Monthly Archives for February 2012

Archives for February 2012

Which Meat is Healthiest?

Which meat is the healthiest? Chicken is the obvious answer – but it’s not always true.

While organic, pasture-raised chickens are extremely healthy, most of the chickens sold in modern supermarkets are raised differently. Today’s chickens are grown with increased fat and decreased protein. In fact, according to researchers at the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition at London Metropolitan University, today’s chickens contain 266% more fat and 33% less protein than chickens from 1971.

In the same way, today’s conventional cows are fattier than ever – thanks, in part, to their diets of corn and supplements. Grass-fed beef, on the other, not only tastes better – but also has improved nutritional content. Grass-fed beef has lower overall fat, lower saturated fat, an increase in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, lower cholesterol and more vitamins.

Next, we must consider the cut of meat. A chicken leg, for example, has 3x more fat than a serving of London broil. Chicken legs, thighs and wings are high in fat; the breast meat is low in fat. Leaving the skin on also increases the fat content. Sirloin steaks and flank steaks tend to be very lean. If opting for pork, tenderloins and loin roasts are healthier options.

When selecting healthy meats, pay attention to how the meat was raised and the cut. If available, read the nutrition information. Though chicken often wins out, you may be surprised!

Fitness Tip: Redefine Possible.

A limit is only a limit if we believe in it.

Late last night, I returned from my 5-day trip to Las Vegas, Nevada.

Vegas is truly a city of excess – and that holds true not just for the nightlife and shows, but also for the cuisine. Buffets and unhealthy options abound. In fact, I recently did a post featuring Heart Attack Grill and their quadruple bypass burger and french fries cooked in lard. You can even wash it down with a butter milkshake. No joke.

The highly unhealthy Vegas cuisine stands in stark contrast to one of the city’s most popular attractions: The shows put on by Cirque du Soleil. I attended two of their performances and was astounded by the artistry – and, in particular, the amazing bodies of the performers.

If you’ve never been to a Cirque show, check out this preview. The acrobatics literally seem to defy gravity; I was wide-eyed and astounded for the full 90 minutes.

Personally, I found Cirque to be deeply inspiring. Seeing the impossible made possible, I am inspired to push through my own challenges and roadblocks – and to rethink my own perceived limits. There’s a great saying that a limit is only real if you believe in it.

Whether it’s a 9-minute mile, 150 pounds on the bench press or a new yoga pose, we can overcome the challenges we face. And rather than make excuses like we’re too old, too fat or too anything else, let’s instead re-think what’s possible.

The human body is an incredible vehicle. It’s time we start using it to its potential.

5-Minute Hotel Room Workout.

For a lot of people, working out while traveling can be a real challenge – and it’s often an excuse to take a few days (or more!) off from exercise. While the occasional break is perfectly fine, working out while traveling is actually pretty easy. It just requires a bit of creativity.

Appropriately, I’m currently on vacation in Las Vegas. While my hotel has a decent gym, I sometimes prefer working out in my room. To that end, and while in Palm Springs a week ago, I put together a powerful 5-minute hotel room workout. You can follow along or just use some of the exercises the next time you’re traveling.

If you do travel a lot – and if you’re serious about exercise – then I’d recommend investing in some resistance bands or even The Human Trainer system. They’re lightweight, easy to pack and totally portable. And you can use them to take your hotel room workout to the next level.

Check out my 5-minute hotel room workout on the Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel.

Transitioning from Machines to Free Weights.

Dear Davey,

I’m in the process of transitioning from machines to free weights. When using free weights, I can’t use as much weight. Is there a formula that I can use (i.e., 100 pounds on a machine = 50 pounds with free weights)? Any tips?

Thanks,
Mike

First things first, let’s talk a bit about free weights versus machines.

A free weight is any object or device that can move freely through three-dimensional space. Typically, when we talk about free weights, we’re referring to dumbbells or barbells. Machines, on the other hand, typically only moves through two dimensions. They’re the large, clunky apparatuses that you’ll see in most major gyms.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Since machines help guide exercisers through the movements, they’re great for beginners and have a much lower intimidation factor. Because they assist in maintaining proper form, there’s also a lower injury risk. Unfortunately, as you’ve discovered, they provide a false sense of strength. Lifting something in real life is very different from using a machine, and so the strength gains from machines aren’t necessarily functional.

Free weights, on the other hand, engage a wider range of muscles – including stabilizers; the strength gains from free weights translate to the real world. In addition, the amount of muscle activation is greater with free weights. Though they’re more advanced and more intimidating, free weights also improve balance and are cheaper and more convenient than machines. Of course, because it’s much easier to compromise form while performing free weight exercises, the risk of injury is greater.

When making the transition from machines to free weights, it’s important to realize that you’ll need to significantly reduce the amount of resistance that you use. For example, I can squat 400 pounds on a machine – but only 225 pounds with free weights (using a barbell).

Because no two people are alike and because each machine works differently, there’s no easy formula to translate resistance from machines to free weights. It requires trial and error. I suggest starting very light, and working up from there until you reach the desired number of repetitions based on your workout goals.

As you make the transition to free weights, it’s always a good idea to work with a certified personal trainer to ensure that you’re maintaining proper form. Because the risk of injury is higher with free weights, this is a wise safety precaution. A trainer can also help you select free weight exercises that are in support of your fitness goals.

Love,
Davey

Is Organic Milk Healthier?

Got milk?

We’ve talked about the differences in organic vs. conventional foods, and that people often mistakenly assume that organic means healthy. It doesn’t. You can find organic variations of almost any food – and it’s not an indication of calories, fat, sodium, etc.

Moreover, numerous studies have found that organic produce doesn’t contain any increases in vitamins or nutrients. And the consumption of organic foods doesn’t change a person’s risk of disease or illness – including cancer.

Because organic foods are grown in a more eco-friendly manner, this is the true motivation for buying organic. Even if it doesn’t benefit your human body, organic products benefit your extended body… this planet.

But what about organic milk? What does the research show?

A European Union-funded study by Newcastle University compared 22 milk brands sold in supermarkets. After crunching the data, researchers found that organic milk had lower levels of saturated fat and increased levels of beneficial fatty acids. In fact, the study’s lead researcher noted that individuals could cut saturated fats in milk by 30% – 50% simply by opting for organic.

Why? The cows that produce organic milk have diets richer in grass – whereas conventional cows typically have access to grass during summer months (if at all). Conventional cows typically consume grain and supplements. Other studies have verified the link between grass-fed cows and healthier milk.

While many people avoid milk in their diets altogether, the research does suggest that switching to organic milk is a smart way to cut saturated fats and increase your intake of desirable fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants.

Controversial Obesity Ads: Is It The Wrong Message?

The other day, I came across a controversial anti-obesity campaign that targets Georgian families – where some 40% of children are either overweight or obese. With a million advertising budget, commercials and billboards featuring overweight kids are being run across the state. The campaign features tag lines like “it’s hard to be a little girl when you’re not.”

It begs the question: Is the campaign effective? Or does it send the wrong message?

On one hand, the campaign is getting a lot of media attention and publicity. Almost all of the major news outlets have run stories about the controversial campaign. People are talking – and the obesity epidemic is getting a bigger share of the spotlight.

But on the other hand, I don’t think you can inspire lasting lifestyle changes through shame. If you don’t feel good about your body – or your relationship with your body is badly damaged – it’s much harder to make decisions that honor it like exercise and nutrition. Lasting lifestyle transformations occur through a stronger, more loving relationship with our body – and that’s not something that this campaign helps to inspire.

Some might even argue that by infusing children with even more shame and insecurities, this campaign does more harm than good. Rather than motivate children and parents to change their habits, even more people may turn to food as a way to cope with the guilt and pain.

Ultimately, time will tell if this $25 million campaign is money well spent – and if it does, in fact, make a significant dent in Georgia’s obesity problem.

In the meantime, what do you think? Does this campaign go too far? Or do you think it’s what people need to hear? Let me know in the comments below.

Study: Is Exercise the New Prozac?

In the current issue of the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, researchers from Pennsylvania State University published a study linking physical activity to feelings of excitement and enthusiasm.

Researchers asked 190 individuals to keep daily diaries and record variables such as physical activity (and its intensity), sleep quantity and quality, mental states, stress levels, etc. Based on the data, researchers concluded that active individuals experience more excitement and enthusiasm – and that these pleasant feelings occur in greater amounts on days with more activity.

According to Amanda Hyde, one of the researchers:

Our results suggest that not only are there chronic benefits of physical activity, but there are discrete benefits as well. Doing more exercise than you typically do can give you a burst of pleasant-activated feelings. So today, if you want a boost, go do some moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise.

Everyone knows that exercise has longer term health benefits. It can help build muscle, burn fat and decrease risk of illness and disease. But knowing that exercise also has short term rewards – that it can make you feel great today – can be a huge motivator for uninspired individuals.

And on a personal note, I can attest to these findings with my own experience. For me, exercise is the ultimate pick-me-up and mood improver. Whenever I exercise early in the morning, I have zest and enthusiasm to create a wonderful day for myself.

Does your personal experience align with these findings? Let me know in the comments below!

The Myth of Toning.

If you ask someone for their fitness goals, many men and women will reply that they want to become more toned. These individuals don’t want to become big and overly muscular; instead, they’d like to get rid of the “jiggle.”

In actuality, there’s no such thing as toned muscle. Muscles don’t get harder or softer – they get larger or smaller.

Toning is really about:

  1. Increasing the size of a muscle
  2. Decreasing the layer of fat that covers it

When exercisers attempt to achieve the “toning” effect, they often mistakenly opt for light resistance and a high number of repetitions. Though this strategy is great for increasing endurance, it doesn’t result in the larger muscles or decreases in fat that are required to achieve the look of toning.

BUILD LARGER MUSCLES

To build larger muscles, exercisers should select relatively heavy weights and train for 8 – 10 repetitions. On the last rep, muscles should be approaching failure. On subsequent workouts, increase the amount of resistance used (i.e., go from 30 pound weights to 35 and then 40…).

Furthermore, muscle growth must be supported by a proper diet with plenty of protein. Here are more tips for gaining muscle mass.

And don’t worry about getting too big. When you’re muscles are big enough, you can stop increasing the amount of resistance you’re using and switch to maintenance.

DECREASING FAT

Adding muscle mass will help boost your metabolism, but I recommend upping the ante with some effective cardio training. Interval training is the absolute best (a recent study showed that it boosted fat burning in participants by more than 30%), but it can also be combined with traditional endurance cardio (i.e., running at a set pace).

While the strength training and cardio will increase the amount of calories you burn each day, you may also need to decrease your caloric intake. This is called creating a calorie deficit, and it’s the only way to lose weight.

CONCLUSION

While there’s no such thing as a toned muscle, increasing your muscle mass and decreasing body fat through exercise and nutrition will achieve the desired result.

3 Exercies to Correct Uneven Shoulders.

Dear Davey,

I was looking in the mirror the other day and realized that my right trapezius is larger than my left and it is noticeable. My friend recommended that I do shrugs whilst having a heavier weight on my left until it balances. Is this right – or is there a better way of evening my muscles out?

From,
Kieren

Hey Kieren,

First things first, the trapezius muscles (often called “traps” for short) are the large superficial muscles that extend up the back of your spine, out toward your shoulders and down your spine (see image). They help move the scapulae and support the arm.

Having uneven muscles is very common – and it’s fairly easy to correct. Whether it’s uneven biceps, glutes or traps, the strategy is very similar. Ditch the machines (unless they are iso-lateral) and barbells in favor of dumbbell workouts. Barbells can be a great part of any workout, and they’re particularly useful when working with very heavy levels of resistance. But with barbells, you’re able to favor one side over the other – and thus experience an uneven workout.

As an example, look at the barbell bench press. If my left pectoral muscle is weaker and less developed, I’m able to shift more of the weight onto my right side when performing presses. If I were doing chest presses with a dumbbell, on the other hand, I wouldn’t be able to shift the weight – and both pectoral muscles would be getting an equal workout.

With machines, it’s also easy to favor one side over the other – unless the machine is iso-lateral. With iso-lateral machines, each side moves independently of the other – and so, these can be used to correct muscular imbalances.

Doing dumbbell shoulder shrugs is a great way to build up your traps. Since you’re looking to build size, use the heaviest weight that still allows for 8 – 10 successful repetitions. You should experience failure on your last repetition. Do up to 4 sets as time allows.

Also consider dumbbell upright rows and reverse dumbbell flies.

Love,
Davey

Orthorexia: Healthy Eating Taken to the Extreme.

A few months ago, I went out to dinner with a very healthy and very picky friend. While I do my best to uphold a relatively healthy diet, this friend makes me look like Ronald McDonald by comparison. We met up with two of his friends – and shockingly, their diets were even more restrictive!

At one point, the waiter brought over a complementary bowl noddles. All three of the men erupted in laughter at the idea of eating noodles – as they contain refined grains and were cooked in oil. “More for me,” I thought to myself – and, to the surprise of the men, I dug in. For the record and much to their dismay, I also took home the leftovers.

Eating healthy is one thing. But like anything else, it can be taken to the extreme.

When people become obsessed with eating healthy, and avoiding foods with artificial colors, preservatives, unhealthy fat, added salt or sugar, doctors are using a new term called “orthorexia” to describe the disorder. In Greek, “orthos” means proper and “orexia” means diet.

Orthorexics are obsessed with food selection – and eating in restaurants can become impossible. It can result in isolation, the inability to take part in everyday activities and extreme intolerance of others’ food choices.

While I doubt the men at dinner were truly orthorexics, it’s easy to see how healthy eating can get out of control. Even when healthy things – like a good diet or working out – become an obsession, it’s still an obsession. And it’s important to seek out professional help.

Do you know anyone who is obsessed with healthy eating? Has it taken control of their life? Let me know in the comments below.

Calculate Your Life Expectancy.

While much of the Valentine’s Day hooplah is about giving gifts to others, I have a gift suggestion for your body: Use the lifespan calculator to test your life expectancy. And then, do something about it.

Based on a number of variables, this quick test will put together an estimated expiration for your life. Using equations, data and research, the approximation is obviously just an educated guess. You could, for example, get hit by a car crossing the street later this afternoon.

The real value in the lifespan calculator is noticing how your answers change your estimated age of death. Some of the variables – like family history – are unchangeable. But many of the answers, like those related to exercise and nutrition, are within your control. To these answers, I’d encourage you to pay special attention.

For example, to talk about alcohol abuse is one thing. But to see how many years it shaves of your life can be a real wake up call. And it can be a real motivator to make the changes – or get the help – that is required.

As Valentine’s Day is about love, there’s no better way to show your body some love than by making decisions – and changes in your lifestyle – that honor it. Get started today by calculating your estimated lifespan.

P.S. In the comments below, share your estimated lifespan – and a change or two that you can make to extend it. Mine was 92.

A New Technique to Overcome Cardio Plateaus?

class=”alignright size-full wp-image-2420″ title=”to run further, pump muscles” src=”http://www.daveywaveyfitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/to-run-further-pump-muscles.jpg” alt=”” width=”380″ height=”261″ />In the fitness universe, there’s a lot of jargon and technical terminology.

Like “VO2max,” a word you may have heard from a personal trainer or exercise guru. In a nutshell, VO2max is the maximum capacity of an exerciser’s body to transport and use oxygen during exercise – and it’s considered one of the best measures of cardiovascular ability.

Once the exerciser’s VO2max is reached, failure is imminent. It’s a plateau that can’t be overcome like hitting a brick wall.

Traditionally, experts thought that this plateau was caused by either the heart’s inability to pump any more blood, muscles being unable to extract any additional oxygen from the blood or the inability of the lungs to pull in more oxygen from the air.

Now, a new theory is being proposed: It’s not the heart, muscles or lungs that cause the VO2max plateau – but rather, the brain. The brain applies the brakes so that the body doesn’t reach absolute failure.

The theory is being supported by a whole slew of recent research, including an interesting study involving “decremental” tests to determine VO2max – with huge implications for regular exercisers. In the study, researchers first measured participants’ VO2max using the traditional treadmill test. In this test, the treadmill starts slow, but gradually increases in speed until the VO2max plateau is reached shortly before failure.

Next, the decremental test was performed on half of the participants. Researchers quickly vamped up the treadmill speed beyond the previous point of failure. After about a minute – and just before failure was reached – the treadmill was lowered by a kilometer per hour. This was repeated for the duration of the test.

Interestingly, the decremental test resulted in a higher VO2max.

For the participants that didn’t experience the decremental test, their VO2max remained unchanged in a subsequent traditional test. But, most notably, when the decremental participants returned to the treadmill for an additional traditional VO2max test, they maintained their new (and higher) VO2max.

It’s as though simply performing the decremental test reset the body’s VO2max – and cardiovascular ability – to a higher level. For those of us that exercise regularly, this is huge and exciting news.

At Home Exercise for Strong Forearms.

Holy forearms.

Strong forearms aren’t just sexy – they’re functional.

