Friday, September 2, 2011

More beans, less rice

Eating more beans and less rice lowered the risk of metabolic syndrome (thickened waistline, low good cholesterol, high blood pressure, and some other factors that are often precursors to diabetes and cardiovascular disease) in this study of 1,879 Costa Rican people, published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Recommending less white rice in favor of a protein probably makes good nutritional sense, but many people will be unable to afford the substitution. White rice is cheap and filling, and in some places, whatever's eaten with it is viewed more or less as a condiment.

Why do people eat polished rice when unpolished rice (containing the husk, bran, and germ) is nutritionally superior? I believe the answer is that it's easier to store polished rice, as rice germ contains fats that spoil easily. The price people pay is worse nutrition--not only a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, but also thiamine deficiency.