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White rice and sweet potatoes healthy? Perfect health diet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 07, 2013 at 6:42 AM

So I consider myself a paleo purist- I don't even eat apples due to the sugar content.

I was surprised seeing Paul jaminet recommend white rice and sweet potatoes on his " perfect health diet"

I'd love to add these foods in my diet, but it goes. Against everything I believe .

Aren't these foods nutrient-void, or at least nutrient inferior to paleo foods? I understand the need for carbs, but wouldn't cauliflower or cabbage be a better source of carbs?

I sort of understand sweet potatoes- lots of vitamin A, decent potassium, respectable levels of minerals, but nothing that you couldn't get in vegetables without the extra sugar.

And white rice? I can't see ANY nutritional advantage to adding white rice.

So are these " safe starches" really viable competents for 100% optimal health, or are they really just acceptable cheats that still allow you to reach 90% of optimal health?

Bfd70bb38267fcc2d762063d691fa226

(723)

on January 26, 2013
at 02:50 AM

While I have never personally tried it, I have heard mixed opinions on Quinoa. Some say they have digestive problems from it. Some say it is safe because it is a seed and not a grain. I guess it boils down to trial and error. If it gives you issues, don't eat it again.

E45c5a1c8df73da5e03bb6e7e90f8420

(644)

on January 18, 2013
at 02:57 AM

With regard to white rice being a 'safe starch' low in toxins: Aren't the arsenic levels a major concern?

5f3e1f803d7a9b8704bb11cda26bcf9a

(658)

on January 18, 2013
at 02:47 AM

However, since I am diabetic with a wonky liver, I produce sufficient glucose for myself. If I was to go the safe starch route, I would be a heart attack waiting to happen. If I was normal metabolically, I would definitely sing the praises myself. We all have our crosses to bear.

46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on January 07, 2013
at 07:51 PM

Thank you for this! I've been wondering about potatoes after rice (and sweet potatoes too) not agreeing with me.

61a27a8b7ec2264b1821923b271eaf54

(3175)

on January 07, 2013
at 07:14 PM

Love, love, love your new Perfect Health Diet book! I have a feeling it won't be long before everyone is singing the praises of adding starch to a low carb diet. Starch is not sugar! Thanks for sticking to your guns on safe starch.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 07, 2013
at 04:26 PM

There you have it, straight from the horse's mouth! Paul: I love your book, read it twice, and recommended it to all my friends. It's a very sensible approach! Thanks for writing it, Mike

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on January 07, 2013
at 11:39 AM

one may read a lot about the goodness of 'whole grains', too, but that doesn't mean you're eating lots of them if you subscibe to other viewpoints...

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 07, 2013
at 10:45 AM

I think the idea is that adding slightly more starch/glucose to the diet from sources like root vegetables or even rice, rather than the meager amount that can be derived strictly from things like cauliflower or cabbage is beneficial in its own right to certain bodily functions. Check out his website if you want to see his own explanations of why he believes that to be so.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 07, 2013
at 10:43 AM

I think the idea is that eating slightly more starch/glucose to the diet than can be derived strictly from things like cauliflower or cabbage is beneficial in its own right to certain health functions. Check out his website if you want to see his own explanations of why he believes that to be so.

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on January 07, 2013
at 09:20 AM

I've read that meat causes cancer. I don't generally make decisions simply on things I've "read."

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 07, 2013
at 08:36 AM

The anti-nutrients in brown rice can cause mineral deficiencies.

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9 Answers

24
9e20abb05f3f6e3cc4bb107f8980aecd

on January 07, 2013
at 01:22 PM

A few points:

  • Glucose is a nutrient. Like all nutrients you can get it in excess, but some is better than none.
  • Starch which provides glucose and resistant starch (a highly beneficial fiber) is generally healthier than sugar which provides fructose and no fiber.
  • Our "safe starches" including white rice are low in toxins, so they don't have that negative which makes wheat, soybeans, etc so unhealthy.
  • Cauliflower and cabbage are low in glucose, cost some glucose to digest, and have their own toxins, so they are not a good source of glucose.
  • Paleolithic peoples ate significant amounts of starch -- routinely 15-20% of total calories was from starches, mostly underground tubers but also a bit of grains. They eat more starch than fruit or nuts. So it is odd that the Paleo movement wrote starches off for a while. The leading gurus have been walking back this mistake.

61a27a8b7ec2264b1821923b271eaf54

(3175)

on January 07, 2013
at 07:14 PM

Love, love, love your new Perfect Health Diet book! I have a feeling it won't be long before everyone is singing the praises of adding starch to a low carb diet. Starch is not sugar! Thanks for sticking to your guns on safe starch.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on January 07, 2013
at 04:26 PM

There you have it, straight from the horse's mouth! Paul: I love your book, read it twice, and recommended it to all my friends. It's a very sensible approach! Thanks for writing it, Mike

E45c5a1c8df73da5e03bb6e7e90f8420

(644)

on January 18, 2013
at 02:57 AM

With regard to white rice being a 'safe starch' low in toxins: Aren't the arsenic levels a major concern?

