food

Japan ranks No. 50 in world rice consumption

70 Comments
By Mike, RocketNews24

Think Japan loves it some rice? Well, you’d be right. Japan is definitely a rice consuming nation, and the little white grains are most certainly one of Japan’s staple foods. But would you believe the country doesn’t even break the top 10 nations when it comes to rice consumption?

This chart ranks countries by individual rice consumption per day and, as you can see, Japan is way down at the bottom at number 50. That’s well below a plethora of other Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, Thailand, China and Indonesia.

Reading the chart, one sees that an individual Japanese person consumes about 119 grams of rice per day, or around two and a half “onigiri” rice balls‘ worth (the common snack item conveniently happens to be portioned into one standard serving of rice). This seems to fit pretty perfectly into what you might consider a regular Japanese person’s daily diet: Two square meals with a bowl of rice and questionable convenience store bread, sometimes complete with room-temperature egg, tuna and mayo coated in an impenetrable layer of preservatives, for breakfast. If you think the majority of busy Japanese people are still prepping grilled fish, rice and miso for breakfast, by the way, you might want to check what decade it is.

Of course, this is a piddling amount when compared to Asia’s top rice dog, Bangladesh, where people are apparently just eating whole bags of rice for every meal, clocking an average of 473 grams of the stuff per person per day, or 10-and-a-half onigiri worth. That doesn’t seem to leave much room in the average person’s diet for anything else.

There is, of course, a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this, which may become clear when you notice that many of the higher-ranking countries are significantly poorer than Japan, and a strong economy tends to lead to more diverse diets. For those in some of the top-ranking countries, rice is an economical source of energy; but for a modern Japanese, consuming too much rice is a great way to grow out of your old college party jeans astonishingly quickly.

Source: ITmedia

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- The nine best onigiri fillings as chosen by an American -- Onigiri taste test: Which convenience store will win? -- We examine, sort thousands of grains of rice to test manga-approved cooking method

© Japan Today

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70 Comments
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Not surprising considering the plethora of options we have. In my family's case, we usually have bread for breakfast, some type of noodles for lunch (ramen, soba, pasta), and rice for dinner (roughly 5 nights per week).

6 ( +9 / -3 )

10.5 onigiri is larger than a bowling ball. Those thin people should join a Nathan's eating contest.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I often get asked by Japanese people in the countryside if we eat rice in Canada/America. Some of them seem to think that we are strictly on a potato/bread/pasta starch diet. While we may not break the top 50, at least we have far more types of rice available at supermarkets. Really wish that rice import tariffs weren't as bad as they are here so I wouldn't have to pay ridiculous amounts for jasmine or basmati online.

15 ( +17 / -3 )

Does this count rice used for processed food and things like Sake?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Data like this takes me back to my postgraduate days and a thesis on the influence of farmer groups on Japanese agricultural policy (think the Doha Round in the 1990s). I actually did a fair bit of work on caloric intake of the Japanese as a series of time analyses. Although the old grey cells ain't what they used to be, I seem to recall that by the late 1980s Japan's rice consumption was about half of what it was in the early 1950s. Indeed, as somebody has already pointed out, Japan's consumers have long been presented with a plethora of other food options. However, don't know what the current situation is.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

That makes sense, I only eat maybe 200g of rice a week

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It could be a great chance to eat a healthy food source....if they didn't insist on polishing it to hell and removing all the fiber. For 90% of Japanese people, consuming rice is basically consuming empty calories. Stick to the genmai....it even has taste to it. I'm always amazed when TV personalities go to some other prefecture and try the local rice; they're like "Oh my God, this is SO tasty!", when in actual fact, white polished rice from Kagoshima tastes the damn same as white polished rice from Niigata. It's just brainwashing and trends that keep this nonsense alive.

14 ( +19 / -5 )

No way! There must be some mistake. I thought Japan was #1. Not fifty. Which country consumes more seafood then? Spain?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Amidalism; Good, cheap basmati can be had in Shin-Okubo; enjoyed some at the Embassy recently; they said they buy there.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Japan ranks No. 50 in world rice consumption

Wonder where it ranks in terms of cost of that rice? Would Japan rank higher if folks were not paying eight times the world market rate? Sure, increased affluence in Japan has created more options for Japanese people. But if rice were a fraction of its current cost, those options would be much more expensive in comparison to rice, and rice consumption might return closer to historical levels.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

My favorite meal in japan is a nice homemade rice hamburger without the rice.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Haha had a good chuckle when I read the headline!

