diet

Food coach Q&A: Is rice bad?, diet coke vs fruit juice and the benefits of water

Monday, January 12, 2009
Judy Davie

Question:

"Is rice bad? My family and I all love it but I've heard you shouldn't eat it when you're trying to lose weight."

Answer:

There are some types of rice that you definitely should not eat if you're trying to lose weight. Brands of fast cooking rice, jasmine rice, Thai broken rice, and medium grain brown rice all have a high GI.

When any of these rice grains are eaten, the body rapidly converts them to glucose in the blood stream causing a burst of energy followed soon after by an energy slump.

It may fill you up, but before long you'll feel hungry again, and therein lies the problem — after a rice meal we often want to eat something else soon after.

There are some rice grains that are better however. Basmati, wild rice and sushi rice also referred to as koshikari rice all have a lower GI.

Brown koshikari is particularly good. Available from health food stores, brown koshikari retains the nutrients from the outer husk and having a lower GI, keeps you feeling full for longer. It may take a bit of getting used to as unlike jasmine and other white rice, it's quite dense and sticky.


Question:

"I used to drink diet coke but have switched to fresh juice instead — will I still lose weight?"

Answer:

Compared to diet drinks, fresh juices are infinitely better. They contain loads of vitamins; in particular antioxidants which help fight premature aging caused by free radical damage. Studies have even shown that 3 glasses of fresh juice a week may help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Soft drinks and diet drinks have no nutritional value. Diet drinks may even have an adverse effect on the brain and nervous system.

For weight loss you do have to be careful with fresh juice and limit how much you drink and what it's made of.

Fruit juices, the most popular choice due to their natural sweetness, have almost twice the energy (kilojoules) of fresh vegetable juice, and although it's natural sugar (fructose) it still equates to energy, which, if you're not burning it off will convert to fat.

When you consider the average weight loss diet restricts intake to 6,500 kj a day, much of that allowance is consumed in a large juice. The final thing to consider is how a juice stacks up against whole fruit. Nutritionally you get the same nutrients, without the fibre in the juice. But look how much more energy is in the juice. To make a standard 300ml glass you have to use a lot more produce which boosts the energy content up significantly.

The bottom line is while it's great that you've cut out diet drinks, you should enjoy no more than one 300-350ml glass of juice in the morning, drink water and eat whole fresh fruit and veggies for the rest of the day instead.


Question:

"I know I should drink lots of water but I don't like it. What can I drink instead?"

Answer:

People who drink water throughout the day are less likely to be overweight. They are also much healthier. Water has many benefits in that it keeps us hydrated, permits the passage of water soluble vitamins throughout cells in the body and plays an essential part in waste removal.

It's the most valuable commodity we have in life — both in and out of the body. By drinking sufficient amounts of water each day we maintain a strong immune system, sleep better, eliminate waste efficiently, and are less likely to overeat.

There's no way out of this — for good health you have to drink water.

Water should have a pleasant nondescript taste so if yours is really unpleasant you might have a problem with poor condition pipes somewhere between the source to your tap.

A solution might be to buy a water filter to filter out any impurities, like rusted metal or chemicals, which may be attributing to the taste.

You could also try adding a few pieces of lemon or oranges and a sprig of mint to a jug of water — it will give it a citrusy twist which is very pleasant.

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