Thursday, September 1, 2011

No, beans aren't better for you than rice

A new study appears to have concluded that the universal staple of Latin America, beans and rice, are a mixed bag, health-wise. The beans, they concluded, are excellent for human health. The rice? Not so much.

Harvard researchers, studying a population in Costa Rica, found that by reducing the rice and increasing the beans, the likelihood of diabetes can by reduced by 35 percent.

The problem with rice, they found, is that it's "pure starch" and therefore "easily converted into sugar by the body," the lead scientist told Reuters.

Here's what's really going on. The beans and rice widely consumed in Latin America usually involve whole beans and white rice.

Beans are a largely natural food, while white rice is industrially processed. Here's what industrial food is.

A better solution to reducing white rice and increasing beans is to eliminate white rice and replace it with whole-grain brown rice. In addition, both the beans and the rice should be fermented by soaking in water for between 12 and 24 hours before cooking.

This research is yet another case where an industrially processed food is found to be unhealthy, and then the news stories that result from that finding vilify not the industrial processing, but the food that is only made unhealthy by industrial processing.