Posted on July 29, 2015 by


Dave sucks down some green stuff.

Dave sucks down some green stuff.

This is a special edition in that a GT’er in the Flathead valley approached me and asked me an Ask Dave question! So Cool!




Hey Dave,

White vs. Brown rice – whats the deal? Is one better….and what about Jasmine or Basmati?


Columbia Falls MT

Excellent and timely question Lisa. This is an area of food data that I have done some deep digging into – first as a nutrient starved vegetarian, then as a grain free baconophile, and now as a person who has been on both sides of the rice divide. When I was a vegetarian I sought out whole foods; this included brown rice and other whole grains. I also suffered from terrible indigestion after most meals. At the time I had no clue that it could be the very foods I thought were helping me were making me sick.

AS A FOOD COACH I was asked on several occasions about white vs. brown rice – and I advised people to eat brown. The rational? Processing. I was under the somewhat narrow impression that processed food = bad food. Since then I have learned more and my impressions have changed. I will expand on a few topics below to elaborate on this topic.


There is a widespread assumption that brown rice is the overall nutritional winner – I have attached an image to dispel that notion. Hint: they are very similar in nutritional content!



There are foods in their raw state that can not be eaten – they must be processed prior to consumption. Olives and Cassava (aka tapioca, manioc, or yucca; the #1 carbohydrate source for the subtropical world) are healthy foods that must be transformed in order to eat them. There are other foods that offer more nutrients once cooked; tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, and asparagus to name a few. I include this data here to dispel my formerly held idea that processed food must be somehow faulty.


Many plants have built in defenses to hemp them survive. Nuts and grains both have protective outer layers (shells or hulls) that contain antinutrients which act as mild poisons to anything that eats them. In humans the typical effect of consuming such toxins can range from mild indigestion to life threatening allergic reactions. A less acute but perhaps more serious effect is poor nutrient absorption meaning the body is too involved in removing the toxins from the system and is not able to filter out the usable bits of nutrition.

CONCLUSION, SUGGESTION, ( jasmine & basmati)

I have had many assumptions that were later debunked; there will be more to come. Right now I view white rice as a healthy food and good part of my diet but I want to keep an open mind about it and PAY ATTENTION both to my body and any pertinent data that I find. After tentatively adding rice back into my food choices I ate quite bit – and Hark! My weight went up and digestion slowed down. On a recent camping trip I ate rice and it provided much needed clean calories to keep my metabolism up through a 6 hour rainstorm. The next week I was on a slight post camping bender and ate too much rice again = weight up/digestion down.

My parting suggestion is to listen to your body! All the Ask Dave columns can not tell you what works best for your system, and even the best, brownest, whole foods can hurt you when not eaten in a way that works for you.

Bonus factoid: Jasmine and Basmati are both wonderful aromatic species of rice – they may be brown or white but typically white is served. Basmati is used in Pakistani or Indian cuisine; Jasmine is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine. Both may be used for a wide range of dishes and are truly wonderful foods.


Check this page out, from Dave Asprey, a self styled ‘bio hacker’ who spares no expense on his food studies:

There is a recipe for cooking ‘upgraded’ white rice for maximum biological benefit. I have just started to experiment with it and would like to hear from you, reader, about your experience with it.

Ruining grocery store shopping, restaurant dining, and now brown rice sushi…one article at at time….


Posted in: Ask Dave