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How Long Does It Take to Digest Rice? | Brown Vs. White Rice

When planning meals, you often don’t want to eat something too heavy. The other day, I decided to have a late lunch, but then I remembered I was having dinner with my sister in just a few hours. I was going to have a bowl of rice and wanted to know how long it takes to digest, so I did some extensive research, and this is what I found out.

In general, a person is able to digest cooked rice in approximately 1 to 2 hours. The type of rice, as well as an individual’s health, age, and metabolic rate, will factor into the amount of time needed for rice digestion to occur. White rice is known to digest faster than brown rice.

Let’s take a closer look at the main factors that affect digestion and answer a few common questions people have on the topic.

Is White or Brown Rice Harder to Digest?

Top view of various different types of uncooked rice in wooden spoon

Brown rice is much harder to digest than white rice since it still has the bran and germ attached to the rice grain. Of course, this is also what makes brown rice healthier. Even so, in some people, the germ and bran can exacerbate issues like IBS or other digestive tract problems.

White Rice Digestion Time

White rice generally digests in 1 to 2 hours, but faster than an equal amount of brown rice. As you probably know, white rice is brown rice that has been refined to remove the germ and bran. White rice has a higher glycemic index (GI) score, which means that it breaks down faster than brown rice.

Brown Rice Digestion Time

Brown rice takes about 1 to 2 hours to digest properly. This is approximately the same amount of time it takes to digest oats and cornmeal.

Cooked brown rice has a low GI score of around 68. White rice, in comparison, has a higher GI score of about 73. Interestingly, the higher fiber score of brown rice means that it sticks around in the stomach longer and is digested more slowly. This means that blood sugar does not spike as quickly. and is thus better for people with diabetes.

Cartoon of a White Rice and Brown Rice Sack

Can Digestion Be Sped Up?

Many different tools can hasten digestion. To get rid of symptoms of slow digestion, it is imperative that you correct the way that you eat.

  1. Masticate Deliberately- Slow down when you are eating. Chew your food repeatedly before you swallow. Mushing up your food helps your body process the food more smoothly.
  2. Hydrate- Drinking more water can also help get your digestion process back on track. When adequately hydrated, your body functions better, and you are less likely to suffer constipation.
  3. Eat More Fiber- Consuming more fiber will facilitate the digestive process and allow you to have regular bowel movements. For healthy digestion, you need to eat at least 5 servings of vegetables a day. Try eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables to get closer to your daily fiber goals.
  4. Avoid Process Foods- Improve your gut health and speed up digestion by limiting your processed food intake. They contain refined grains and sugar, which can slow down digestion. They are also inflammatory and generally not conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
  5. Don’t Skip Workouts- Exercise contributes to a healthy diet and aids in good digestion. When people exercise, they get a better balance of beneficial gut bacteria, which is crucial to overall health and disease prevention.

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Is Rice Easy to Digest?

Rice in a Stomach

Rice, by itself, is relatively easy to digest. However, people do not usually eat rice without accompaniments. Often, drinks and any number of main courses are included on the plate. These trimmings can speed up or slow down digestion.

Many athletes who are looking to consume a lot of calories prefer eating white rice because it is simpler to digest than brown rice. White rice also does not contain phytic acid, which can cause gastrointestinal issues and block the absorption of micronutrients and minerals. Calcium, iron, and magnesium are among them.

Additionally, white rice is thought of as a “safe” starch. You can usually eat them without worrying about experiencing side effects like an allergic reaction. If you eat white rice before you exercise, you don’t have to worry about getting slowed down with digestive issues as much as some other carbs. Moreover, individuals with sensitivities to whole grains can easily consume white rice.

Speaking from experience, those who experience nausea and heartburn need foods that are easy to digest. White rice’s bland nature makes it a suitable starch substitute at mealtime.

Final Thoughts

There is a reason rice is a staple consumed by a majority of the world’s population. It is tasty, comes in multiple varieties, and has numerous health benefits. Just make sure you choose the right kind for you before eating too much of it. While it digests reasonably fast, you also need to watch out for what else you are eating alongside it. Drink a lot of water, eat some type of fiber as an accompaniment, and the speed of digestion should be somewhat maximized.

I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for reading!

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Important Note: The information is this article should not be taken as medical advice but merely as information obtained via research. Please contact your doctor for specific medical advice.