The Brown Rice Myth

I was listening to a podcast by Dave Aspray one day and he was talking about rice. He went into detail about how brown rice is not near as healthy for us as we have been led to believe all these years. He even went on to say that polished white rice is probably safer for us to eat than brown rice.

Brown Rice vs Whit Rice

Brown rice was always the rice of the poor folks in times past. That is because it still has part of the husk on it. The husk is such a difficult fiber for our bodies to digest that it can actually lead to inflammation in our bodies. The husks, that give brown rice its color, are high in lectins. Lectins are so inflammatory to our gut that they can make holes in our gut lining leading to food sensitivities and inflammation throughout our whole body.

White rice was considered the rice of the rich in the old days because the brown husk was polished off making it easier for our body to digest.

Learning about this was actually a big relief to me because I always preferred white rice. Some of the specialty rices like Basmati rice and Jasmine rice are among my favorites.

Let’s dig into this a little deeper and see what facts we can find…

I searched “brown rice vs white rice” and ran across an article on Healthline (1). They go into great detail about how nutrient-dense brown rice is because it still has the “germ” of the grain on it. Honestly, for those that are not sensitive to the “Antinutrients” in the husk maybe brown rice is a good choice for you. The high fiber content of brown rice can also lower the glycemic index of the rice so that is another benefit.

There are some very risky things to consider when eating brown rice though that, for me, make it not worth it.

Brown rice contains antinutrients

Antinutrients are plant compounds that may reduce your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients. Brown rice contains an antinutrient known as phytic acid, or phytate, that makes it more difficult to digest.

Phytic acid reduces your body’s ability to absorb iron and zinc from food. Soaking brown rice before cooking can reduce the phytic acid level and make it easier to digest.

Brown rice contains arsenic

Brown rice tends to be higher in arsenic than white rice. Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal that is naturally present in the environment, but it has been increasing in some areas due to pollution. Significant amounts have been identified in rice and rice-based products.


In doing my research for this article I found another article by Dave Asprey (2) that talks about 4 “Antinutrients” to watch out for. These are things to try and see if you are sensitive to them. It doesn’t mean avoid them all the time. Just like with any inflammatory food what is bothersome to me may not be to you.

Antinutrients are compounds in foods that interfere with the absorption of beneficial nutrients and minerals

  • Lectins – are proteins that cause trouble in your digestive system by sticking to your intestinal wall and creating intestinal permeability. The most common sources of lectins include grains, legumes, and nightshades. The most common of these are: wheat, beans, quinoa, peas, peanuts, white potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants.

Lectins are chemicals that plants make as a defense mechanism so we won’t eat them. They actually cause holes in our gut lining. Lectins are present in the bran & germ of grains. What is interesting about this is that we have been told for a long time that “whole grains” are good for us because fiber slows down the absorption of the carbohydrate parts of the grain. This is only a partial truth. They do have the fiber and protein in the grain and they do slow down the absorption of the starches but they are not necessarily “good for us” because they can wreak havoc in our digestive tract.

Legumes – are high in Lectins – some worse than others. Legumes are things like dry beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, Pinto beans, black beans. Some of which have more Lectins than others.

There is some good news for the beans though – we can trick nature. By soaking your beans overnight before cooking them that is a big help in reducing the amount of Lectins. Then wash them and cook them. If you want to remove even more of the Lectins you can boil your beans for a little while, pour that water off and then cook them as you normally would.

The catch is that when you use canned beans or eat out and they fast cook things you may not know what has been done to the beans.

If you have the opportunity to soak any seeds 24 hours or like you are going to sprout them even if they don’t quite sprout that decreases the amount of lectins considerably.

Dr Gundry talks about Lectins a lot and has a complete protocol for avoiding lectins but not every food he has on his list needs to be avoided as our body is made to handle small amounts of Lectins. Dr Mark Hyman has a more healthy approach to dealing with Lectins and that is where I learned about soaking your grains and legumes.

  • Phytic acid, also known as phytates – block the absorption of nutrients like magnesium, zinc, calcium and iron, and other minerals. Found in whole grains, nuts, soybeans, and seeds. Phytate also inhibits digestive enzymes pepsin, trypsin and amylase.
  • Oxalic acid – is an antinutrient compound found in many plants, like raw cruciferous vegetables — kale, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli — as well as chard, spinach, parsley, beets, black pepper, chocolate, nuts, berries and beans. When oxalates bind to calcium in your blood, tiny, sharp oxalic acid crystals form and can be deposited anywhere in the body and cause muscle pain. When this happens in the kidneys, it causes kidney stones.
  • Gluten – is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats that can cause intestinal permeability (i.e. leaky gut). Humans can not digest it. The spectrum of reaction to the indigestibility of gluten places people into two categories: celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Indigestible substances in the digestive system cause an immune response in the form of inflammation. Inflammation is often the culprit behind our brain fog, digestive discomfort and poor absorption of nutrients.

Dave (2) Says: Gluten-containing grains break down in the gut into opioid compounds called gluteomorphins that trigger the same brain receptors as opiate drugs in the brain — meaning, they are highly addictive.

Dave Asprey

For me personally, Gluten is a big trigger for inflammation. It is so addictive that it took me a long time to take the big step and remove it from my diet. I have watched family members suffer from its ravages and I’m hoping to avoid that.

I hope this information helps you take a closer look at what foods agree with your body and what does not and then helps you do the hard work, take the big step, to remove those toxic foods from your life.

Love yourself by eating healthy

I hope something here has been helpful in your day. I look forward to your comments.
Until next time – Be Well!


  1. Brown Rice vs White Rice
  2. 4 Top Antinutrients to avoid by Dave Asprey

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