Course the reasoning makes sense, but still, I bet many Japanese would shriek in horror if told this LOL!!

And yeah stop polishing all the good stuff off so it has some food value!! We eat a bit of the brown stuff at home but not much as the wife has trouble digesting because of medical issues, but I sometimes make a batch for myself & we do eat a bit of Thai rice so some variety on occasion!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

And yeah stop polishing all the good stuff off so it has some food value!!

It's amazing how many Japanese people seem to believe that unpolished rice is somehow bad for you. I overheard my mil explaining to her infant g-granddaughter in all seriousness that the bag of brown rice she'd just had delivered from the inaka wouldn't be fit to eat until it had gone through the seimaiki on the highest setting, twice!

8 ( +9 / -1 )

There is, of course, a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this, which may become clear when you notice that many of the higher-ranking countries are significantly poorer than Japan, and a strong economy tends to lead to more diverse diets. For those in some of the top-ranking countries, rice is an economical source of energy; but for a modern Japanese, consuming too much rice is a great way to grow out of your old college party jeans astonishingly quickly.

Another Japan is superior article

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Not too surprising when you consider the the diverse amount of food options now available here in Japan. This happens in all the developed countries. The traditional stable foods fall in consumption when foods from overseas are introduced.

I like rice and I do eat it everyday. But my first choice is soba noodles

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I had planned to say something snarky like "Japan ranks number one in rice prices," and while this may or may not be true (I guess it is), while I was looking for the data, I found this fascinating website. If you are interested in rice in general or to Japan specifically, check it out: http://ricepedia.org/japan

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Not surprising, since the poorer countries are going to be eating more or less ONLY rice, or mainly rice which, if lucky, is topped with some greens and maybe a bit of meat.

I find even 2.5 onigiri (or whatever it was) per person to still be pretty high. I eat rice pretty often -- the brown, wholesome stuff. Not the white, polished crap that is bad for digestion -- but not as much others, I guess. I COULD eat it a lot more, but I like some diversity. As a couple of posters above put it, though, if they offered more diversity of rice in Japan in general -- not hard to get, in small packages, and extremely over priced -- like basmati, jasmine, or Thai, I'd probably eat it a lot more, changing once in a while amongst them.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I eat rice pretty often -- the brown, wholesome stuff. Not the white, polished crap that is bad for digestion

I hate to break it to you, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with white rice. In fact, it is quite good for you.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

there is absolutely nothing wrong with white rice. In fact, it is quite good for you.

Except that it has had all the fibre stripped out of it, giving it a high glycemic value and making much more likely than unpolished rice to give you a blood-sugar high and set you on the path to type 2 diabetes.

Brown rice contains less carbohydrate, more fibre, more protein and more minerals, especially magnesium.

And it tastes better.

The occasional white-rice meal isn't going to ruin your health, but as a regular choice, brown is way better.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

the brown, wholesome stuff. Not the white, polished crap that is bad for digestion

Is that just bad for your digestion or bad for everyone's? I've read that for the average person, white rice is more digestible than brown rice, but the difference is small. The overall nutritional difference is also very small. White rice is one of the most tolerated foods around the world. Personally, I can't stand brown rice. (On the other hand, I prefer brown bread over white. ) My favorite is white rice cooked with green peas (mame gohan).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Polished rice is just empty calories, yet so many Japanese think it's 'healthy'. I have been told, on several occasions, that I should eat more white rice as it's good for my health and bread and potatoes are bad for me.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

bread and potatoes are bad for me.

If they're thinking of the sweet white fluffy 'bread' (shokupan or kashipan) they sell in the conbinis and supermarkets, and potatoes thickly peeled and then fried or cooked to death in sugar, soy and butter, they're probably right.

Proper, whole-grain bread and spuds left unpeeled as Nature intended, are as much a part of a healthy balanced diet as unpolished rice.

