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Brown Rice or White Rice: Which Is Healthier?

Brown Rice or White Rice: Which Is Healthier?

Rice is a popularly consumed whole grain that is a rich source of nutrients. It is a versatile grain eaten by people all over the world. It serves as a primary food for several people, particularly in countries such as India, Japan, South Korea, China and more. There are over 7,000 varieties of rice in various colours, sizes and shapes. However, the most widely consumed varieties in India are brown rice and white rice, which initiates the debate about whether brown rice or white rice is healthier for you.

After all, such questions are challenging to answer in one sentence. That’s why it is essential to know more about each variety of rice and what kind of rich may be the healthiest option for you.

Nutritional Value of Brown & White Rice

Check out the following table to know the nutritional value of brown and white rice:

Brown Rice Nutrition

White Rice Nutrition

Carbohydrate: 52 grams (g)

Carbohydrate: 44.6 g

Protein: 5.5 g

Protein: 4.25 g

Fat: 2 g

Fat: 0.4 g

Calories: 248

Calories: 205

Folate: 18.2 micrograms (mcg)

Folate: 91.6 mcg

Fibre: 3.2 g

Fibre: 0.6 g

Magnesium: 79 milligrams (mg)

Magnesium: 19 mg

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 5.2 mg

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 2.3 mg

Selenium: 11.7 mcg

Selenium: 11.8 mcg

Manganese: 2 mg

Manganese: 0.7 mg

What Are The Differences Between Brown And White Rice?

Aside from appearance, there are numerous differences between brown rice and white rice. Brown rice is in its intact form, including germ, bran and endosperm. This form of rice is referred to as whole-grain rice. Brown rice got its name because of the natural colour of the grain. However, it’s vital to know that whole-grain rice is also available in different colours like purple, black and red. Most importantly, it takes longer than white rice to cook completely, and there is a nutty and chewy texture. On the other hand, white rice is not entirely a different grain. Instead, its name only describes its colour. It is basically brown rice that is crushed and polished, a popular process used to remove the bran and germ layers. As nutrients are lost during this process, Vitamins B and iron are added back in later. 

Benefits of Brown Rice & White Rice

    Here are the prominent health benefits of brown rice:

– Brown rice is a whole grain, which includes all parts of the grain. As a result, it preserves its natural nutrients like magnesium, vitamins B, iron, phosphorus .

– The key fibre present in brown rice helps maintain a healthy digestive system. It also prevents regular constipation and promotes easy bowel movements.

– Brown rice helps you feel fuller for a longer time period, which can positively impact your body weight by reducing overall calorie intake.

– It has antioxidants that allow the body to fight free radicals, lowering the risk of chronic diseases and maintaining overall health. 

– Brown rice is known to be naturally gluten-free, making it a perfect choice of grain for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

– It has a lower glycemic index (GI), contrary to white rice. Moreover, food with a low GI tends to digest slowly, resulting in a steady rise in blood sugar levels. It helps in managing blood sugar levels, making it an ideal choice for people with diabetes. 

     Here are the primary health benefits of white rice:

– White rice is a perfect source of carbohydrates, which are the primary source of energy for your body. It offers quick energy, making it favourable for athletes, players or people who need a rapid boost of energy.

– It is known to be naturally low in fat, making it a good choice for people who want to lose weight or want to lower their fat intake.

– White rice is popular for having a milder flavour and soft texture. As a result, it is a versatile ingredient to add to different cuisines and dishes.

– Refined white rice provides more folate (almost a quarter of the DV) compared to brown rice, nearly the same amount of selenium ( about a quarter of the DV) and high amounts (yet lower than brown rice) of magnesium, vitamin B3 and manganese.

– As white rice is easy to digest, even people with sensitive stomach or digestive issues eat it every day.

Is Brown Or White Rice Healthier?

In all honesty, there is no straight answer if you want to know whether brown rice or white rice is healthier. This is because it majorly depends on what you want and because both can be considered as a healthy option to follow a balanced diet.

For instance, if you are suffering from an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, or you just had bowel surgery, it’s suggested to eat food that is lower in residue or fibre to help promote comfort digestion. Thus, for such people, white rice is definitely a better choice.

Although, if you don’t have any of such digestive problems, brown rice is surely a better option because of its rich fibre and overall nutrient content. Basically, complex carbohydrates, which contain brown rice, are a healthier choice.

For instance, expert research reveals that brown rice may help support weight gain prevention in specific populations. However, more research is required to support the effect of whole grains on body weight. Besides, in regard to disease prevention, recent research shows that when you change brown rice with white rice in your daily diet, it may lead to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Another study revealed that brown rice consumption may help lower Hemoglobin A1C (average blood sugar levels over three months) in people who have metabolic syndrome and a high body mass index (BMI).


Therefore, for some brown rice is healthier, but the choice between white and brown rice essentially depends on individual diet, needs, body weight, lifestyle, and preferences. Thus, choosing white or brown rice cannot be right or wrong as both are rich in nutrition and enjoyed as part of a well-balanced diet. Simply note your eating preferences and habits and your choice of rice will never be wrong.

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