As explained in Stop Eating Brown Rice, white rice is a better choice for athletes than brown rice. Nate Miyaki made the same point before me in The Perfect Carb for Lifters, but people are still understandably skeptical.
They argue that brown rice has more protein, more fiber, and more nutrients than white rice, and that it doesn’t raise blood sugar as much. That’s all true, but the amount of protein in brown rice is negligible. And if you’re counting on brown rice to meet your daily fiber requirements, your bowels are probably already, as we say in the business, “bottled up big time.”
And sure, brown rice doesn’t raise blood sugar as much as white rice, but who, other than a small Chinese boy living in the aftermath of the WWII Japanese invasion, exists solely on rice? Most people eat their rice with meat or vegetables, thus ameliorating the blood sugar response.
Lastly, brown rice does have more nutrients, but in a cruel twist of nutritional fate, they’re largely made unavailable to your digestive system because of the presence of phytates that bind up minerals and inhibit digestive enzymes.
Still, I get it. While white rice doesn’t cause bloating and is usually fortified with vitamins, it’s still pretty much just fuel without a lot of nutritional redemption. It would also be nice if you didn’t have to worry about whether you added enough meat, vegetables, or oil to it to negate its blood sugar response.
I figured out a way to fix all that, though. It also makes the white rice taste delicious.
Almond Flour: Just Add a Spoonful
First, cook your rice like you normally do. If it’s convenient, turn it into a resistant starch, as I explained in Eat Rice Without Getting Fat.
Then dole out however much you want to eat into a bowl or onto a plate. Now add at least 1 heaping teaspoon of almond flour to the serving of rice and evenly mix it in. You may, of course, need or want more almond flour, depending on how big a shovelful of rice you just dumped into your serious-eatin’ bowl and how almondy you want it to taste.
As I mentioned, it makes the rice taste nummy, so much so that you might be tempted to forgo whatever soy or teriyaki sauces you’d planned on dumping onto it and eat it as-is.
But more importantly, the almond flour supercharges your rice. It turns what’s pretty much just a bowl of easy-digesting energy food into a super food. Almonds, and ipso facto, almond flour, boost heart health, discourage cancer, and contain a host of minerals, vitamins, and polyphenols.
Almond flour also reduces post-meal glucose levels. By adding it to your rice, you’ll lower its ability to raise your blood sugar. And, unlike whole almonds, almond flour doesn’t contain any nutrient-binding phytates (like those you find in brown rice), so there isn’t anything to prevent your digestive system from horning in on the flours’ nutritional bounty.
If there’s a drawback to almond flour, it’s that it’s high in omega-6 fatty acids, but that’s true of pretty much all nuts, except macademia nuts, walnuts, and coconuts. Just make sure you get lots of omega-3 fatty acids through seafood or supplements like Flameout® to offset any increase in omega-6 intake.
You could, of course, use a flour made from one of the low omega-6 nuts I just listed, but they contain a lot more fat and/or a lot more carbs than almond flour.