Harvard:

    It has been criticized in a number of ways by many professional scientists including T. Colin Campbell, because all most all the participants eat the standard American diet. Very low vegetable intake, very little whole grains, almost no fruit, and copious amounts of meat, processed food or processed soy products in all the diets.

  6. If I get my way, I’m gonna eat white rice every day till my dying day.

    Okay that’s probably not the most helpful thing to say, but it’s honest. My grandparents were doctors and the current generation has 3 doctors and nobody has dared say anything about this at family gatherings. Now I’m wondering if they’re holding back. Who knows. I could probably take up a mixture at some point, but I’m not switching to pure brown rice, come on, too nutty and chewy and it alters all the flavors and not in a good way. For now I’ll just have to risk it. I don’t eat any sweets and I exercise daily so maybe that’s all I need. Um, according to…my feelings. :)

  7. I’ve shopped around for different types of brown and red rice, and most didn’t taste good to me, except for brown jasmine rice (also called jasmine cargo rice). I assume that this is just unmilled jasmine rice. This is my regular rice now. My brown jasmine rice/jasmine cargo rice is Rose Brand, but I suppose any brand would be okay.

    Brown basmati is supposed to have a lower glycemic index than brown jasmine/jasmine cargo, but I think brown jasmine/jasmine cargo tastes better.

    I never liked the white rice I ate growing up. However, I gave the brown jasmine/jasmine cargo rice to a friend who is used to eating white rice everyday (still), and they thought it tasted good too.

  8. but I’m not switching to pure brown rice, come on, too nutty and chewy and it alters all the flavors and not in a good way

    Have you tried brown jasmine rice, though? I’m betting on it as the brown rice that can convert East Asians. I need a larger sample size, though.

    In my opinion, brown jasmine rice goes well with East Asian food, while other brown (and red) rices I tried didn’t go well and clashed.

  9. I made the bread switch a long time ago. It was hard then but now I don’t notice. I still sometimes eat certain types of white bread, like sourdough. Pasta was/is harder. The extra-thin whole wheat noodles are the most palatable to me. My sister-in-law has been trying to switch her kids so I suggested the extra-thin which they will eat.

    Generally I do the best with changing my diet when I eat alternative foods, rather than eating foods as substitutes. So for example, when I was vegetarian I didn’t eat meat-shaped imitation products. I ate good-tasting vegetarian dishes.

    Brown rice is a food I don’t mind anymore, as a food. But it is not a substitute for white rice. And it’s just wrong for some food combinations.

    Restructure!, I have not tried brown jasmine. Brown basmati has been the least-objectionable white rice substitute to me, so far.

  10. I eat brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta. I also happen to eat the extra-thin whole wheat noodles (angelhair pasta or spaghettini) for the same reason.

    As for vegetarian imitation meat, I think gluten dishes taste good.

  11. When I started noticing gluten allergies I purchased a rice maker and started experimenting. I grew up on brown rice done in a pretty bland fashion. Now I am addicted to Japanese white rice. I am going to have to try some of these other types!

  12. We have always eat white Jasmine rice in my (Filipino) home. I like the brown rice you get at Thai restaurants so I’d like to try brown Jasmine at some point.

  13. My favourite rices are basmati, jasmine and wild rice. Of course they all go well with shrimp gumbo. I like the rice that we get here in Adamawa Nigeria too.

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