Do you feel a ping of virtuousness as you take that extended boil time for brown rice on the chin? Turns out those ecru grains aren’t any more nutritious than their white counterparts. ‘White rice has had the outer brown part of the grain removed, which doesn’t really contain that much nutritionally,’ explains Hollington. ‘100g of brown rice only has about a gram more fibre,’ she adds – which might make it more difficult to digest. Mind: blown. Still, she says that wholegrain remains the preferable choice for the remainder of starch sources because the outer layers generally contain more nutrients and fibre (of which only one in 10 Brits are getting 25g a day – the UK recommended intake is 30g). Topping up would boost satiety levels and gut and heart health, but West and Saunt advise employing your hawk eye at the supermarket, as words like ‘seeded’, ‘multigrain’ and ‘wholesome’ don’t necessarily mean that a product is wholegrain. What’s more, unlike in Norway, where products labelled ‘whole grain’ need to contain 100% whole grain, and the US, where products need to be at least 51% of the stuff, the term isn’t legally protected in the UK.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Read the nutritional information on the label for breads and crackers. ‘Wholegrain’ should be within the first few ingredients on the list and the carb-to-fibre ratio should be 10 to one (eg, 9.2g total carbs to 1.5g fibre would elicit a thumbs up). Oh, and, by all means, go all prodigal son with the white basmati.