Brown vs. White Food: Which is Better?
For years we have been told to avoid white rice and bread at all cost, and opt for their brown counterparts said to be healthier and more nutritious. However, the idea that brown rice is better than white rice, brown eggs are better than white eggs, and brown bread is better than white bread is simplistic and misunderstood. So let's take a deeper look.
Brown or white rice?
Brown or white bread?
Brown or white eggs?
For years we have been told to stay away from white rice and bread at all costs, and choose their brown counterparts said to be healthier and more nutritious. However, the idea that brown rice is better than white rice, brown eggs are better than white eggs, and brown bread is better than white bread is simplistic and misunderstood. So lets take a further look.
The difference between a white egg and a brown egg is completely unrelated to nutrition, but rather to the breed of hen from which it was laid. Much like there are different varieties of tomatoes that come from different breeds of plant, brown eggs simply come from a different breed of hen. White eggs are laid by white-feathered chickens with white or light colored earlobes, while the brown ones are laid by brown-feathered chickens with red earlobes.
Therefore, both white and brown eggs are nutrient dense options, and rather, what is more important is focus on the quality of the hen itself, and eating the whole egg, including the yolk.
Brown rice has long been deemed superior to white rice, but without sufficient reason. The difference between brown and white rice is that brown rice is a whole grain, as it contains the bran and germ, while white rice has had the bran and germ removed from the grain. The bran and the germ contain most of the essential nutrients in the grain, so technically brown rice does contain more fibre and nutrition than white rice.
However, the bran and germ also contain many anti-nutrients like phytic acid, which make it more difficult for your body to break down and absorb the nutrients. These anti-nutrients are a natural component of the grain, as they protect the vital reproductive tools of the grain, but they can cause digestive distress for many people, making white rice still a great option. Contrary to popular belief, white rice is not necessarily less nutritious for you and can still be a very healthy choice.
And finally, what differentiates a healthy bread from an unhealthy bread is not its color, but rather what it was made from and the way it was made. The quality of a bread is determined by the format of the grains, type of flour used, and the way the bread was baked. Even brown bread can be made from refined flour and loaded with additives and preservatives, making it a less than ideal option.
Instead, when opting for bread it is best to pick a loaf with few ingredients, and one that has been properly prepared such as a sourdough or sprouted grain bread.
In general, brown options are not better than white options. Nutrition is all about context; where the food came from and how it was made, rather than its color.
Stephanie Kay Nutrition
September 22nd, 2020