Which is better for health – rice, bread or other rice alternatives? Red, brown or white rice? The rice alternatives includes rootcrops, bread, cookies, noodles, corn, adlai. Other food items like sugars, fruits and vegetables also provide carbohydrates but are not alternatives to our staple, rice. All these yield glucose when completely digested. The glucose which is the circulating blood sugar, is absorbed into the bloodstream and circulated. When metabolized, glucose yields energy to fuel our body’s voluntary and involuntary activities. Carbohydrates are the cheapest and most abundant calorie source.
Carbohydrates maybe simple or complex. Simple one referred to as “sugars” include honey, syrup, candies, chocolates, molasses and table sugar whether it is white, brown or muscovado, are easily digested resulting to increase in blood sugar in a short period of time. In contrast, complex carbohydrates such as root crops, whole grains like brown or red rice, adlai, as well as fruits and vegetables take time to be digested. Thus, glucose is slowly released into the bloodstream so increase in blood sugar is not sudden. Their mineral and vitamin content make them nutrient-dense foods compared to simple carbohydrates which provide no other nutrients. Among grains, the less processed, the more nutrients like vitamin B and fiber is greater. These make the complex carbohydrates healthier choices. An added edge for those wanting to reduce weight is that the prolonged and thorough chewing of complex carbohydrates result to less food consumption by the time the satiety level is reached.
As to how many servings of carbohydrates to consume in one day, depends on age group and if pregnant or lactating. In general, carbohydrate-rich foods comprise the bulk of our diet, providing 50-70% of total energy requirement in one day. Only 5-8 servings for adults. As one serving of rice and alternatives provide 100 calories, those wanting to reduce weight may be advised to increase fruits and vegetables as one serving provides only 40 calories for fruits and 16 calories for vegetables. Among the rice and alternatives, the calories will depend on quantity eaten though one can be switched with the other. For instance, one serving of rice which is ½ cup, packed can be switched with one serving of loaf bread which is 2 slices regular size, or 3 pieces pandesal regular size. One piece candy or one teaspoon sugar or syrup provides 20 calories. An 8-ounce soft drink contains 5 teaspoons sugar thus same caloric content with one serving of rice. About how many teaspoons of sugar in your favorite milk tea or total sugar in your everyday coffee?