Low-carb diets (LCD) can be useful for an endurance based athlete who needs to produce low levels of aerobic energy over a long period.   LCD's have been successfully used for weight loss, especially when cycled with carbohydrates (CHO) re-feeds to support the gut microbiome and hormone balance.   If your sport, or training system, is a speed/power/anaerobic driven activity you would be wise to increase your CHO intake as CHO is the best choice of energy for these types of physical activities (powerlifting, Olympic lifting, sprinting, interval-based training, etc.).  Limiting your CHO will impact your health, performance and longevity and possible goes against everything you’ve been told.

The quality of your CHO is important and just because “if fits your macros” does not mean it is going to improve your health and performance.  The nutrient density of your CHO will dictate a lot more than simply adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production (energy). Highly processed CHO is not the answer, real whole CHO foods on the other hands have huge benefits that go beyond simply replenishing glycogen stores.

One of the oldest grains, rice is believed to have been grown for at least 5000 years. Rice can be a quality CHO if selected and prepared correctly, more on this later.  Rice is a grain (yes I know, it's not Paleo) that TSTMethod recommend to our clients because it is naturally gluten-free and highly unlikely to cause any digestive issues, allergies or food intolerance.  Rice also contains some fantastic nutrients that can balance hormones, improve blood glucose management, assist recovery, and increase energy levels.

Brown rice contains a plethora of nutrients, including magnesium which is lost in the milling into white rice. Brown rice consumption has a positive effect on blood sugar levels and therefore on weight management and diabetes. Recent studies on unrefined brown rice found that the coating, the rice bran, has a remarkable effect on lowering high blood sugar levels rather. [1]

Rice bran is a very high nutrient dense food that contains over 70 antioxidants that can protect us against cellular damage and slow down the ageing process. Maybe thats why the Asian population maintain their youthful looks?

Antioxidants can be very beneficial for athletes as they consume high levels of oxygen and therefore increase their rate of ageing due to free-radicals.  Some of the other valuable nutrients include:

  • The antioxidant vitamin-E with has been shown to lower excess fat and cholesterol in the body and cancer protect properties [2].  Supplementing with vitamin-E needs to be monitored closely as excessive levels have health impacts.

  • The oil in rice bran counteracts low-density-lipoprotein (LDL Cholesterol) which can contribute to a variety of cardiovascular diseases. The oils also lower triglycerides (bad fats) in the blood

  • In animal studies, fermented rice bran has been shown to improve the health and vitality of internal organs, especially the adrenals, thymus, spleen, and thyroid, which exhibit anti-stress effects [3]

  • Polysaccharides are complex CHO that is ideal for stimulating immunity and controlling blood sugar which when left unmanaged can lead to obesity and diabetes [4].

  • Rice is generally a poor source of vitamins and minerals. However, considerable amounts may be concentrated in the bran of brown rice. Brown rice contains small amounts of B-vitamins and trace minerals

  • Gamma-oryzanol is an antioxidant found in brown rice which has been shown to increase muscular strength and help to lower body fat.  This amazing antioxidant also increases blood circulation, improves hormone balance, prevents blood clots by helping to regulate the pituitary gland [5]

  • Alpha lipoid acid is another antioxidant found in brown rice which has been showingn to slow down ageing, improve glucose to energy conversion (ATP), and heal the liver.

  • Glutathione peroxidase (GPx) is another antioxidant in brown rice which reduces excess mucus build up while boosting respiratory function and help detoxification. GPx has also been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, acne, and asthma [6,7,8]

  • Superoxide dismutase, you guessed it another antioxidant, this one has been used to treat osteoarthritis and many of the symptoms of premature ageing.

  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has been shown to support cellular mitochondria (which are the energy factories in our cells). CoQ10 increase energy production by burning fat and has positive effects on obesity.  CoQ10 is also beneficial for the heart muscle [13,14,15] and is commonly used in the treatment of angina, high blood pressure, and heart disease in general. It also counteracts ageing and the effects of type 2 diabetes by protecting the mitochondria [9,10,11,12]. 

