Many thanks to Small Bites’ Twitter follower @koshtoo, who shared this photograph with me, as she believed I “would find interesting.” I certainly did!
In case you are unable to see the photograph, it shows a box of Uncle Ben’s Original converted white rice. The lower right-hand corner of the box features a “Supports a Healthy Heart” statement and logo.
Underneath the logo, we see:
Enriched with Vitamins and Minerals
Sure. A refined grain like white rice does not add a single gram of fat to our diets, but that does not make it heart-healthy.
In fact, refined, fiberless carbohydrates like white rice raise triglyceride levels.
High triglycerides — they are a type of fat in the blood, in case you weren’t sure — are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. NOT heart-healthy!
Vitamin and mineral enrichment, meanwhile, is kind of a nutritional red flag. After all, enrichment means that most of the nutrients originally found in that food were added back in after the food underwent significant processing.
Brown rice has those exact same nutrients. Since brown rice is not processed to the same degree as white rice, they all stay in their place, without the need to enrich.
What upsets me most about this health claim is that it reinforces the myth that “low fat = heart healthy.”
Remember: some of the best foods we can eat for heart-health — such as salmon, sardines, avocados, nuts, and seeds — are rich in healthy fats.