Dee Woods: Brown rice curbs fat cravings

By Dee Woods

I've never been impressed with rice in any form. To me, rice used to be a mushy nothing. Years ago, I heard an alternative physician speaking of the benefits of brown rice and I decided to try it. The first time I tried it, it took a little getting used to. There was nothing bad about it; it was just a bit more substantial than white rice. Very interestingly, I couldn't even look at white rice after that.

Today, I love brown rice and the fragrance of brown rice. Cooking it is so easy, I can eat it alone with cinnamon and stevia with a little milk on it as my mother would do when we were young. It's kind of a semi-dessert. I can also use it in place of potatoes, add black beans or lentils, or put it into soups.

I purchased $10 rice maker and have found that to be the perfect instrument for making my brown rice.

Why should we enjoy it? A half cup of brown rice is only 108 calories and only 1 gram of fat, including omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids. Brown rice also has no cholesterol and 10 mg of sodium. It has 5 grams of protein and 14 percent of fiber to allow fat burning. It contains vitamins B6 and thiamin, niacin, choline, pantothenic acid and plenty of essential minerals. One very essential mineral for energy is manganese and brown rice supplies 80 percent of the daily needs for manganese. It is a mineral needed to help synthesize fatty acids to keep the nervous system in balance.

Recently, a study indicated brown rice helps stop the craving for fatty foods. That's no wonder because the fiber content, along with all of the essential nutrients and minerals helps satisfy the appetite as it assists the body in preparing to burn off excess fat. We all crave fats, usually the wrong types of fats, but it does one better. Brown rice has been found to curb cravings for those nasty trans fats and junk food fats.

In the Midwest, for some reason our soil has been pretty depleted of selenium, a cancer fighter, and brown rice contains selenium as well as oils that help reduce cholesterol.

Dr. Robert Rowen points out, "In a recent study, researchers gave mice a choice of fatty food or normal rodent food. The high fat food was 45 percent fat, 35 percent carbohydrates, and 20 percent protein. The "normal" diet was 10 percent fat, 70 percent carbohydrates, and 20 percent protein. The mice chose the high fat meal every time and became obese."

The main carbohydrate in the study was cornstarch which was replaced with brown rice. The brown rice apparently caused the mice to choose the normal food instead of the fatty food and the addition of the brown rice cut the weight gain of the mice in half. You also need to know when white rice was added, the weight control aspect never worked.

Rowen further explained, "The team found that eating fatty food produces stress in the brain's hypothalamus, the controller of appetite. Eating brown rice, as well as feeding gamma oryzanol, reduced the signs of stress. They also found that brown rice inhibits the absorption of fat in the bowel. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate, not a simple sugar. So the concentration of sugar and neutral fat in blood will decrease, which is great news for diabetics."

While most all of these studies are conducted on mice and not humans, the studies can't be totally translated to humans, but they are certainly a great indicator of the benefits of brown over white rice. Brown rice, while a complex carbohydrate, is a whole food, not processed starch like white rice. Remember to try to use spring water, distilled or otherwise purified water when cooking the rice. It's an inexpensive addition to the diet that may help with controlling cravings for fat while helping to burn fat.

Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at deewoods@comcast. net.