Happy start of August my friends!
Hope all that had the day off on Monday enjoyed their long weekend!
So I just wanted to drop a line very briefly as we move into the next month on some of my gut stuff. The reason why I thought to do this was because I actually conquered a fear yesterday morning all in the name of gut happiness..
Yes my friends. White rice.
Sounds silly to be afraid of white rice, but you see, I have been afraid of white rice for years now and can say that I haven’t touched the stuff since I was like 10.
Why? It’s pretty natural, so why be afraid?
~Simple carbs…ZOMG SUGAR!
These are some of the many thoughts that I have believed for years all thanks to the media. So with that, I refused to eat it. Brown rice only!
To be honest, I don’t enjoy rice really (boring…) so that is also a reason why I don’t tend to eat it (I love my rice cakes though!) but with all of my gut struggles, it was time to really key in on some of my diet staples and some associations started to be formed.
My two hardest meals, where I now take those new digestive-aid pills (I talked about them here) is after my pre-workout and my dinner. Those are the meals that my stomach is often ready to put up a fuss that then lasts onwards either into the next morning, or throughout much of the morning and afternoon.
You know what is constant in both of those meals?
My bae (what do you think of this word? I actually kinda loathe it…)..
Sweet taters. My beloved orange (or white or purple!) gems.
I have tried to be naive about it for so long because I just cannot fathom eating less of them then I do but I looked it up and they happen to be a somewhat high FODMAP food and are only supposed to be eaten in small doses.
Whats the tummy friendly amount for most?
1/2 a cup (or around 100g)
How much do I consume in one day normally…
ummm…maybe 300g…ooops. Well this is awkward.
Epic fail on my part. But it’s one of my main carbohydrate sources and since my carbs are high, well so is the amount of those. Seeing that, it would be no surprise to me if they are NOT helping with my tummy struggles.
So for the next week, I will be doing a white rice trial for all of my pre-workout meals to see how my tummy feels. Yesterday (1st day) it felt a bit crampy at first, probably because it wasn’t used to it, but then it was all good and actually I noticed less bloat so I hope that is what continues.
I will keep you updated.
So on this topic and going back to my ‘thoughts’ on white rice, I wanted to take this moment to address why those thoughts are irrational from both a gut health AND overall health perspective.
For gut purposes.
What foods do you eat when you’re sick? Rice. Plain. White. Rice. Yes, so it should be of no surprise that this should be easy on the tummy. White rice is a simple carbohydrate that doesn’t take the body much effort to digest and with that, less discomfort is often the result. So, as an alternative GF carbohydrate source that I need to digest quickly and not sit angrily in my stomach during my workout, this seems like a great choice…
…on paper that is…
Yes, on paper I can see that it’s a great option for me, especially during this time when apparently my stomach hates everything, but I also then have to battle the anxiety that has been created from those society driven beliefs that have kept me from this grain for so long.
So with that, here’s why eating white rice is NOT bad for you.
White rice and the body.
Th first thing that often comes to people’s mind is:
OMG simple carbohydrate, that means a sugar spike and insulin levels going crazy. Insulin means fat gain so therefore, no rice for you.
Plus, hello, it’s so high in carbs…
While white rice is a simple carbohydrate, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t or can’t eat it. Furthermore, it doesn’t mean that if you eat it you will get fat. There is a time and place for foods like this… I believe.
Okay, so it is true that white rice has been stripped of most of its nutrient properties during the processing procedure, which leaves it mostly being a source of starch and not much else. This loss of fibre is also what contributes to how quickly the body is able to digest it because fibre is ultimately one component that slows the breakdown and absorption of the carbohydrates. This then does have an effect on your blood sugar and therefore insulin levels as well.
That being said, who generally eats a bowl of white rice alone?
Often you are eating it with a protein source and quite possibly some vegetables, both of which slow digestion of the entire meal. So just because the rice no longer has the fibre in it, that doesn’t mean that it’s a blood sugar spiker in the context of a whole meal.
This is one of the various reasons why the glycemic index is flawed and shouldn’t really be considered when looking at the ‘health’ of a food item. The original study that looked into it had fasted subjects eat JUST those single food items, so yes, in those cases, things like white bread, white rice and potatoes would definitely have a larger effect on blood sugar than something richer in fibre, protein and fat.
Context people, context.
So, will white rice make you fat? No. One, because no single food makes you instantly fat. Two, you eat it with other things which will have an effect on how the body handles it.
Check out this review for some info!
“Thus while it is clear that combining foods does influence GI and that the addition of protein and fat to a carbohydrate containing meal can appreciably reduce the glycemic response (Venn & Green, 2007).”
It has been known for some time that insulin response cannot be predicted based solely on the glycemic response to a food (Venn & Green, 2007).”
So does that mean I can have white, processed stuff all the time?
Well I’m gunna say no on this point. While I’m arguing that white rice is not bad for you, it doesn’t have the nutrients that other grains and starch sources do. So looking at prioritizing nutrients here, for pre-workout or post workout when you are looking for something fast digesting and a good carbohydrate source, white rice is great. Elsewhere in the day, I would suggest using carbohydrates with a lil more staying power.
These have more fibre which will keep you satiated longer and therefore delay your next meal. One big reason why people may gain weight eating more processed foods is simply because they are hungry too quickly and end up OVER EATING and thus going over their daily calories.
Fibre. Protein. Fats. Water dense.
These guys keep you full!
Furthermore, you have to have variety in your diet to get all of your required micronutrients (i.e. minerals and vitamins). Having white rice before my workout doesn’t change the fact that I still hit a high amount of fibre and get all my micros in a given day.
So with that I will wrap it up here. To conclude I will say that I’m happy to take this leap of faith and go against what society tells me about eating white rice. I will test and see how it works as a fuel for my workouts compared to the sweet potato and also how my stomach deals with the change.
Have a great week friends!