Friday, July 27, 2012

Is Brown Rice Healthier than White Rice

Quora often poses health questions and gets a wide variety of responses from their user community - of which I am an active member. Unfortunately, the questions asked often show the bias, or unscientific nature of the site managers.  And today is no exception. Today's Quora included this silly question:

Why is brown rice healthier than white rice? Is brown rice healthy?  -  you can click the link to see the question and the ensuing discussion.

Let's follow the chain of nonsense.  First untested assumption: 'white rice is healthy'.  Is white rice healthy?  Frankly, we don't know.  Many people think it is - and many people think it is not healthy.

So. Next silly assumption: 'brown rice healthier than white rice.'  This might be true.  But it might not. At least one commenter has suggested, and provided arguments that brown rice is not healthier than white rice.

Which lead Quora to the question:  "Why..."  Of course we cannot discuss why something is true, until we actually measure whether or not it is true.  Has anyone bothered to test brown rice to see if it is healthier than white rice?  Not as far as I know.  Not in a scientific fashion.

My responses to Quora often question the question - and today is no exception.  And I often get negative points for pointing out the obvious, such is life.  Here is my response to the Quora question.

As is often that case, the person who wrote the question made a fundamental error.

We do not know if white rice is healthy.  White rice provides energy, but does not provide other nutrients.  Eating white rice might actually be an unhealthy activity, because it displaces foods that provide real nutrition and not just empty calories.

Is eating brown rice healthier?  As far as I know this theory is 'yet to be proven' as well.

If we ran a lab test, with mice, not people, and fed them ONLY white rice, or ONLY brown rice, we might expect the brown rice mice to live longer, healthier lives than the white rice mice.

Until we actually make some scientific measurements - we don't know white rice from brown. You can rationalize all you want - the truth is only to be found in actual measurements.

to your health, tracy

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Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: