Physical changes in white and brown rice during simulated gastric digestion

J Food Sci. 2011 Aug;76(6):E450-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02271.x.


Previous studies have shown that brown rice generates lower glycemic responses than white rice, a trait that may be beneficial in the dietary management of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hyperlipidemia. The objective of this study was to investigate influence of rice digestion on the physical properties of the gastric digesta that may further impact intestinal absorption. A dynamic stomach model, human gastric simulator, was used to simulate the gastric digestion of white and brown rice. The pH, solids content, and rheological properties of the gastric digesta, as well as the size distribution of particles were studied. Static soaking was conducted to reveal the changes in moisture absorption and texture in rice kernels during simulated gastric digestion, as affected by shaking and the acid in gastric juice. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to image the diffusion of gastric juice into the rice kernels. The results indicate that the bran layer on brown rice had a profound effect in digestion, as it inhibited the absorption of moisture and acid leading to decreased texture degradation, thus delaying the rice disintegration as well as dissolution and slowing emptying of solids. MRI is effective in exhibiting the diffusion of gastric juice as affected by gastric acid and the influence of bran. This study provided quantitative evidence regarding the manner in which structural differences between white and brown rice affect their gastric digestion.

Practical application: The study presented in this paper focuses on how the structural differences in white and brown rice affect their gastric digestion. This information may help consumers to better understand the health benefits associated with eating brown rice.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Dietary Fiber / analysis*
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism*
  • Diffusion
  • Digestion*
  • Functional Food / analysis*
  • Gastric Juice / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Contents / chemistry*
  • Gastrointestinal Contents / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mechanical Phenomena
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Oryza / chemistry*
  • Oryza / ultrastructure
  • Particle Size
  • Rheology
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Seeds / ultrastructure
  • Solubility
  • United States
  • Viscosity
  • Water / analysis


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Water