The Reason Athletes Eat White Rice Instead of Brown

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Brown rice is nutritious and a recommended food to improve eating habits and overall health. However, athletes often follow different nutritional guidelines under sports nutrition. This includes eating white rice as a primary carbohydrate source for quick energy and glycogen replenishment. Athletes typically are not trying to lose weight and require lots of carbohydrates to fuel their bodies. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Do Bodybuilders Eat Rice? 

The goal of athletes such as bodybuilders is supplying adequate amounts of macronutrients to fuel extreme training and replenish severely depleted glycogen stores. Carbohydrate-rich foods like rice that rank high on the glycemic index provide a readily available source of carbohydrate for muscle glycogen synthesis. White rice plays a major part of this process and is considered excellent sports nutrition for these athletes.

Even though eating white rice is considered less nutritious than its brown counterpart, athletes and weightlifters disregard any negative claims. They regularly consume white rice as an important part of their nutrition plans.

One of the most popular meals for lifters is a large bowl of white rice combined with grilled chicken breast which provides lean protein. Endurance runners often load up on carbs with white rice before events.

White rice ranks high on the glycemic index. This is a score given to how foods affect blood sugar and insulin levels. For athletes, knowing how to improve carbohydrate availability during prolonged exercise is essential. This is why carbohydrate consumption research to benefit athletes has dominated the field of sports nutrition. 

Why White Rice?

Informed athletes and lifters recognize the high glycemic value of white rice to provide quick fuel for hard workouts and facilitate muscle recovery. Unlike brown rice, white rice doesn’t come with negative drawbacks of potential gastrointestinal (GI) issues, allergy symptoms, and blocking the ability to absorb micronutrients.

Phytic acid is located in the bran of the grain. The milling process used to change brown rice to white rice removes the phytate. This is probably one of the only times where refining a food potentially has a positive value.

Continuing research is ongoing for degrading phytic acid in brown rice and whole grains. Some studies are also finding antioxidant benefits in phytate. This could potentially increase the number of safe carbohydrates for competitive athletes.

White Rice is a Safe Carbohydrate 

Athletes don’t have time to worry about gastrointestinal (GI) issues or allergies that may accompany consuming brown rice. Brown rice has more fiber and those lifters suffering from food sensitivity may have an issue with eating whole grain.

Extreme exercise requires eating lots of carbs. Its recommended athletes consume 60g/h of carbohydrates for prolonged exercise lasting more than two hours.

White Rice for Workouts 

According to USA Rice Information, rice contains more carbohydrates than potatoes for the same serving size. Parboiled, converted, and instant white rice is suggested for pre and post-workout meals. Consuming white rice ensures the body is properly fueled for the competitive athlete.

For those training fewer than 4 days per week or suffering from a metabolic disease, brown rice is considered a better choice. Brown rice is still a healthy, nutrient-dense food. It’s recommended for the general populace and everyday active person tolerating whole grains. Brown rice is a rich source of fiber and nutrients essential to a well-balanced healthy diet.

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