Everything in moderation, of course.

My favorite is white rice cooked with green peas (mame gohan).

I love mame gohan! One of the few times white rice is allowed, nay, welcomed, on the table.

white rice is more digestible than brown rice

It's digested more quickly, creating that sugar spike. The lack of fibre makes it a major contributor to constipation, which is why mame gohan, with it's fibre-rich green peas to compensate, is a good way to eat white rice if you crave it.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The lack of fibre makes it a major contributor to constipation

Brown rice has less than 1 gram of fiber per 50 grams dry weight. It's a very poor source of fiber. Natto on white rice will provide five times more fiber than a bowl of brown rice.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It's digested more quickly, creating that sugar spike. The lack of fibre makes it a major contributor to constipation, which is why mame gohan, with it's fibre-rich green peas to compensate, is a good way to eat white rice if you crave it.

Cleo, that explains a lot. My ex is always having digestion problems...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Huh. We can discuss the pros and cons of brown vs. white rice until the cows come home, but the fact is that the Japanese are the longest-lived and healthiest people in the world (with the lowest rates of obesity), so they must be doing something right.

Having said that, it doesn't surprise me one bit that they rank so low on the international scale of rice consumption. One of my favourite classroom activities is to ask my students to describe a typical Japanese breakfast. They will eagerly reply in detail (rice, miso soup, pickles, fish, green tea), along with the usual obligatory comments about the healthfulness and deliciousness of Japanese cuisine.

Then I'll ask them to tell me what they usually eat for breakfast themselves. Surprise surprise, only about one in ten eats rice in the morning. More typically, they breakfast on bread, fruit, and yogurt, washed down with coffee.

And has anyone else noticed that the rice section of the supermarket is getting smaller and smaller all the time, whereas the bread and pasta sections are expanding?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Except that it has had all the fibre stripped out of it, giving it a high glycemic value and making much more likely than unpolished rice to give you a blood-sugar high and set you on the path to type 2 diabetes.

I am literally in a constant state of being surrounded by people that eat rice daily, including myself, and not one of them has diabetes. Anything overdone or overeaten can be bad for your health. There is nothing wrong with a moderate diet of white rice. As others have pointed out, Japan does have a considerablly positive longevity rate and most of those people are eating rice on a daily basis. As to fiber, there are plenty of daily sources of fiber. It does not have to be in the form of brown rice.

And it tastes better.

Not with curry, it doesn't. As to other dishes or plain, I think that is an individual taste. I personally like both.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

slumdog: "I hate to break it to you, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with white rice. In fact, it is quite good for you."

Well, you'd be wrong... again. Polished white rice is not good for you. It is simply empty calories. The body can properly digest brown rice and some other types of rice, but polished white rice is a rather modern process and our bodies have not evolved to be able to handle it properly. Same with white bread -- or bread that uses processed white flour. basically the whole racks of bread in all convenience stores and supermarkets are bad for you, too.

albaleo: "Is that just bad for your digestion or bad for everyone's? I've read that for the average person, white rice is more digestible than brown rice, but the difference is small."

I'm not talking about preferences or the inner workings of my gastric system vs. others, I'm talking about the human body in general.

"Brown rice has less than 1 gram of fiber per 50 grams dry weight. It's a very poor source of fiber. Natto on white rice will provide five times more fiber than a bowl of brown rice."

We're talking strictly about rice, not rice with toppings. How about natto on brown rice, then?

The bottom line is that the human body can handle brown rice well. Polished white rice, it cannot. It's not an argument over which tastes better -- that's up to the person eating. And I too like mame-gohan (and as with cleo that's one of the times I'll cook up white rice at home).

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I am literally in a constant state of being surrounded by people that eat rice daily, including myself, and not one of them has diabetes.

As the article points out, Japan isn't all that high in the ranks of rice-eating nations, so it seems a bit odd to claim that Japanese longevity is the result of a daily diet of white rice. As Tessa points out, folk eat other stuff. And if all those TV commercials for stomach powders, laxatives, supplements, health foods are any reflection of the market, it would seem lots of people aren't feeling that healthy on their daily diet (whether or not it's based on white rice)

And many people with type 2 diabetes don't know they have it.

