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Short Answer:

No, Rice is not Paleo!
is rice paleo

Rice Overview

Rice is the seed of grass. It is a cereal grain that has been used as staple food by more than half of the world’s population, especially in Asia. Rice is a versatile grain used as main dish or as an ingredient to certain dishes.

Rice is naturally gluten free which is the most problematic part of many grains. Though it can be a safer choice compared to other grains like wheat, it doesn’t mean that it is healthy.

Types of Rice

There are a lot of rice varieties but listed down are the three basic types of rice.

  1. White rice or Parboiled rice – basic white rice used for home cooking. It can be medium to long grain. It doesn’t have the bran and germ parts of the seed leaving the embryo.
  2. Wild riceWild rice is native to North America. It is somehow relative to white rice but is actually long grain aquatic grass. Wild rice is normally sold together with white rice.
  3. Brown rice – An unrefined grain that has the bran and germ parts and has been said to be the healthiest grain because of having the bran containing most nutrients. It has a slightly nutty flavor and chewy texture. Brown rice normally requires longer cooking time than white rice because of the bran being a barrier to water.

Why Rice is not Paleo…

Rice is not Paleo for one main reason, it is grain and grains are full of antinutrients such as lectins, phytates, and trypsin inhibitors. The lectins in grains called haemagglutinin-lectin can bind to specific carbohydrate receptors in the intestine linings and hinder nutritional absorption. Phytates work the same as the haemagglutinin. It binds to minerals like calcium, copper and zinc preventing its absorption by the body.  Trypsin is a digestive enzyme that helps digest protein for easy absorption. Trypsin inhibitors in grains  are usually located in the outer embryo of the seed and a bit in the bran.

Rice is carbohydrates and carbohydrates are instantly broken down to sugar and used as energy by the body. Unless you are a very active person that has lots of activities, these carbohydrates won’t get stored as fat.

While rice is high in carbohydrates, it lacks nutrients. There’s not much vitamins and minerals that can be found in rice compared to other healthy foods around.

Rice is also high in glycemic index that causes sugar to be carried rapidly into the bloodstream. Over consumption of rice can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Lastly, studies found out that rice consumption should be avoided because of the arsenic levels found in it. Arsenic is released into the environment where the grass grows through fertilizers and pesticides which are then absorbed by the plants. Arsenic consumption has been linked to several health issues including increased risk of bladder, lung and skin cancer, heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.

What Experts Say About Rice… Is It Paleo?

“Foods like rice, white bread, and cereal grains have high glycemic indices, causing rapid and marked increases in our blood glucose levels. These foods tend to promote diseases of insulin resistance such as Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, obesity, gout and detrimental blood chemistry profiles”. – Dr. Loren Cordain

“So while rice may contribute an unsafe level of arsenic, it’s certainly not the only source in our diet, and we need to be cautious about demonizing an entire class of food based on a soundbite from a news story”. – Chris Kresser

All you ever wanted to know about Rice and Paleo

Mark’s Daily Apple. How Bad is Rice, Really?

Chris Kresser. Arsenic in rice: how concerned should you be?

Paleo Leap. All About Rice

Less Bad but not Good: Pseudograins and Non-Gluten Grains

Our Paleo Life. Can White Rice Be Paleo? Why Rice is Bad on Paleo Diet?

Hunt. Gather. Love. Is rice paleo?

Paleo Porn. Is Rice Paleo?

Did we miss anything?

Comment below and let us know what you think. Do you agree with our conclusion?

photo credit: Basmati Rice