Everybody tells us to eat whole grains. We're supposed to eat brown rice rather than white. They tell us that science shows that brown is better; that it has more vitamins and fiber. Why then do the Chinese eat white rice every day and have less obesity than us?
Brown rice is white rice, but with a thick husk around it. This is like eating walnuts and not taking the shell off. Nature put some nutrients in to make that shell, but they're not for us. They have a poor bio-availability. Our bodies have to take more time to process through the shell. Most of it passes through us with a net loss of energy and a slowing of our metabolism. Difficult-to-digest foods are not good for us and slow down our digestive systems. this steals our energy, makes us lethargic and makes our bodies ask for more food.
White rice is the most hypo-allergenic, easily assimilated, and energetically neutral of the grains. All food and herbs have properties (warming, cooling, moistening, drying, etc.) but white rice is completely neutral. While white rice is the best, though, it should not be taken to the exclusion of the other grains. All foods have things that no other food will give us, so we need a wide variety. You should have all the grains available, even brown rice. If you soak the other grains overnight, they will have the same cooking time as white rice. then you can cook them together and have a wide variety of grains, but cut the concentration of the more difficult-to-digest ones.
Brown rice was popularized in the macrobiotic movement. Their studies used brown rice as it is found in Japan which is partially milled. They take 3/4 of the husk off. The stuff we get here is completely un-shucked and is too difficult to digest (although you could mill it yourself if you really wanted to).
Brown rice was also touted as being superior because of the experience of the Japanese armada. They fed their navy white rice, and they developed beriberi (a disease due to deficiency of B1). Then they fed the brown rice and the beriberi resolved. So there is some B1 that we can pull out of the brown rice. Does that mean we need it? No.
The thing about this experience is: That's all they were feeding the soldiers. Only rice, nothing else. Almost every other fruit, vegetable and meat out there have B1. If you are eating any semblance of a balanced diet, you don't have to worry about beriberi. Also, vegetables will give you all the vitamins and fiber that you need.
In China, they eat just about everything. The fact that they took the time to knock the hull off of the brown rice indicates that there must be a good reason. It makes it easier to digest.
There are those who argue that we want difficult digestion - That by making it harder, the metabolism will respond by working faster. This is like pouring water on a fire to make it burn hotter. It does not work this way; just look at the Asians. All they eat is cooked or pickled and easy to digest foods. they eat more calories per day than us and have less obesity. This is due to efficient digestion.
I wrote a book called “The Asian Diet: simples secrets for eating right, losing weight, and being well” which explains how the lessons of the Asians cultures have contributed to their good dietary habits and can help improve ours. There’s more info at http://www.theasiandiet.com . I know this site is not supposed to be used to sell anything, so I urge you all to check it out from the library. You can read it in a day. There is a lot we can learn from the lessons figured out from thousands of years of experimentation, observation, and documentation.