Brown rice has less than 1 gram of fiber per 50 grams dry weight. It's a very poor source of fiber. Natto on white rice will provide five times more fiber than a bowl of brown rice.

And polished white rice has even less, making it an abysmal/non-existant source of fibre. You could put your natto on brown rice for even more fibre, except that natto is disgusting....

3 ( +5 / -2 )

You could put your natto on brown rice for even more fibre, except that natto is disgusting....

Are you saying it's just a matter of taste and not nutrition? That I'd agree with. :-)

(I'm a bit of a natto addict.)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, you'd be wrong... again.

Again, huh? I don't remember a previous conversation between us in which I was wrong. Perhaps you could point it out to me.

At any rate, let's continue the debate:

It is simply empty calories.

This is simply not true. The term 'empty calories' is used to describe something that has no nutritional value and only has calories.

One cup of white rice or an approximately 174 g serving of white rice has:

Calcium 3.5 mg Iron 0.2 mg Magnesium 8.7 mg Phosphorus 13.9 mg Potassium 17.4 mg Zinc 0.7 mg Manganese 0.5 mg Selenium 9.7 mcg

So, actually you are the one who is wrong again as there is definitely more to white rice than only calories.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

onagagamo

It could be a great chance to eat a healthy food source....if they didn't insist on polishing it to hell and removing all the fiber. For 90% of Japanese people, consuming rice is basically consuming empty calories. Stick to the genmai....it even has taste to it. I'm always amazed when TV personalities go to some other prefecture and try the local rice; they're like "Oh my God, this is SO tasty!", when in actual fact, white polished rice from Kagoshima tastes the damn same as white polished rice from Niigata. It's just brainwashing and trends that keep this nonsense alive.

Pure, unpolished cultural arrogance.

Brown rice is a non-issue in Asia - nothing more than an obsessive talking point for a few vegans, vegetarians and health faddists from a smattering of Anglophone countries. Even among the white people I know, those who eat brown rice by preference are very much in the minority (likewise wholewheat pasta eaters).

Of the Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese I've known over the last 25 or so years, I haven't met one who normally eats unpolished rice in preference to white.

This is not going to change.

And empty calories, my arse. For a start, calories are to feed you. They prevent starvation, so they're not empty. If people ate white rice only for three meals a day, yes, they would have nutritonal deficiencies (as they would if they ate nothing but brown rice). As white rice is part of a mixed diet, they don't.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Proper, whole-grain bread and spuds left unpeeled as Nature intended, are as much a part of a healthy balanced diet as unpolished rice.

If Nature intended us to eat potatoes, she would not have required that they be boiled or baked. In fact, Nature has no intentions.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

slumdog: "I don't remember a previous conversation between us in which I was wrong."

Selective memory.

"This is simply not true. The term 'empty calories' is used to describe something that has no nutritional value and only has calories."

Compared to brown rice it is empty calories, yes. You do realize there is literally no such thing as an 'empty calorie', given that a calorie is a unit of measurement, right? (hence, the term 'DESCRIBES' something!). Anyway, yes, you were clearly wrong on this when you said there is absolutely nothing wrong with white rice.

But just to add a little more detail to the common knowledge you've missed out on: "The milling and polishing processes both remove important nutrients. A diet based on unenriched white rice leaves people vulnerable to the neurological disease beriberi, due to a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1)."

They sometimes will enrich white rice with some of the nutrition that's been stripped from it in the polishing process, but it's not always law. The process of polishing rice removes much of the nutrition simply in order to provide the lighter, fluffier texture (and more flavorless). So, unless you think diabetes, increased fat, and neurological disorders have 'nothing wrong with them', then you must admit you are wrong -- and if you can't, well... that's a bigger problem than white rice.

wipeout: "Of the Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese I've known over the last 25 or so years, I haven't met one who normally eats unpolished rice in preference to white."

Show us how many diabetics eat brown rice. I'll show you a whole lot, if not all, that eat white rice. And how is pointing out that brown rice is better for you "cultural arrogance" when brown rice would be the cultural tradition as opposed to the modern habit of eating polished white rice?

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

If Nature intended us to...

