Compared with wheat, in particular pasta, rice has the following advantages (and no disadvantage):
- Rice contains a higher level of essential amino acids (those the human body cannot produce and therefore has to intake through nutrition). As a matter of fact, 100 g of refined rice contain 7-8 g of protein,4.1 - 3.8 g of essential amino acids of 9 different types. On the other hand, 100 g of pasta, with a content of 7 to 8 g of protein, provide only 3-2.8 g of essential amino acids. Therefore, 8 g of protein derived from rice have more biological value than 12 g of protein derived from wheat. Given the fact that the daily bodily requirement in essential amino acids is about 12.7 g, 100 g of rice cover approximately a third thereof.
- Rice proteins possess higher developmental qualities: they are more plastic or plasmatic and it is for this reason that among the products administered during the first period of infancy rice and its derivates stand out. In wheat proteins, two essential amino acids are missing which instead are present in rice: isoleucina and valina. In all the other cases, amino acids of rice have a higher percentage than the ones present in wheat.
- Rice has the lowest content of IPA (aromatic polycyclic carbohydrates, as of now prominently present in Italian soils and air) among all cultivated food products of a vegetal nature. For instance, quantities between 28 and 207 mcg/kg have been encountered in cereals. In wheat flower the average quantity can be put at 39 mcg/kg. The quantities referred for rice, on the other hand, vary from 1 to 13 mcg/kg, with an insignificant average. The higher purity of rice is due to the cleansing effects of the waters in the rice fields, and to the biological structure of the plant which possesses a system of aeration and filter channels in the above ground parts as well as in the submerged roots – this renders rice largely immune against the risks some authors attribute to the diffusion of IPA in foods.
- Rice is genuine and almost natural, and cannot be imitated, therefore unique as a foodstuff. “Natural” agricultural products are defined as those which have not undergone any treatment; “genuine” are called those which have only undergone technological treatments of transformation. Refined rice, being nothing else than the central inner part of the raw rice grain, has a cellular composition and structure still intact. It therefore adds its natural quality to its genuineness in a way few other refined products do, and therefore is superior to wheat pasta. Obviously, rice cannot be imitated since it is not a “fabricated” product having been put together from more than one ingredient.