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The One Food You're Eating Now That You Definitely Shouldn't Be

Demand for rice is exploding, but you should absolutely be avoiding this kind.
vegetable sushi

It's no secret that the food industry and its supply chain are under tremendous strain. As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on America's many small-town food processing facilities, several grocery stores have even taken the step of limiting the amount of meat you can buy. Meanwhile, as consumers continue to stock up on foods for their pantry as lockdown drags on, certain shelf-stable food items are exploding—chiefly rice and grains. And, if you're finding yourself eating more white rice than usual, we're here to remind you that you should definitely think twice.

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, the entire dried grains and rice industry has experienced 386 percent growth. Dried beans sales are up 63 percent, sales of rice are up 58 percent, and sales of chickpeas are up 47 percent.

"Rice has been the global market's star performer this year, with prices up by nearly 65 percent, year-on-year, at the end of April 2020," writes The Diplomat, which covers Asia. "By stark contrast, following the onset of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, global resources prices have generally collapsed with most commodities falling anywhere from 5 percent to 40 percent year-on-year, and in some cases even more."

If you're among those stocking up on white rice, the truth is, you're not doing any favors for your body. "A serving of white rice has almost the same effect as eating pure table sugar," reports Harvard Medical School. "[It will cause] a quick, high spike in blood sugar. A serving of lentils has a slower, smaller effect."

As we've routinely covered here at Eat This, Not That!, it's always the smarter decision to opt for brown rice over white rice—though we'd advise you to eat brown rice in moderation, given that it's much higher in calories.

Due to processing that makes white rice last longer and taste better, your favorite sushi staple loses both its bran and germ—the two key sources of nutrients in rice. (Brown rice, meanwhile, is the entire whole grain.)

If you're wary of your blood-sugar levels—and you should be, for the sake of your health and your inner fat-burning furnace—know that white rice scores tremendously high on the Glycemic Index, which measures your body's ability to turn carbohydrates into glucose to be absorbed by your body. In other words, white rice will spike your blood sugar levels, putting you at risk for type-2 diabetes.

So, if you're dying for your favorite rice-based dish, opt for the brown kind. Compared to its polished counterpart, whole grain brown rice is higher in metabolism-boosting selenium, higher in bone-strengthening manganese, and, of course, higher in digestion-slowing and belly-filling fiber. And whatever dish you're making, be sure you're not making one of the 20 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Cooking Rice.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
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