If nature intended us to do anything, it would be a sentient being with a conscience, directing us under some pretense.

Nature just is. We evolved within it. 'Nature' doesn't intend anything for us, we evolve to live within nature. And in recent times, we have learned to manipulate nature to our intentions.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Compared to brown rice it is empty calories,

Compared to zero, no. I never said white rice was more nutritious than brown rice. Some of you may have decided that is what I said. I am merely saying it is not 'crap' as you called it and neither is it 'empty calories'. You cannot decide to change the meaning of 'empty calories' after the fact of writing what you did.

You do realize there is literally no such thing as an 'empty calorie', given that a calorie is a unit of measurement, right?

? What are you talking about? Empty calories means there is little or nothing else besides calories. You said this was true of white rice and you were incorrect.

Not the white, polished crap that is bad for digestion

Again, this is not always true. For people with disorders such as ulcerative colitis, brown rice is to be avoided at all costs. Medical professionals agree that white rice is much better in these cases than brown rice.

I am merely stating that there is no need to exaggerate things. There is nothing wrong with white rice in moderation. There are so many worse things in the modern diet than white rice.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@smithinjapan

Show us how many diabetics eat brown rice. I'll show you a whole lot, if not all, that eat white rice. And how is pointing out that brown rice is better for you "cultural arrogance" when brown rice would be the cultural tradition as opposed to the modern habit of eating polished white rice?

Glad you asked.

Because calling white rice crap, when you couldn't name a single country between here and the Bosphorus strait where they don't overwhelmingly prefer white over unpolished rice, is an arrogant, intensely westernized viewpoint, dressed up in spurious health concerns. It is a staple food of 2 to 3 billion people in Asia.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I guess since it is called "World rice consumption" it is not limited to white/brown rice that we found at supermarket.

I have a cousin that has a coeliac condition, so she often had to make cornflour bread or buy rice cookies.

But also, rice cookies are good to those who want to lose some weight, and then boom!!! I suddenly saw and increase of rice based products at the supermarket (noodles, cookies, etc) not only in terms of quantity but also a lot of brands (I used to but a Polish rice waffle covered with caramel that it was simply delicious) maybe this is the reason why the drop of consumption in Japan?

as for if it better white or brown rice I found this article, that it could make you think http://wellnessmama.com/2123/white-rice-healthy/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If they're thinking of the sweet white fluffy 'bread' (shokupan or kashipan) they sell in the conbinis and supermarkets, and potatoes thickly peeled and then fried or cooked to death in sugar, soy and butter, they're probably right

I never eat that marshmallow bread. Does anyone apart from Japanese eat that crap? And there is noting wrong with chips, the thicker the better - those stringy 'frech fries' are horrible; soggy and limp.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Japan ranks No. 50 in world rice consumption

Still an intangible cultural property, of course.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I never eat that marshmallow bread. Does anyone apart from Japanese eat that crap?

I do sometimes. Tastes great!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If Nature intended us to eat potatoes/do anything...

Oh dear. As Nature intended is just a figure of speech meaning not messed abaht wiv, nuffin to get yer knickers in a twist about. Twasn't intended as a deep philosophical/religious statement. As if.

Of the Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese I've known over the last 25 or so years, I haven't met one who normally eats unpolished rice in preference to white.

Polished rice for the masses is a relatively recent thing. Up to the end of the war, plain white rice was a luxury item reserved for the rich and special occasions; the hoi polloi ate their rice as it came, or with veggies or other grains added to make it go further (cf O-Shin and daikon meshi). After the war, the new-found wealth that came with rapid economic growth put white rice on every table, brown rice became symbolic of war and poverty, and parents instilled in their kids the idea that White is Best. The idea stuck and so modern Japanese tend to avoid and abhor brown rice and tell their kids and grandkids that it's inedible, much as my Dad refused to eat Hovis because of his bad memories of nasty, gritty wholemeal bread that was the only thing available during the war.

there is noting wrong with chips

There's absolutely nothing at all wrong with chips. I love chips, even indulge in the occasional chip butty and not just for the nostalgia. But there's so much else that can be done with spuds, it's a shame to fry them all. Boil, steam, bake, mash, there's a different cooking method for every day of the week.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

slumdog: "Again, this is not always true. For people with disorders such as ulcerative colitis, brown rice is to be avoided at all costs. Medical professionals agree that white rice is much better in these cases than brown rice. I am merely stating that there is no need to exaggerate things. There is nothing wrong with white rice in moderation. There are so many worse things in the modern diet than white rice."

