Learn About These 6 Disadvantages OF Eating Brown Rice
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Brown rice is a complete powerhouse of nutrition, and it comprises all the essential nutrients. This gives it a robust profile of fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and more. The fiber content of brown rice is amazing, and it benefits our body with digestion and a healthy heart. Meanwhile, the array of vitamins and minerals provides valuable antioxidant effects to fight cell damage, maintain nerve function, and boost immunity. Magnesium and manganese are particularly plentiful in brown rice.

However, as per the study by National Library of Medicine brown rice does contain some antinutrients to be aware of, like phytic acid. Still, the impressive nutritional benefits make brown rice a worthy addition to any diet. So, next time you’re making a meal, consider choosing the nutritious goodness of brown rice!

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Phytic Acid

Phytic acid, or phytate, is a naturally occurring plant compound that binds to minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium in the digestive tract. This can prevent the absorption of these minerals by the body. Research done by the National Library of Medicine brown rice contains higher amounts of phytic acid compared to white rice. Phytic acid levels range from 0.39-2.01% in brown rice varieties compared to 0.14-0.45% in milled white rice varieties. The bran layer in brown rice is where phytic acid is concentrated.

When phytic acid binds to minerals, it forms compounds called phytates that are not easily absorbed by the intestines. Phytic acid can reduce the bioavailability of iron by 50-70% and zinc by up to 70%. This can negatively affect mineral status in populations that rely heavily on rice as a staple food. Studies show phytates decrease the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium from rice-based meals in a dose-dependent manner. The phytic acid in brown rice thus acts as an antinutrient that can inhibit the absorption of important minerals like iron when consumed regularly in large portions.

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Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal that is naturally present in the environment. Rice plants absorb arsenic more readily than other grains since they are grown in water-flooded conditions. 

Arsenic accumulates in the grain's outer layers, which are removed to produce white rice. For this reason, brown rice contains more arsenic than white rice. Research by National Library of Medicine shows that brown rice contains higher concentrations of inorganic arsenic, which is the more toxic form that is linked to adverse health effects. Consuming high amounts of arsenic over a long period is associated with certain types of cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.

While brown rice has more arsenic than white rice, it still contains much less arsenic than some seafood, certain fruits and leafy greens. The arsenic in rice alone is unlikely to cause harm, but it should be considered as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Those consuming rice as a staple part of their diet may want to monitor their intake.

Fiber Content

Brown rice may seem like the poster child for healthy eating. The wholesome, earthy grains. The nutty, chewy texture. But for some tummies, that insoluble fiber in brown rice can cause issues. Insoluble fiber doesn't dissolve in water. It passes through the digestive tract relatively intact, rubbing against the intestinal walls like an irritating scratchy sweater. This insoluble fiber can stir up drama in sensitive stomachs and conditions like IBS, including: Bloating and gas as the fibrous rice ferments in the colon. The belly inflates like a balloon thanks to the gut bacteria throwing an all-out rager. Not a good look. Abdominal cramps as the fiber irritates the insides like an unwanted houseguest overstaying their welcome. Constipation as the insoluble fiber gets stuck in there, refusing to budge. While some people get more regular with insoluble fiber, for others it binds them up.

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Brown rice is relatively high in carbohydrates, containing 25-26 grams of total carbs per cooked cup (195 grams). This is a problem for those following low-carb diets like the keto diet, which recommends limiting carb intake to 20-50 grams per day. The high carb content means brown rice can spike blood sugar levels as well. Eating too many carb-heavy foods like brown rice may increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Those with diabetes should pair brown rice with healthy fats and protein to help manage blood sugar response. Limiting portion sizes of brown rice can also help control blood sugar spikes. Overall, the high-carb content of brown rice makes it unsuitable for low-carb diets and potentially problematic for blood sugar control, especially when eaten in large amounts.


Lectins act as built-in pesticides, protecting plants from insects and diseases. But when lectins enter the human body, they can wreak havoc on our health. Lectins are resistant to digestion and manage to survive intact as they pass through the gastrointestinal tract. Once inside, they bind to receptors on the cells lining the gut wall. This triggers inflammation and damages the gut lining, making it more permeable or "leaky." 

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This leaky gut then allows undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins to enter the bloodstream unfiltered. The result is systemic inflammation and autoimmune reactions throughout the body. The national library of medicine’s research has shown that some people seem to be more sensitive to lectins than others. But many experts believe it's wise to limit or avoid high-lectin foods like brown rice, especially for those with autoimmune diseases. Preparation techniques like soaking, sprouting, fermenting, and cooking can reduce lectins in foods but may not eliminate them entirely. To be safe, sensitive individuals should steer clear of foods naturally high in lectins.


Goitrogens are compounds that can interfere with thyroid function by blocking iodine uptake in the thyroid gland, causing it to enlarge into a condition known as a goiter. These compounds are often found in raw cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale. However, those with existing thyroid issues or iodine deficiencies may find them problematic. When brown rice is cooked, many of the goitrogens become deactivated. Still, those with thyroid problems may want to limit brown rice and other whole grain consumption to be safe. Being informed about goitrogens and their potential effects allows people to make wise dietary choices for optimal thyroid function.