When it comes to preparing Latin dishes, white rice has been a traditional side staple. But according to a 2012 Harvard School of Public Health study, eating too much arroz significantly increases your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes. Researchers discovered, for example, that a daily large bowl of white rice, or a serving of 5.5 ounces, increased the onset of the disease by 10 percent.
“White rice has a high glycemic index,” explains Iris Mercado EdD, CDN, a nutrition expert and assistant professor at Hostos Community College in New York City. And when your body breaks down the grain, “it converts the starch to glucose (sugar) really fast and affects blood glucose level.” To make matters worse, white rice is tasteless and depends on salt and fat before it acquires flavor. That’s why people tend to eat big portions of the grain before feeling full.
For healthier eating, Mercado recommends switching to whole brown rice, which is not refined. When it comes to white rice vs. brown rice, brown is the clear winner. “The fiber in brown rice delays the digestion and conversion of the starch into sugar,” she says. Adds Mercado, “Latinos tend to eat their rice with beans,” which are high in soluble fiber and help control blood cholesterol. “Beans make you feel full faster,” she explains, so remember “to serve more beans than brown rice.”