I said, as others have, it is a fact that brown rice is better for you than white, and that white has problems associated with it. You said it does not. Plain and simple, and others like wipeout have suggested it is actually better for you, which it is not (save for the very limited number of people who might suffer from a disorder where eating one type of something, that is not good for the body, might be better than eating something which the disease makes worse).

wipeout: "Because calling white rice crap, when you couldn't name a single country between here and the Bosphorus strait where they don't overwhelmingly prefer white over unpolished rice, is an arrogant, intensely westernized viewpoint,"

Once again, in your incredibly arrogant assumptions you miss the fact that, no not all Asians eat polished white rice -- many eat basmati, Jasmine, and other types, and even HALF-polished rice which is still far healthier than the over-polished white crap. You are misdirecting some weird anger over the fact that one type is healthier... and that is NOT the white polished stuff. Even Japanese professionals -- people with FAR greater knowledge than you -- who have studied longevity point out that one of the keys is to AVOID polished white rice, as well as even green tea and other caffeinated beverages, on top of dairy, etc.

"It is a staple food of 2 to 3 billion people in Asia."

Not the polished white crap. Rice in its many forms, mostly the non-polished stuff, is. Sorry, bud.

cleo: "Polished rice for the masses is a relatively recent thing."

Exactly. But don't tell wipeout.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

@smithinjapan

Plain and simple, and others like wipeout have suggested it is actually better for you.

I haven't suggested anything of the kind.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I said, as others have, it is a fact that brown rice is better for you than white, and that

Umm, show me one previous post here that you wrote that has the phrase ' white has problems associated with it'. Hint: You cannot. You wrote, and I quote, that white rice was 'crap' and that it was 'empty calories'. Now, it seems you do not know what either of these terms mean, because white rice is neither. I have proven this to be true. You were incorrect and you should admit it.

Not the polished white crap.

There it is again. You are wrong about this.

Plain and simple, and others like wipeout have suggested it is actually better for you.

Not one poster has said this. You, on the other hand, have made the empty claim that white rice is 'empty calories', but cannot back up this claim with actual proof, because you are mistaken.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

LagunaAPR. 15, 2015 - 02:54PM JST If you are interested in rice in general or to Japan specifically, check it out: http://ricepedia.org/japan

Laguna,

Fromt the site you linked - http://ricepedia.org/japan

Rice production constraints

Japan has an aging population and very low population growth, which could result in labor shortages and will likely constrain future rice production . . .

Actually, as larger paddies can be better worked with larger equipment, this is unlikely to be a problem. Not everyone currently farming rice is 67 years old.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I said, as others have, it is a fact that brown rice is better for you than white, and that white has problems associated with it.

Umm, show me one previous post here that you wrote that has the phrase ' white has problems associated with it'. Hint: You cannot. You wrote, and I quote, that white rice was 'crap' and that it was 'empty calories'. Now, it seems you do not know what either of these terms mean, because white rice is neither. I have proven this to be true. You were incorrect and you should admit it.

You said it does not.

It doesn't, in moderation. Overeating it does. I have news for you, overeating brown rice can cause problems, too. But, eating white rice or brown rice in moderation is perfectly fine for most people.

Not the polished white crap.

There it is again. You are wrong about this. As I have shown, white rice does have nutrients in it as well. It is not 'crap'.

Plain and simple, and others like wipeout have suggested it is actually better for you.

Not one poster has said this. You, on the other hand, have made the empty claim that white rice is 'empty calories', but cannot back up this claim with actual proof, because you are mistaken.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The prices from the rice "conga line" keeps it off our table most of the time. Potatoes, soba and pasta for us.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How come Philippines is not in the list??? Filipinos eat rice from morning till night, from main dish to dessert ... all Rice!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are always health food nuts who will claim that white rice, or white bread or something else is akin to poison. I have eaten brown rice once in my life and didn't like it, and prefer white bread to whole wheat or multi-grain. I am 75 years old and in good health.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@A Realist

I am 75 years old and in good health.

