As big a part of my life as the IT world is, it’s not the only thing I think about. I also happen to be an avid fitness enthusiast! I believe exercise and wellness are big parts of leading a happy, healthy, and successful life, and I’d like to pass that on to you.
In this series, I’ll share simple and effective tips and insight for leading a healthier life. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be surprised by how soon you feel a difference!
This week I’ll be sharing a few reasons to cut two popular but nutritionally-lacking foods out of your diet.
White bread and white rice are staples of the average diet. They’re two of the most common items found in a typical pantry, and for a lot of people, they’re the foods most likely to find their way into your daily meals. To be fair, why shouldn’t they? There are a lot of much worse things to eat on a daily basis than a sandwich or a bowl of rice and veggies, aren’t there?
While it’s true that there is a very long list of foods that are significantly worse for a person to eat on a routine basis, white bread and white rice are hardly the most healthy choice. The biggest issue with these two foods is the fact they’re both overly processed. There are necessary steps that need to be taken to transform grains from their natural state to something we’d consider edible that are applied to all forms of bread and rice, but white bread and white rice are as far from their natural state as they can get. Due to how processed these two foods are, much of their nutritional value is lost by the time they make their way to your plate.
White rice loses its husk, bran, and germ, leaving you with nothing but empty, flavorless calories that are alarmingly high in sugar – a 100g serving of white rice contains 86g of sugar! White rice is considered a “simple carb,” a type of carbohydrate that lands firmly on the bad carbs list. Simple carbs lead to a spike in blood sugar, causing sugar crashes that contribute to overeating.
White bread, which is made primarily from enriched white flour, has also had all of its key nutrients stripped away. What you’re left with is yet another simple carb full of sugars and empty calories that lacks the fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals of whole grain breads. White bread is also full of preservatives and other potentially harmful additives.
Both of these foods are tied to an increased risk of obesity and obesity-related health complications like diabetes, and aside from a quick energy boost have very little to offer anyone who eats them. Compared to their whole grain counterparts, they’re both bland and require a lot of effort to transform them into something worth consuming.
There is still some debate over white rice vs. brown rice where nutritional value is concerned, but the bread debate is much clearer. Whole grain bread has a significantly higher fiber content, and depending on the type of bread, retains most or all of the nutrients found in the raw grain. Iron, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and folic acid are required by law to be added back into refined flours, but these are only 5 of the more than 30 nutrients the grain started out with. Plus, whole wheat and multigrain breads taste amazing all on their own and don’t need to be slathered in butter, jams, or melted cheese to be satisfying.
Whole grains in any form have the added benefit of helping to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure by preventing your body from absorbing bad cholesterol from other foods you’ve eaten. These whole grains can also help you better manage your weight by making you feel full for longer, reducing your chances of overeating and in turn helping to manage spikes in your blood sugar. Since whole grains take longer to digest, your body works a little harder to break them down and burns more fat in the process.
Dropping white bread and white rice from your diet is a simple way to cut back on bad carbs and extra sugar. Unlike a lot of other diets that require creative substitutions, there are dozens of better options available to you right there on the very same shelf. Try picking up a bag of wild rice and a nice loaf of dark rye bread on your next trip to the grocery store, and you’ll find yourself with a much tastier and more satisfying meal.