  • Proanthocyanidins are condensed tannins that speed up recovery and wound healing, strengthen arteries, veins and capillaries, and improve blood circulation [17]. Proanthocyanidins are powerful antioxidants which protect against cancer and many other degenerative diseases caused by overoxidation and increase levels of free-radicals.

  • Lecithin is important for brain, nerve, and cell membrane function. It is composed of primary essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6), choline (as phosphatidylcholine), and B-vitamins. Lecithin increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and E. It has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels and hyperactivity.

    The fatty coating of nerve endings is primarily composed of lecithin.  Lecithin protects against gallstones, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol. It has been shown to improve memory [18,19], improve muscular coordination [20], and reduce muscle pain [21]

  • Eating a meal of starchy rice four hours before bedtime may solve insomnia problems. Rice, like other CHO, can boost tryptophan and serotonin, two brain chemicals involved in sleep.

How to prepare bran rice for maximum nutrient absorption

Brown rice contains “anti-nutrients” that block the absorption of the nutrients in your diet. IP6 is essentially the phytic acid in brown rice and other grains, legumes, and most seeds in general.  Ingesting foods with IP6 bind with amino acids (protein), calcium, iron and other minerals and blocks absorption.  It is very important to neutralise phytic acid in all grain, legumes, nuts and seeds before you consume them.

Sprouting or pre-soaking (24hr) whole brown rice reduces the Phytic acid (nutrient blocker) in its bran as does making fermented “sourdough” brown rice bread.

References:

  1. Effects of stabilized rice bran, its soluble and fibre fractions on blood glucose levels and serum lipid parameters in humans with diabetes mellitus Types I and II, Qureshi.A., et al., 2002

  2. Isolation and Identification of Novel Tocotrienols from Rice Bran with Hypocholesterolemic, Antioxidant, and Antitumor Properties, Qureshi.A., et al. 2000

  3. Anti-stress and anti-fatigue effect of fermented rice bran, Kim.k., et al. 2001

  4. Carbohydrate as a nutrient in adults: range of acceptable intakes. MacDonald. A, 1999

  5. Rice bran oil and gamma-oryzanol in the treatment of hyperlipoproteinaemias and other conditions., Cicero. A., et al., 2001

  6. Oxidative stress in human ageing and mitochondrial disease-consequences of defective mitochondrial respiration and impaired antioxidant enzyme system. Wei. Y., et al., 2001

  7. High dose antioxidant supplementation to MS patients. Effects on glutathione peroxidase, clinical safety, and absorption of selenium. May. J., et al. 1990

  8. Antioxidants and fatty acids in the amelioration of rheumatoid arthritis and related disorders. Darlington.L, et al. 2001

  9. Human ageing and global function of coenzyme Q10. Linnane A, Et al. 2002

  10. Mitochondrial factors in the pathogenesis of diabetes: a hypothesis for treatment. Lamson.D., et al. 2002

  11. Coenzyme Q10 as a possible treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. Beal.m. 2002

  12. An open, pilot study to evaluate the potential benefits of coenzyme Q10 combined with Ginkgo biloba extract in fibromyalgia syndrome. Lister.R, 2002

  13. Clinical syndromes associated with Coenzyme Q10 deficiency. Alcázar-Fabra. M. 2018

  14. Recent Developments in the Role of Coenzyme Q10 for Coronary Heart Disease: a Systematic Review. Ayers.J., et al. 2018

  15. Study protocol, randomized controlled trial: reducing symptom burden in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction using ubiquinol and D-ribose. Pierce.J., et al. 2018

  16. Coenzyme Q10 in the treatment of heart failure: A systematic review of systematic reviews. Jafari.M, Et al. 2018

  17. Oxygen, oxidants, and antioxidants in wound healing: an emerging paradigm. Sen.C, Et al. 2002

  18. Effect of phosphatidylcholine on explicit memory. Ladd. S., et al. 1993

  19. Cholinergic effects on constructional abilities and on mnemonic processes: a case report. Sahakian.B,. Et al. 1987

  20. The use of cholinergic precursors in neuropsychiatric diseases. Rosenberg. G., et al. 1982

  21. A novel lecithin based delivery form of Boswellic acids (Casperome®) for the management of osteo-muscular pain: a registry study in young rugby players. Franceschi.F,. Et al. 2016

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