Question:

Which rice do you think is the best for all around nutrition, whether you are trying to gain mass or lose weight?

– Allen C.

Answer:

A particular food’s nutritional value can be interpreted many ways. What you consider to be most nutritious might be the most nutrient dense, highest calorie or healthiest (preventing disease) food. With respect to your question regarding weight change, a single food item plays a small part in an overall varied diet.

See our answer to a similar question last year: Brown Rice vs. White Rice – Which is Healthier? | Q+A

There are nearly 40,000 varieties of rice! My top picks for packing a nutrition punch are wild rice, brown rice, red rice and black rice. Their nutrient and phytochemical content varies as does their speed/completeness of digestion. Method of preparation can affect the starch breakdown and glycemic index, which play a role in satiety and therefore caloric intake. The less processed the better – I’d take fresh cooked white rice over a can of wild rice soup any day. Organically grown rice is less likely to have arsenic and would, therefore, be healthier, though it won’t affect weight directly.

Keep in mind the likelihood of cooking & incorporating these rice types into your preferred dishes and your willingness to try new recipes. If you don’t end up eating it, there is zero nutrition.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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