The Facts About Rice

Find out what to look for when shopping for rice.

The Facts About Rice

A staple in cuisines around the world, rice is widely available and known for its variety. From quick-cooking microwaveable rice pouches to the rice with the least amount of arsenic, get the quick facts behind this popular whole grain.

Watch: Mark Bittman Makes Mix-and-Match Brown Rice Meals


Not all rice is created equally. The healthiest options are rice varieties like brown rice and wild rice with their bran and fiber intact. Along with fiber, rice is also a source of essential minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and selenium. Some microwave rice pouches are labeled “parboiled,” which indicates the rice is partly boiled and requires less time to cook. When the rice is soaked, it can act as a resistant starch and increase the vitamin B content. This promotes satiety, lowers insulin response in the body, and may improve digestion and fat metabolism as well.

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Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

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