When perform repetitions with barbells or dumbbells, some exercisers may notice that it is their grip strength (rather than the muscle being worked) that fails first. In other words, just holding onto the weights may be the greatest challenge – not the exercise itself.

Whenever I go rock climbing, I’m always impressed with the forearms of frequent climbers. Since grip strength is a necessity in climbing, their forearms are developed and bulging. It’s that sexy construction worker look.

In reading a recent article about climbing, the author recommended a very simple but highly effective exercise to build grip strength and forearm muscles. It only requires a tennis ball. I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with you. You can do it at home – or even at the desk while working.

In one hand, squeeze a tennis ball 20 times. Pause and repeat for two more sets.

Then, squeeze the ball between your thumb and pointer finger 20 times. Do this with each finger individually.

Switch hands, and repeat the whole series.

That’s it. But it’s not as easy as it sounds – and your forearms will be burning. Nonetheless, it’s a very effective way to build the grip strength that’s necessary for effective free weight training.

7 Tips to Cut Back on Caffeine.

Addicted to caffeine? Here are 7 tips to cut back.

400 billion is a very big number. It’s also the number of coffees consumed each year by people around the world. In North America alone, it’s estimated that 80% – 90% of adults have caffeine on a regular basis.

Though it’s believed that moderate caffeine consumption may be linked to some health benefits (including lower risk of some diseases, cancers and strokes), too much caffeine isn’t a good thing.

Most experts recommend no more than 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, which works out to between 2 and 4 cups. According to the Mayo Clinic, heavy caffeine consumption may cause:

  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Upset stomach
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors

With most of us not getting enough sleep – and with sleep being critical for muscle recovery – the symptom of insomnia is of particular concern for many exercise enthusiasts.

To that end, here are seven tips for cutting back on caffeine:

  1. Monitor intake. Using a journal, your phone or a piece of scrap paper, keep track of the amount of coffee, tea and soda that you consume on daily basis. This will help you get a better handle on the situation and give you a starting point.
  2. Take it slow. Gradually reduce your caffeine intake by reducing coffee consumption by 1/2 cup per day. Quitting cold turkey isn’t sustainable – and it can result in painful withdrawal symptoms like headaches.
  3. Replace caffeinated drinks with a cup of caffeine-free herbal tea. Or even water. It’s important to replace an unhealthy habit with a healthier one to help fill the void.
  4. Switch to decaf coffee. There are many great and delicious decaf flavors. Alternatively, you can try watering down your caffeinated coffee to reduce your intake.
  5. Cut brew time. You can reduce the caffeine in tea by brewing it for less time. Or, you can pour out some of the tea and replace it with hot water.
  6. Watch for other caffeine sources. Beyond coffee, tea and soda, caffeine can also be found in other products. There’s some (but not much) caffeine in chocolate, and quite a bit in many pharmaceuticals. Two Excedrin tablets, for example, contain 130 milligrams of caffeine. That’s more than a cup of a coffee.
  7. Plan accordingly. As you gradually decrease caffeine consumption, your body may experience withdrawal symptoms. For that reason, it’s best to make cutbacks during lower-stress periods in your life.

Most of all, know that a low-caffeine life is possible. And, it’s great! I don’t consume caffeine, and yet I have tons of energy and jump out of bed in the morning. No caffeine needed. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you have any tips to reduce caffeine consumption, please share them in the comments below!

Scales Don’t Measure Beauty.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of scales. Even in measuring fitness progress, scales are very limited at best.

But many people get on scales for other reasons. They get on a scale in search of validation.

When a blog buddy sent the following story to me, I knew that I had to share it with you:

You are beautiful. Your beauty, just like your capacity for life, happiness, and success, is immeasurable. Day after day, countless people across the globe get on a scale in search of validation of beauty and social acceptance.

Get off the scale! I have yet to see a scale that can tell you how enchanting your eyes are. I have yet to see a scale that can show you how wonderful your hair looks when the sun shines its glorious rays on it. I have yet to see a scale that can thank you for your compassion, sense of humor, and contagious smile. Get off the scale because I have yet to see one that can admire you for your perseverance when challenged in life.

It’s true, the scale can only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity. That’s it. It cannot measure beauty, talent, purpose, life force, possibility, strength, or love. Don’t give the scale more power than it has earned. Take note of the number, then get off the scale and live your life. You are beautiful!

