Rice is considered to be one of the most important parts of the human diet simply because of the nutritional value it carries and the importance it has in so many cuisines and food cultures. Just recently, a new type of rice has started getting more and more popular for its extremely quick cooking time making it a viable option for people who don’t have the time to wait around for their rice to cook.
We are of course talking about Instant rice, a new type of rice that cooks in about 2-5 minutes compared to standard boiled rice that takes about 10-20 minutes to cook depending on brand, heat and environment. According to mahatmarice.com/recipes/arroz-con-leche/, one of the leading manufacturers of rice in the USA, the type of rice you eat has a huge impact on your lifestyle.
However, many people who have tried instant rice out couldn’t help but ask themselves one single question – is instant rice as healthy as normal boiled rice? Many people are still unaware of the answer and get confused when choosing between the instant variety and their standard boiled counterpart.
If you too are a confused buyer wondering about the health benefits that the instant variety of rice has, then don’t worry because you are in the right place. In this article we will be answering all the questions you have about this rice and conclude with whether it is truly healthy for you or not. Read the article till the end so that you don’t miss out on crucial details.
What exactly is instant rice?
Many people know instant rice by many names – minute rice, insta-cooked rice, 5-minute rice, etc. The reason behind these names is because this type of rice is exactly what its name suggests – it’s rice that can be cooked in an extremely nominal period of time, typically around 5 minutes. This puts it at a huge time advantage over other normal types of rice which take around 10-30 minutes depending on the type of rice you have and your cooking method.
The truth behind instant rice’s instant cooking is that it is nothing but precooked and dehydrated normal rice. To put it in simple terms, the rice that you get in these packets has been already cooked to its near-maximum point and then preserved in a container for you to eat it out. These extra processes also add to the overall expense for creating this type of rice which results in you paying a higher price for the end product.
Instant rice was launched as an alternative for individuals who don’t have the time to wait for normal rice to cook properly but still want to eat them for their nutrients. There are countless brands out there selling different types of instant rice in different flavours.
What is the difference between instant rice and boiled rice?
You’d be surprised to know that the instant variety of rice is not a special type of rice that is specifically grown in a way that can be cooked faster. Instant rice is just the same as normal rice except that it goes through an extra step while it is being milled in the processing factory.
If you aren’t aware, milling is the process of removing extra parts and coverings from the rice that you don’t need in your diet. Your standard boiled rice that you get in the market goes through an extensive milling process where the outer covering of the rice, which is called chaff, is removed. Then that process is followed by the removal of the bran, a nutritious covering found in brown rice.
The end result is simple, yet still very nutritious, white rice. The process for producing brown rice is identical to this with the exception of going one step backwards where the rice grain still has its bran (which gives brown rice its unique color).
Now instant rice is made when you take standard white rice, cook it till it’s almost perfectly cooked and then dehydrate it so that it won’t go bad. Many people claim that this process removes the most important parts of a rice grain and leaves the rice with no redeemable healthy quality. Let’s discuss if it’s true or not in our next point.
So, is instant rice really as healthy as boiled rice?
As we discussed earlier, this instant variety of rice goes through a much thorough process and manufacturing methods which primarily involves extensive milling, refining, cooking and then dehydrating. There are many people who believe that these thorough processes remove all nutritional content from the rice including its bran residue and cereal germ (the part that holds most nutritional residue in a grain).
Thus, according to many people who have tried and tested it, instant rice is nothing but the shell of a rice grain that could have been much more healthier and tastier if it weren’t made to be “instant”. Reportedly, this also causes the rice to lose all its texture and taste which you can immediately notice if you taste instant rice and normal rice side by side together.
The problem is that there is no actual study done on the topic and people don’t know for sure if the claims about instant rice being unhealthier than normal rice are true. According to the Whole Grain Council, a leading government agency that verifies whether a food grain has the nutritional value of the other whole grains on the market or not, instant rice counts just as another whole grain product – the same as other normal rices.
That is precisely why you still see instant rice available on the market – a prominent council itself regards the type of rice to be just as nutritional and healthy as other types of rice. Regardless which side is true and which side is false, we personally recommend that you should be safe rather than sorry and just opt for normal rice which you can pre-cook and refrigerate beforehand if you want to save up on time.
Whether instant rice is as healthy as boiled rice is still a disputable question, but we hope this article helped you answer most of the questions on the topic. If this article was insightful for you, please consider following our website for regular updates as it will help us immensely.