White rice is produced by polishing grains of rice and removing the outer layer called the bran. Brown rice, on the other hand, is a whole grain and contains all of the original parts of a grain of rice. Replacing white rice with brown rice can help boost your fiber intake. For example, 1 cup of white rice has 1.4 g of fiber, while the same serving of brown rice contains 3.5 g of fiber. If you are keeping an eye on your fructose intake, white and brown rice are both suitable options for your low-fructose diet.
A low-fructose diet is usually necessary for people dealing with fructose malabsorption. This condition is not a disease, but it is similar to lactose intolerance, only with fructose instead of lactose. In people with fructose malabsorption, high-fructose foods can cause a lot of gastrointestinal problems and can trigger symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. The only way to prevent bloating, abdominal cramps, flatulence, diarrhea and constipation and to avoid worsening your IBS is to follow a low-fructose diet.
To reduce your fructose load by avoiding high-fructose fruits, such as apples, pears, cherries, mangoes, watermelon, dried fruits and fruit juices as well as high-fructose vegetables artichoke, asparagus and sugar snap peas. Avoid foods sweetened with sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup, agave syrup or honey. The list of foods to avoid is long when following a low-fructose diet and it can be difficult to know what foods are safe for you to eat.
Brown rice, just like white rice, is completely free of fructose and is therefore safe for your low-fructose diet. Some people with fructose malabsorption needs to avoid foods rich in fructans, which is a chain of varying length made of a few molecules of fructose with a glucose attached at the end. Some grains are rich in fructans, such as rye and wheat. However, brown and white rice is also low in fructans and is a safe alternative to keep your intestines calm and quiet.
Other Low-Fructose Grains
Most grains have a low-fructose content and can be included in a low-fructose diet. However, if you also need to avoid fructans, you should avoid all breads, pasta, couscous, crackers, pizza dough, buns and baked goods made with wheat or rye. You can prepare your own bread and baked goods using brown rice flour if you enjoy baking. Alternatively, gluten-free products are usually low in fructose and fructans, unless they are sweeten with honey, high-fructose corn syrup or agave syrup. Grains like oats, quinoa and corn are also both low in fructose and in fructans.
- "Journal of the American Dietetic Association"; Fructose Malabsorption and Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Guidelines for Effective Dietary Management; Susan J. Shepherd Peter R. Gibson; 2006
- "The Low FODMAP Diet - Reducing Poorly Absorbed Sugars to Control Gastrointestinal Symptoms"; Eastern Health Clinical School - Monash University; 2010
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nutrient Data Laboratory