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The right rice

Meals consisting of steak, sweet potato, chicken and rice have been staples of bodybuilders for decades.

Rice is one of the most popular carbohydrate sources for bodybuilders because it is cheap and easy to prepare. Brown rice is generally the preferred choice. It has more protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals because of the outer bran casing, which gives brown rice its colour.

It is slower to digest which makes it a steady and long-lasting source of energy. White rice, on the other hand, is easily digested and a fast-acting energy source because the bran casing is removed.

The nutrients in white rice enter the blood stream at a faster rate, causing an increase in insulin which makes it the food of choice for post-workout meals. Eating white rice after a workout along with a protein source will help the body to absorb nutrients it needs to initiate muscle repair.

Although white rice is easier to cook and often softer on the palate, it is stripped of valuable nutrients. Brown rice contains more fiber and nearly double the vitamin B1, B3 and B6 as well as vitamin E. The phytic acid in brown rice can however prevent the absorption of minerals in the small intestine. Brown rice varieties offer increased percentages of magnesium, potassium and phosphorus content as well as folate than white rice. Apart from long-grain brown rice, there are short- or medium-grain varieties.

When cutting calories it is best to ditch white rice for the higher fiber long-grain brown rice. Also include a handful of fiber-rich vegetables at each meal as part of a diet to strip fat.

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