Ah, but if you'd been eating brown rice, you'd be at least 82 by now....

9 ( +10 / -1 )

This story doesn't provide any information on who compiled this data, who published the poster, etc. I am actually interested in finding the sources of this. Can anyone help me find the poster producers, etc.? (and maybe the Japantoday writers/editors could put in info about sources in future articles?)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am 75 years old and in good health.

As are many people around me, too. As you write, there is no reason to scare people unnecessarily about white rice.

Ah, but if you'd been eating brown rice, you'd be at least 82 by now....

Thank you for an enjoyable read! Great post!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

lucabrasi - your last comment had me guffawing helplessly.

Good one.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan couldmove up therankings if they would start eating delicious rice pudding. I can't understand why other puddings are popular but rice pudding isn't...

lucabrasi - Har!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The young ones have taken to instant this and that and unhealthy Western style fast food. Watch as these unhealthy eating habits manifest themselves in lower life expectancy as well in the decades to come.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

white rice is crap? such ignorance.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@smithinjapan

"Not all Asians eat polished white rice -- many eat basmati, Jasmine, and other types"

Where on earth did you get the idea that "white rice" and "basmati" or "jasmine" are mutually exclusive terms? One refers to the colour of the rice after a processing method is applied, the other two to the variety of rice. In Thailand, India and Pakistan, where, among other places, those varieties are grown and eaten, people take it white.

And since you were mithering about diabetes, you may as well be aware that jasmine has about the highest glycemic index of any rice variety.

But on the subject of diabetes, as you asked me about that:

Show us how many diabetics eat brown rice. I'll show you a whole lot, if not all, that eat white rice.

I only happen to know one Japanese diabetic and haven't known any among Chinese or Korean friends and acquaintances. So it's a very small number for me to work with - I think you'll agree, it wouldn't be very handy for getting an impression of trends. What's even smaller is the number of Japanese, Koreans or Chinese I've known who eat brown rice in preference to white. As I already said, there haven't been any at all, and that's out of hundreds of people over the last couple of decades.

I'm afraid that with the way you frame the question/challenge, the onus is on you, not me. I couldn't actually produce a brown-rice eating Asian for you without placing an ad. They're rare buggers indeed. Maybe you know some.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Huh. We can discuss the pros and cons of brown vs. white rice until the cows come home, but the fact is that the Japanese are the longest-lived and healthiest people in the world (with the lowest rates of obesity), so they must be doing something right.

This is largely due to the amount of food consumed, not the type of food. In Japan, food is expensive, therefore people tend to eat less. Your average salaryman cannot eat very much on the allowance his wife gives him, especially if he likes to smoke or drink. In addition to this, Japanese tend to walk more than westerners. Walk to the station, walk from the station to the office, and reverse the routine in the evening. And let's not forget the stairs. In America, all businesses are required to be wheelchair accessible. That means most buildings are simply one floor, and multi-floor buildings have large elevators. I can go for months in America without ever climbing a flight of stairs. There is seldom a day (none in recent memory) that I don't have to climb at least a few stairs here in Tokyo.

But Japan's place on the list is due mainly to the price of rice. Few places in the world charge as much for rice as Japan does. The local grocery store I shop at in America was selling rice with a coupon at 9 cents per pound, or 21 cents per kilo. So that's 5 kilos for about $1, which is less than 1/10th of what the supermarkets here sell rice for.

The downside of TPP might be an obesity wave in Japan.

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sangetsu03 "This is largely due to the amount of food consumed, not the type of food. In Japan, food is expensive, therefore people tend to eat less. " are you a comedian by any chance? are you saying the japanese can't afford to buy food?

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Sangetsu clearly articulated his point. (We all darn well know Japanese CAN afford top quality foods).

Have you ever seen a line of 6-7,8,9 salary men standing in line for Yoshinoya during lunch break? Salarymen do this on a daily basis. Cheap ramen, udon etc. Simply cause wife's allowance has limits.

