Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus the fiber?

Madeleine20
Bento-ing from: › USA
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Or might it be corporations taking advantage of consumers who don't like brown rice? I actually really like brown rice, more than white in fact. But I also am growing fond of haiga-mai. Plus it's much simpler to cook. I don't really care if it has less fiber because sometimes I think I get too much anyway, but I don't want to take a major hit on nutrients. Also, does anyone know its glycemic index compared to brown rice? Thank you!

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bronwyncarlisle
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

I just compared ordinary white rice with brown rice on Wolfram Alpha. There's not really a huge difference in nutrients anyway, so there's no way you're going to malnourish yourself by eating haiga-mai rice instead of brown as part of a balanced diet.

If you have a look at http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/56/6/1034 you will see that there is a huge variation in GI between different strains of rice. As far as I can figure out, the more "sticky" the rice is, the higher the GI. So it rather depends on what variety of rice your haiga-mai was half-milled from as to what GI it has. I'd think it would have a very similar GI to fully milled white rice of the same variety.

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Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

On the Williams Rice Milling Co. of California website there is a chart comparing Haiga rice against white rice:
http://www.tamakimai.com/nutrients.html

This is the rice I use for everything. I'd forgotten that it wasn't white rice.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

From the nutritional information that Folly posted I would think that it would not be a low GI food, since it appears there is only slightly more fiber than regular white rice. My reasoning would be that the fiber in brown rice is what slows the digestion, so the body would take longer to break down the food into the carbohydrates that the body can use unlike white rice which is rapidly broken down into simple carbohydrates and often leads to spikes in blood sugar.

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

Exactly.

However haiga-mai basmati rice (if there is such a thing) would have a lower GI than haiga-mai glutinous rice. By the looks of things, white basmati (high amylose starch) rice even has a lower GI than brown glutinous rice (nearly all amylopectin starch).

Madeleine20
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

Thanks everyone. I think I will just stick to brown rice from now on then, since I like it as much. I do have low blood sugar so its important for me to avoid insulin surges.

bronwyncarlisle
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

Brown basmati sounds as though it'd be best for you then. That should be about the lowest GI rice.

c-helle
Bento-ing from: Birmingham › Alabama › USA
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

It's delicious, too!

I don't understand the big deal about the Haiga-mai; I bought some, along with a package of short-grain brown rice from the same company. The Haiga-mai's instructions are more complicated than the brown rice. The nutritional stats on the package are about equal in all aspects, except slightly higher fibre in the brown. I think I'll stick with brown.

Madeleine20
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

True, but I like brown short grain better. Basmati tastes like stinky socks to me=)

anon.
Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

I haven't seen a study on this, so this is merely speculation. A lot of the nutrition is in the germ, not the bran. The bran is what provides the fiber. There is the possibility that the bran part of brown rice serves to help block some of the nutrients. That is to say, the nutrients may be more bio-available in haiga than in brown rice.

I think it's reasonable to continue eating brown rice as the staple, and simply replace white rice with haiga.

c-helle
Bento-ing from: Birmingham › Alabama › USA
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

That sounds like a good idea (replacing white with haiga).

I just thought I'd say a little about the rice bran. As you say, it can slow the absorption of nutrients. This is why you wouldn't give any kind of all-bran cereal to an infant just starting out. But this slowing, caused by the soluble fiber of the bran, actually is beneficial when the grain is eaten in its entirety. As some other posters pointed out, the fiber helps you digest the carbs more slowly, and this is helpful when you want to avoid sugar spikes and crashes. These spikes and crashes wear the pancreas out over time and can lead to type 2 diabetes and overweight. So while haiga retains nutrients, its lack of fiber is a significant point.

One of the reason that people have success when they restrict carbs for weight-loss or blood-sugar control is that they are restricting the "bad" carbs along with the good--this includes white bread, white rice, etc. These carbs, bereft of both the nutrients of both the germ and the fiber of the bran, release a lot of glucose into the blood stream with negligible health gains (and because of the lack of insoluble fiber and the addition of synthetic nutrients, they lead to constipation and other problems). In the long run, it's better for most people to have the slower (and more thorough) absorption of nutrients that you so logically suggest occurs with brown rice.

Just some thoughts. I do use the haiga sometimes. I think it's an improvement over straight-up white rice, but I tend to stick mostly with the brown, esp. for myself and my kids. I'll serve withe rice or haiga mai for guests sometimes.

Madeleine20
Bento-ing from: › USA
Joined: 13 Jan 2010
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

Well, wouldn't that be a moot point unless you were eating the rice alone? If eating it with a healthy meal with vegetables, other sources of fiber, protein, and fat the glycemic index of the rice will go waaaayy down.

c-helle
Bento-ing from: Birmingham › Alabama › USA
Joined: 30 Aug 2009
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

Truthfully, though, how many people do eat an adequate amount of vegetables? Although I would think people who buy haiga mai are probably already very health-conscious and would tend to eat other sources of fiber, I tend to shun things that aren't "whole" foods--because I'm already at risk for diabetes, and because so many "advances" in the processing of grains have shown themselves, generations down the road, to have deleterious effects. Plus, the fiber in grains is not precisely the same as vegetable or fruit fiber.

That said, I don't think haiga mai is the death knell for healthy diet. Mostly I just wanted to point out the reasons for keeping the bran on grains. I still don't get the attraction to haiga; my short-grain brown rice doesn't require soaking, and it cooks faster than the haiga-mai, and is less expensive (at least here) to boot.

Madeleine20
Bento-ing from: › USA
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Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

Yes, I definitely agree that brown rice is ideal for those with blood sugar issues. My main problem is that I do eat tons of vegetables, plus a lot of beans, so I usually get over 50 grams of fiber a day. Sometimes that causes digestive issues for me. So haiga is a good solution for me to help lessen the fiber load a bit. I do love the taste of brown rice, but I also love Haiga. Sometimes I just want a very soft, clear taste and I like haiga better for that than white because I like the faint nutty accent. I found this article interesting from Dr. Ben Kim about white rice and brown rice:

http://www.drbenkim.com/articles-rice.html

c-helle
Bento-ing from: Birmingham › Alabama › USA
Joined: 30 Aug 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 16 weeks ago.
Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

Thanks for the link. The doctor's comments were interesting! Your diet sounds similar to mine, but if I don't eat brown rice or whole grains, I have digestive problems! My son has inherited this, too. When he was a baby, I made his cereals at home by grinding grains in the blender and making a porridge for him. We ended up having to visit my mom one week, and in a few days, despite eating the same number of veggies and fruits plus water, he was really having problems with his diet. The only thing that had changed was that I only had white rice at my disposal for grinding. Our shared propensity for these kinds of problems makes me a little fanatical about whole grains. I do like the taste of the haiga, though, as you mentioned, and it has a lot going for it, esp. in terms of people who might only eat white rice otherwise.

Thanks again for the link. There are some things I wouldn't think to consider, but I definitely should, since I am cooking for other people who might benefit from other plans.

Madeleine20
Bento-ing from: › USA
Joined: 13 Jan 2010
User offline. Last seen 3 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Is Haiga-mai really as nutritious as brown rice, minus ...

aww, poor baby=). I know what you mean. I can be very fanatical when it comes to healthy foods, so sometimes I have to force myself into believing that haiga might occasionally be a better choice.

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