You want me to do what? Yes, you read that right. Quit white rice! Shocking, right? How could we possibly even consider giving up rice? It makes up a portion of virtually every meal we eat. And, there is the whole fact that our food culture is built around this ancient grain.
We’re about to step on hallowed ground when it comes to eating or not eating white rice in Asia, but we think it’s high time we started the ‘I Quit White Rice’ revolution. So please take a deep breath, read on, and work with us here as we take a journey through this topic.
Firstly, please don’t misunderstand us. We are not saying that carbs are bad. We all need energy from carbs and they are an important part of any balanced diet. What we are saying is that white rice is not the best form of carbs and there are a number of reasons to quit eating it. And besides, if you want to lose weight, keep it off and live healthily, why not get your energy from a food source that will also benefit the rest of your body in the process?
WHY should I quit white rice?
1. Look at the medical evidence …
With 60% of diabetics living in Asia, blood glucose (and its significance to diabetes) is a term you need to be familiar with. Diabetes is a condition where the hormone that controls your blood glucose levels, known as insulin, is either no longer effective or not produced enough. This can lead to other life-threatening conditions. The biggest contributor to diabetes is poor diet and lack of physical activity. The fact that there is such a high proportion of the worlds diabetics living in Asia, research is focusing in on the dietary habits that may be causing this.
With white rice a staple across Asian nations, it stands to reason that it could be a culprit for the dramatic statistics. Research has linked the high proportion of white rice intake to the surge in the diabetes epidemic across Asia. But, this also makes us question – why is it just in recent times that rates of diabetes have skyrocketed, especially considering rice has been a staple for hundreds of years? This is debated, but there is no doubt that the incorporation of highly processed foods combined with a much more sedentary lifestyle, the scales are being completely tipped with an overload of carbohydrates. And the main overload comes from white rice.
2. White rice has a high Glycaemic Index (GI)
This is one index you don’t want to score high on! Food with a high GI means it is digested rather quickly, causing spikes in your blood glucose.
3. White rice is empty calories
The term empty calories refers to a food that has little nutritional value aside from providing simple energy. Arguably white rice falls into this category. It has low nutritional value compared to other foods. Because white rice is the most processed form of the grain, with the husk, bran layer and germ removed you are left with little fibre. Eating white rice may briefly make you have that ‘full’ feeling, but it doesn’t last for long because it is so readily digested. The more wholegrain that is maintained, in any food processing, the better it is for your digestive health.
TYPES of rice
HOW to quit white rice
We get it. The practicalities of quitting white rice completely while living in Asia are not realistic. It would be like cutting off all contact with your mother while she lives in the same house. Firstly, don’t go cold turkey and eliminate all rice from your diet. Apart from it being a massive adjustment, you will crash and burn by the mammoth reduction in carbs. This is unlikely to be sustainable and is not part of a healthy, balanced and nutritious eating plan that you should employ for life. Instead, try these simple adjustments to your white rice intake:
Option 1 = Reduce the amount of white rice you eat
A great place to start your own ‘I quit white rice’ revolution is by looking at portion control.
✓ Slash your serving size – Simply ask for a smaller serve, use a smaller scoop to serve or push half of your rice to the other side of your plate. A good rule of thumb for starchy carbohydrates is a serving size no larger than your cupped hand or a quarter of a small plate. See our free guide below for all your ideal macronutrient serving sizes!
✓ Half or third the number of times you eat rice – If you are eating three servings of white rice a day, you can start by skipping it at your lunch meal!
Option 2 = Swap white rice with brown rice
Replacing even a small portion of white rice with brown rice (or another lower GI grain) can be beneficial for your health. Remember, our aim is for you to get more out of your food than just empty calories. You will find more success with weight loss if you fuel your body with whole foods over highly processed foods, such as white rice and white bread.
✓ Replace a portion of white rice with brown rice (or better GI white rice alternative). If you start with replacing small portions (as little as 20 percent substitute of brown rice is beneficial) and gradually increase the brown for the white, you give your tastebuds, your habits and those around you time to adjust.
✓ Change up the style of rice you have, for example Basmati rice has a much lower GI than white rice. This means less severe impacts on your blood glucose and less risk of diabetes, compared to white rice.
Option 3 = Substitute white rice for another nutritious carbohydrate
Whilst rice is cheap and easy to find, another option is to substitute it in meals for another nutritious source of carbohydrates such as cauliflower, quinoa or sweet potato.
✓ Substitute with something other than rice. Eg. Higher fibre foods, like more vegetables to ‘fill in’ for the ‘full’ feeling that rice gives you. Or add a little extra lean protein.
Be equipped to face the ‘I Quit White Rice’ issues
Everyone experiences cravings but if you dramatically reduce or change your diet, in this case – quitting white rice (well, mostly) you will likely experience cravings for it. It’s important to realise that a craving is a bodily sensation, spurred by your mind. A craving will reach a peak and subside, like a wave. Force yourself to be aware of what exactly is happening rather than giving in to that urge impulsively. A craving is a want, not a need. So, when you think you ‘want’ more white rice, ask yourself ‘do I need this white rice? Will this white rice help me lose weight and reach my health goals?” before automatically heaping your plate with it.
Not feeling as ‘full’
This can be easily combatted by substituting the carbs you have lost from white rice with a high fibre, low GI carb alternative. For example, you can replace with brown rice, basmati rice or more vegetables in place of white rice. You will find that higher fibre foods will actually keep you fuller for longer, making you less likely to overdo snacking and help towards your weight loss goals.
Shunned by your friends and family
We thought the need to address this, as we understand it’s not easy to buck the cultural norm with family and friends. It’s time to take responsibility for your own health. You will no doubt get questioning looks or downright interrogation about your abstinence from white rice. Be firm and assertive with saying ‘no’ to white rice and if you feel the need to justify yourself then offer up the knowledge you’ve gained here. You may even educate others!
So, is it time to start your own ‘I Quit White Rice’ revolution? The concept of quitting white rice is controversial and we don’t expect you to completely forgo it. At Active8me we want you to be informed to make educated and empowered decisions. We’re not into fads. We avoid hype and the latest gimmicky trends. We believe in evidence-based information from experts. That is why we truly believe you need to consider the impact your white rice habit has on your current and future health. We believe that there is no one perfect diet as everyone is different.
Most importantly, we believe in you … and your power to get in the best shape of your life and create the life you want. Try the Active8me FREE 21-Day Trial to see how you can easily reduce your white rice intake and discover a variety of nutritional alternatives to white rice.