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You are saying the same thing. The average Japanese salary man, the embodiment of Japanese healthy lifestyle, cannot afford to buy food, that is why they are healthy and live longer. Seriously...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You are saying the same thing.

I think that what is being said is that although the household has enough money to buy what the salaryman might want to buy, the head of that household that controls the purse strings does not allow the salaryman to do so, at least in some households.

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noypikantoku:

How come Philippines is not in the list??? Filipinos eat rice from morning till night, from main dish to dessert ... all Rice!

Isn't the Philippines number 7 in that figure? Granted, you may need a massive magnifying glass, but I recognize the flag and just about the wording above it.

Normally, when you click on a figure on any website, a larger figure appears. I guess JT has to be different. I mean, what is the point?

slumdog:

One cup of white rice or an approximately 174 g serving of white rice has:

Calcium 3.5 mg Iron 0.2 mg Magnesium 8.7 mg Phosphorus 13.9 mg Potassium 17.4 mg Zinc 0.7 mg Manganese 0.5 mg Selenium 9.7 mcg

Great. Now can you provide the same information for brown rice? And also include fibre, protein, carbs, etc.

sangetsu03:

Few places in the world charge as much for rice as Japan does. The local grocery store I shop at in America was selling rice with a coupon at 9 cents per pound, or 21 cents per kilo. So that's 5 kilos for about $1, which is less than 1/10th of what the supermarkets here sell rice for.

Back in my home country, I've seen 10kg bags of rice for well under 1000 yen. And no, I don't come from a developing country. And yes, we can get ALL types of rice.

As someone who loves brown basmati and brown rice and bread in general, I have to say, I'd rather eat white basmati than Japanese genmai. Brown or white, Japanese rice is just too heavy for me. It just make me feel more sleepy during the afternoon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One cup of cooked brown rice has:

Calcium 19.5 mg Iron 0.82 mg Magnesium 83.85 mg Phosphorus 161.85 mg Potassium 83.85 mg Zinc 1.23 mg Manganese 1.76 mg Selenium 19.11 mcg

Also fibre 3.51g, protein5.03 g, carbs 44.77g

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=135

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pukey2

Ooops my Bad, didnt see the photo yesterday, my PC was to slow to load it.... But we should be number 1 ... we serve Rice in Mc Donald's, KFC , WENDY'S BURGER KING and PIZZA HUT... lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

One cup of cooked brown rice has:

Cleo,

what size is the cup?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

what size is the cup?

The link says 195 g, 'bout the same as slumdog's cup.

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cleo,

I always enjoy reading your posts. You wrote above that 'there is nothing wrong with chips' (I am paraphrasing because of laziness and not scrolling up). I used the same kind of phrase about white rice to which you seemed to reply in the negative. Would you agree that white rice has more nutritional value than do chips?

I do not begrudge you the joy of eating chips. Quite the opposite. Please enjoy them. However, the same consideration should be given to those who enjoy eating white rice since, in most cases, it is actually healthier than eating chips (the UK and US versions).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

http://paleoleap.com/eat-sweet-potatoes/

Your best chips are with Japanese or Okinawa sweet potatoes.

White rice is good for you as long as it is not the only thing you are eating. If it was not good then China would have over a billion diabetics. The problem is with all the massive carbohydrate intake (many industrialized) and especially gluten/wheat which is problematic to many and can cause autoimmune issues that can lead to diabetes. Water quality for rice growing is also the issue.

So people are eating rice with other organic vegetables + grass-fed meats and fats/oils (MCT/coconut) and that is a good combination.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If it was not good then China would have over a billion diabetics.

China has the world's largest diabetes epidemic, and it continues to grow at a fearsome pace.....the most recent research found that China has overtaken the USA in terms of diabetes prevalence: according to the latest data, 11.6% of Chinese adults have diabetes. The Chinese diabetes population stands at some 114 million people - about a third of all people with diabetes.... the study also found that out of 99,000 people surveyed, half had pre-diabetes blood glucose levels

http://www.idf.org/BRIDGES/map/china

That's not to say it's all down to white rice alone; modern economic development has brought about increased obesity as a result of increased food intake (especially of Western-style refined foods), less physical activity and increased stress levels.

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