As a modern-day male, you’ve likely never tangled with a sabre-tooth tiger, and if you ever do go toe-to-toe with an animal, you probably bring a gun.
This is because you know that animals don’t much like being killed, so they’ve developed defense mechanisms like claws and teeth to help protect themselves. Most plants can’t move very quickly, so they have other ways they fight back when threatened.
Some plants don’t want to be bothered much at all, so they build up a scary exterior with thorns or barbs. Others don’t want you to eat their leaves, so (like poison oak) they develop ways to make eating their leaves quite uncomfortable. Grains, like rice, have cooked up a much subtler plan.
What Grains Have to (Very) Slowly Kill You from the Inside Out
Grains don’t want people eating their seeds, because they need those for growing more grains. The defense mechanisms grains use to prevent this are proteins called anti-nutrients, like lectins and phytates.
These anti-nutrients don’t cause immediate obvious physical pain like poison oak does; instead they work to kill you slowly. They bind to other nutrients making them harder to absorb (causing malnutrition), or even outright slowly destroy your digestive tract.
What You Should Do About It
We know that these nasty plant defense mechanisms are all proteins, so the best way to avoid getting messed up by plants is simple; don’t eat plant protein.
Brown rice is the whole seed of the rice grain – it contains DNA (for propagating the species) and anti-nutrients (for defense purposes) in the brown part, and starch to fuel early growth of the plant in the white part.
Removing the brown part leaves you with white rice – plain, simple starch with little nutritional value – but at least it doesn’t have any nasty proteins that work to destroy your body.
Brown rice actively damages your health. White rice is essentially an empty source of starch calories, a blank slate that is neither good nor bad. White rice won’t directly improve your health, but it doesn’t hurt you like brown rice does.