We all know what rice is, but do we really know what rice is? It may shock you to know that rice is actually the seed of the grass (species Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima). It is a cereal grain and the most widely consumed staple food in the world, particularly by our Oriental and South Asian brothers and sisters.
While today there are many variations of rice, such as the evil white rice (just like the evil white man), there is also the good and healthy brown rice, red rice, and wild rice. However did you know that genetic evidence has shown that all modern rice originates from a single domestication from about 8,200 to 13,500 years ago. That is a hell of a long time!
The archeological and genetic data shows that rice was first domesticated (a weird term in relation to agriculture, however in this case the word domesticate refers to adapting a plant so as to be cultivated by and beneficial to human beings) in the Pearl River valley region of China. No wonder the stereotypes of Chinese people and rice have endured for so long; these bastards have been eating this shit for literally over 9,000 years!
Now, when it comes to nutrition, we all know that the different types of rice have pretty varying nutritional properties. However, one thing is definitely stays constant; all the various types of rice are a main source of carbohydrates , the difference being in the Glycemic Index of each strain.
FUN FACT: Rice contains protein as well! In fact, 100g of long grain white rice yields 7g of protein! Bet you didn’t know that, did ya?
Before we go on, what is the glycemic index? Well, basically the Glycemic Index, or GI for short, is a number that is assigned to foods that measures the food’s effect on a person’s blood glucose level. A value of 100 represents that the entirety of the carbs in the food will be converted into blood glucose (or blood sugar). Basically the ‘fast carbs’ such as white bread and white rice have higher GI values while the ‘slow carbs’ such as whole grains, brown rice, and red rice have comparatively lower GI values.
So how much the GI values of brown rice and white rice differ? Well firstly, white rice and brown rice are the same damn thing! All white rice is further processed brown rice i.e. the rice grains have the outer hull and the bran layer removed, leaving only the starchy white endosperm (remember how I said that rice are seeds? Well, guess what? Seeds are basically the plant world’s equivalent of sperm, why do you think seed was used as a colloquial term for sperm? So basically every time you eat a serving of rice, know that you are eating a big mouthful of plant sperm).
Brown rice on the other hand, is white rice with the bran left on (or alternatively, white rice is brown rice with the bran layer removed). The bran layer contains fiber, vitamins, minerals, and oils, making it a more nutritious option. So definitely choose brown rice over white rice, if possible. However did you know that in terms of GI value, brown rice (55) is almost equivalent to long grain white rice (56)? Although it is definitely way lower compared to short grain brown rice, which has a GI value of 72.
Which brings me to my next post? Short grain and long grain; what’s the difference? Stay tuned!