I’ve never heard it said better.

Study: How Massages Heal.

Even with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, massages are proving to be more than just romantic.

Researchers from McMaster University have concluded that a short, 10-minute massage helps reduce inflammation in muscles. According to the researchers, massage may not just help athletes and exercisers improve muscle recovery – but also help treat chronic inflammation-related conditions like muscular dystrophy or arthritis.

To conduct their study, researchers followed 11 men in their twenties. After a number of tests, the men exercised until the point of exhaustion. After resting for 10 minutes, a massage therapist applied oil to both legs – but then only massaged one leg for 10 minutes. Muscle biopsies were then done on both legs – and then repeated after 2.5 hours.

Researchers discovered that even a short 10-minute massage triggers the biochemical sensors that send inflammation-reducing signals to muscle cells. Moreover, massage causes the cells to build more mitochondria – which may also play a significant role in healing.

For the researchers, the surprise was really the dramatic effect that just 10 minutes of massage had on the muscles. According to one researcher:

I didn’t think that little bit of massage could produce that remarkable of a change, especially since the exercise was so robust… It is clearly potent.

Obviously, this study is really just a first step in determining treatments for muscle recovery and injury, but it’s yet a another reason to take some time – even if it’s just for a few minutes – to engage in a massage, even if it’s not Valentine’s Day.

P.S. Can’t hire a masseuse? Check out my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube video to learn how to self-massage.

Video: Amazing 8 Minute Butt Workout!

When it comes to positive people, I’ll admit that I’m pretty high on the list. But, Cassey, my friend and fellow YouTube Next Trainer, definitely takes the cake. I love her!

Cassey runs a YouTube channel called BlogilatesTV, and the two of us teamed up to create a super-intense and amazing 8 minute ass workout to kick your…. well, butt.

Check out the video and let me know if you make it through to the end by leaving a comment. Good luck!

Does Being a Vegetarian Help You Lose Weight?

Hey Davey,

I have a question: Does being a vegetarian help with weight loss?

From,
Ashley

Hey Ashley,

It may – or it may not. Though people maintain vegetarian diets for a number of reasons (i.e., moral, religious, health, etc.), it’s not a weight loss program. It’s truly a lifestyle.

I, for example, could have a vegetarian diet that consists entirely of chocolate chip cookies and upside-down cake. Yum! But clearly, such a diet would be extremely unhealthy and result in weight gain.

Losing weight is really creating a calorie deficit. That is, you consumer fewer calories than you burn. It’s all about the type of foods you eat, the size of your servings and the quality and quantity of physical activity in which you engage. Whether you’re a carnivore or a herbivore, the formula is exactly the same.

Having said that, some individuals may find that vegetarian diets typically lack saturated fat (found in animal products) and are rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and other filling – but nutritional – foods. For this reason, being a vegetarian may be more conducive to a healthier lifestyle. But it’s not a magic solution for losing weight.

Love,
Davey

Is Brown Rice Healthier Than White Rice?

In recent years, rice consumption has dramatically increased in the United States. While the vast majority of the rice we eat is white, are there health benefits of switching to brown rice?

First things first, brown rice is the whole grain with just the outer husk removed through a milling process. White rice, on the other hand, is brown rice that is heavily milled to take away the bran and much of the germ.

The germ contains essential oils which otherwise cause brown rice to go bad after 6 – 8 months. Because this germ is removed in white rice, it can last up to 10 years before spoiling. It is the longer shelf life of white rice has made it extremely popular. Unfortunately, the heavy milling process also removes the rice’s fiber, vitamins and nutrients.

When comparing white rice to brown, consider the follow statistics. Brown rice has:

  • About 7x more fiber
  • Fewer carbs
  • A lower glycemic index (doesn’t result in blood sugar spikes)
  • 2.5x more iron
  • 3x more vitamin B3
  • 4x more vitamin B1
  • 4x more magnesium
  • 10x more vitamin B6
  • Fewer calories

White rice has also been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes. According to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, eating two or more servings of brown rice weekly lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating five or more servings of white rice weekly increases that risk. In fact, researchers concluded that replacing 50 grams of white rice daily with brown rice would lower the overall type 2 diabetes risk in an individual by 16%.

The bottom line: If rice is part of your diet, brown rice is a much healthier option. Despite its shorter shelf life, it offers a number of benefits over the more refined alternative.