If we look at carbohydrates as a food group, we need it to provide us with energy, fuel, fibre, complex sugars for brain gain and keep our cravings down. So the question here is: What is the right carbohydrate among foods? White rice, or whole wheat rotis?
Rice, as we Indians know it, is white. The question is not rice versus roti; but white rice versus roti here? So if you just asked me straight up, then roti it is. A whole grain the assumption again here is wheat roti, as we Indians know of it.
So here’s what white rice does for, NADA-nothing. Stripped, polished and refined-all it does is provide you with sugar and starch to fill you up, only to cause cravings later. Simple sugars, as we all know it will lead to an insulin surge, causing the craving, low energy, and the need to eat more sugar. If you looked at a whole wheat roti instead, the grain in itself (even though in its milled form) is providing you some sort of good sugars coming out of a complex carbohydrate minus the simple sugars, which will not spike your insulin levels. So you are better off with the roti.
If you are comparing brown rice to the roti then I would pick the brown rice; as it is complete with all the vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrate sugars, the right fibre that you need to sustain you for the gut and the brain. It is in its whole form, while a roti is milled and therefore a little more refined than the brown rice.
Here is questioning the wheat roti as well, if you were to opt for another grain all together it changes the equation; for e.g., whole wheat has gluten and many people are gluten intolerant. So opting for: sorghum (jovar), amaranth (rajgeera) and buckwheat (kuttu) become gluten-free options. Also, they compare as well with the brown rice, but again there is that ‘wholeness’ where brown rice wins hands down over the roti format.
So white rice, is out: choose brown; Whole wheat roti is out for those who are gluten intolerant, so is white rice opt for sorghum, amaranth or buckwheat. I would say use brown rice at one meal, and rotis at another meal. After all, variety is important and the spice of life and a whole grain like brown rice is the foundation that everything rests on, so base you day on the right whole grain..