Today, I will explain to You the complex relationship between IBS and rice.
Generally speaking, Rice is not a trigger for IBS, and some types of rice are actually good for IBS.
Rice may worsen IBS in certain circumstances.
As an IBS doctor and IBS sufferer, I will try to answer questions running in your head about eating rice with your condition.
Can Rice Trigger IBS?
Rice is not a Trigger of IBS. It is considered a low FODMAP diet.
It consists mainly of carbohydrates (about 87%). the caloric value of rice comes from starch the main carbohydrate component of rice.
Also, It contains a fair amount of soluble fibers (good for IBS). and it is Gluten-free, so it is safe people with coeliac disease and others with “non-coeliac gluten sensitivity”.
Although rice is not a trigger for IBS, white rice can aggravate an already existing attack of IBS-constipation.
White rice is the Refined form of the brown rice and the most widely used, it is obtained by removing the bran (seed coat) and germ (embryo).
Later in this post, I will explain to you the benefits and downsides of white rice Vs Brown rice with IBS.
Although I have IBS-constipation, I am a regular consumer of white rice!. This is because brown rice is the common type in my community.
Before writing this article, I’ve done extensive research and now I’m amazed by the health benefits of brown rice (I personally didn’t know before).
I will shift to brown rice and I recommend it to you. As science proves – day after day – that the whole grains (brown rice) are winning the battle against refined grains (white rice).
BUT NOT ALWAYS! as some may benefit from white rice more.
Can Rice Help in relieving IBS Symptoms?
In the first section, I’ve explained to you that rice itself is not a trigger for IBS.
Can eating rice really improve IBS symptoms?
The answer is Yes, it can benefit your IBS. But it depends on:
- the type of your IBS (whether it is diarrhea-predominant, constipation-predominant or Mixed type IBS)
- The type of rice you eat.
- How you cook it, what additives you add to your cooked rice.
- When and how much you eat rice.
Rice is a low FODMAP diet, which is clinically suggested for consumption during IBS as it has what is called resistant starch.
This “resistant starch” reaches the bowels and stimulates the growth of useful bacteria that help with normal bowel movements.
Also, this insoluble rice is very useful in reducing the effects of conditions associated with Irritable bowel syndrome-like bloating, colics and constipation.
Other benefits of rice that will amaze you:
- Protects from Hypertension: Rice is low in sodium, we – doctors- think that high sodium in your body is the main mechanism of increased blood pressure.
So consuming a low sodium diet will protect you from getting hypertension. And if you already have hypertension, it is a must to consume a low sodium diet, and rice is a good option for you.
- Protects you from cancer specially colon cancer: brown rice contains insoluble fiber that helps your gut motility and biological balance of beneficial bacteria inside your colon. (Read this study). Besides fiber, Rice also has natural antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and phenolic and flavonoid compounds, which help scour free radicals from your body.
- It can reduce dysentery: The husk of rice is considered to be an effective medicine to treat dysentery. (source)
- It boosts metabolism & immunity: niacin, vitamin D, calcium, fiber, iron, thiamine, and riboflavin are minerals and vitamins that essential for your body metabolism and immunity. (Read more about benefits of rice here)
Brown rice vs white rice which is better for IBS?
Nutritionally, brown rice is recommended for a healthy diet because it contains more fibers and extra nutrients.
Brown rice tends to have the same caloric content or be a little bit more caloric. it also contains extra protein and fiber that nourishes gut bacteria.
The fiber in brown rice may also decrease bloating, pain, and other symptoms of IBS in some (NOT ALL) patients. It does this by making your stool softer so that it can pass out of your body more easily.
Brown rice offers other health benefits such as:
- Lowers cholesterol
- Controls blood sugar levels
- Helps you feel full faster
We (doctors) believe that IBS is caused by a deficient intake of dietary fiber, and most physicians recommend that patients with IBS increase their intake of dietary fiber in order to relieve their symptoms.
Soluble fiber found in brown rice and other foods such as and other legumes, oats, barley, dried beans, and berries.
It may help diarrhea by slowing down the passage of food from the stomach to the intestines and by giving stool form.
BUT TAKE CARE!
The sudden introduction of brown rice with a relatively high amount of fibers may cause problems for you. As a result of increasing the amount of fiber causing some bloating, distension and colics.
So, you have to start eating brown rice in small amounts and gradually increase it.
On the other hand, white rice is considered a refined grain, this “refining” process make rice lose its fiber content.
SO, it is less effective in some decreasing IBS symptoms specially constipation.
Other nutrition experts suggest that white rice may be better for IBS. as it contains fewer amounts of anti-nutrients like:
- Lectins, which are small proteins that can bind to other cell membranes preventing the absorption of other nutrients causing bad effects on IBS.
- Phytic Acid.
These anti-nutrients – which are found in brown rice – can worsen IBS symptoms like diarrhea, bloating and distension.
Although this assumption makes white rice better than brown rice, I found no strong scientific evidence supporting this.
Research demonstrates that lectins only become harmful when eaten RAW and in LARGE AMOUNTS.
My conclusion is that BOTH white rice and brown rice are not bad for IBS. brown rice is slightly more beneficial for your IBS.
If you have IBS and your staple rice is the white type, I recommend you try the brown rice.
|UNIT||WHITE RICE||BROWN RICE|
|TOTAL LIPID (FAT)||G%||0.6%||2.4%|
|FIBERS||G%||Less than 0.3%||2.4%|
|GOOD FOR IBS?||YES||++||+++|
How To Eat Rice If You Have IBS?
In this section, I will tell you the best handy tips on:
- How to eat rice safely with IBS.
- what rice to eat according to your condition and type of IBS.
Not only the type of rice that affects your IBS but also how you cook and eat rice affects your condition.
Here is how to eat rice safely:
- Generally, both white and brown rice (and all other types of rice) are not a trigger for IBS, and you can eat them safely.
- Keeping a diary of your food for two to three weeks and noting if a particular type of rice causes bloating can help you isolate what your exact trigger could be.
- Although it is generally better for IBS, Brown rice has a lot of fiber, which can cause gas and bloating, particularly if you are not used to eating a lot of fiber.
- Introduce brown rice at first in small amounts and increase gradually.
- Drink larger amounts of water when you eat high fiber brown rice.
- Decrease food additives like spice or condiments. These additives may be the problem with IBS, not Rice.
- If you constantly experience bloating, white rice is better for you.
- If you mainly have IBS- constipation, brown rice is better for you.
- For people with IBS-Diarrhea, some people benefit from white rice, others benefit from brown rice. You have to test and find which is better for you.
A gastroenterology doctor & Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferer!
I founded oh-mygut.com to share my experience and provide oversimplified, EVIDENCE-BASED tips and information about IBS & other gut symptoms.
Feel free to ask me anything in comments!