5f3e1f803d7a9b8704bb11cda26bcf9a

(658)

on January 18, 2013
at 02:47 AM

However, since I am diabetic with a wonky liver, I produce sufficient glucose for myself. If I was to go the safe starch route, I would be a heart attack waiting to happen. If I was normal metabolically, I would definitely sing the praises myself. We all have our crosses to bear.

4
61a27a8b7ec2264b1821923b271eaf54

(3175)

on January 07, 2013
at 07:12 PM

I think if you aren't allergic to white potatoes, they should be 90% of your safe starches. Rice has some serious hurdles to overcome before I will include it heavily in my diet (MiRNA springs to mind as well as it's a GRAIN).

Potatoes on the other hand, especially cooked and cooled potatoes, are the biggest bang for your buck. A way better nutrient profile than sweet potatoes or rice. Easy to grow in all parts of the country, cheap, stores well, and super-versatile. Also an almost unique 'stand-alone' food. Rice and sweet potatoes hard to eat alone. If you do eat rice, make it cold rice as in sushi rice. Cold rice has the max resistant starch you can get out of rice.

46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on January 07, 2013
at 07:51 PM

Thank you for this! I've been wondering about potatoes after rice (and sweet potatoes too) not agreeing with me.

2
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on January 07, 2013
at 08:30 AM

Potaotes have nutrients. White rice gives you some flexibility. Some folks do not tolerate potatoes really well. You are not missing out of any health benifits from not eating white rice.

I look at it as an occasional food. Nice for when you have guests or when you are eating a steak and potato.

2
028e70a250f38bd61fa81b0e0789bb6e

on January 07, 2013
at 07:27 AM

By safe it means that they usually don't cause as much problems as things like gluten in bread.

I don't know much about PHD, but for athletes or if your work is heavily physical, then safe starches are usually a good calorie source on top of a nutrient dense diet.

1
46bee6b93ee79082ea1094f26c2da5a4

(837)

on January 07, 2013
at 03:19 PM

Love his ideas of eating rice & rice products, so I did, yum, made eating Paleo so much easier... unfortunately in the end it didn't agree with me Reflux-wise.

0
Ef15705bab6aa93d9a17509524dc1e22

on January 18, 2013
at 12:02 AM

I've been wondering about this as well, I've been paleo for a few months now and I only started doing it to lose weight. That being said I've lost close to 40lbs and now I want to start focusing on getting bigger/stronger so I wanted to introduce white rice into my diet (I already eat sweet potatoes/yams). I am not doing paleo for the allergic aspects, I do not feel I am allergic to rice/dairy, etc as I do not notice any difference in not eating them. So am I at "risk" of gaining fat and not muscle by introducing some white rice into my diet on heavy lifting days? What about Quinoa?

Bfd70bb38267fcc2d762063d691fa226

(723)

on January 26, 2013
at 02:50 AM

While I have never personally tried it, I have heard mixed opinions on Quinoa. Some say they have digestive problems from it. Some say it is safe because it is a seed and not a grain. I guess it boils down to trial and error. If it gives you issues, don't eat it again.

0
F3d7331e70a00d4f677752e6312da086

on January 07, 2013
at 08:33 AM

Why do they recommend White rice over brown rice?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 07, 2013
at 08:36 AM

The anti-nutrients in brown rice can cause mineral deficiencies.

0
A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

on January 07, 2013
at 08:32 AM

I've read that white rice actually takes away some nutrients so I would go with whole grain rice. Maybe he's saying that because it is a lot safer starch then gluten

091423a30c0188fbff51e39397e7e056

(384)

on January 07, 2013
at 09:20 AM

I've read that meat causes cancer. I don't generally make decisions simply on things I've "read."

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on January 07, 2013
at 11:39 AM

one may read a lot about the goodness of 'whole grains', too, but that doesn't mean you're eating lots of them if you subscibe to other viewpoints...

0
88721bda318289a6e6efb215cd6ba2cd

on January 07, 2013
at 07:31 AM

I agree with the strict paleo approach. I do not think rice of any kind is ok. Sweet potato maybe if after a hard fasted workout, Purely for glycogen replenishment if needed. I also tend to follow the Lean Gains protocol. This book also has a lot of really good information In it. http://membres.multimania.fr/robody3/Ebooks/The_Ketogenic_Diet.pdf

Zero grain in my view. All tho I am a type 2 diabetic that doesn't take Any meds. Maybe I should say used to be diabetic. Grains, including white rice, take me out.

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