Today we are tackling the debate of brown rice vs. white rice. If you’ve researched this topic before, you’ve likely found many disagreeing articles diving deep into which is better and why. Today, we want to highlight some of the reasons for the debate and how to apply these thoughts to what works best for you!
What’s the difference between brown rice and white rice?
First, let’s talk about the components of rice. There are 4 parts to rice: the hull or the husk (the outermost layer), the bran, the germ, and the endosperm (the innermost layer). Here's what makes the two types of rice different:
Brown rice is considered a whole grain; meaning it contains all parts of the rice grain. Processed brown rice likely has the hull/husk removed, but still contains the bran, germ, and endosperm, which is what gives it its yummy, nutty flavor. With the majority of the parts of the grain intact, all of the original nutrients of the grain are available.
For white rice, the outer layers of the grain (the germ and the bran) have been removed, leaving only the endosperm - AKA the little white grain of rice.
Is brown rice healthy?
Brown rice is often seen as a healthier option than white rice because it is a whole grain with more fiber so the sugar in it is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream. If you are having trouble balancing blood sugar, then brown rice may be a better option for you than white rice.
Is white rice healthy?
White rice is rice that has gone through the process of polishing, which removes the outer layers of grain and leaves only the endosperm. You'll often find white rice with many different names, including long and short grain white rice, sushi or sticky rice, jasmine rice, and basmati rice. It has a higher glycemic index than brown rice, so it may not be a great choice for you if you are struggling with balancing your blood sugar. On the other hand, white rice is a bit easier to digest, so if you are having trouble with digestion, white rice could be the better choice for you.
The nutrition composition of brown rice versus white rice is very similar when it comes to protein, fat and carbohydrate content.
Brown Rice Nutrition (long-grain – one serving – 1 cup cooked):
* Calories – 216
* Fat – 1.8g
* Total Carbohydrates – 45g
* Fiber – 3.5g
* Sugar – 0.7g
* Protein – 5g
* Calcium – 2%
* Iron – 4%
* Vitamin B6 – 15%
* Magnesium – 21%
White Rice Nutrition (long-grain – one serving – 1 cup cooked):
* Calories – 206
* Fat – 0.4g
* Total Carbohydrates – 45g
* Fiber – 0.6g
* Sugar – 0.1g
* Protein – 4.3g
* Calcium – 1%
* Iron – 1%
* Vitamin B6 – 5%
* Magnesium – 4%
However, there are some key differences in the nutrient composition between brown and white rice; these differences are the fuel for the debate of which is better. Brown rice is known to be higher in fiber and is a good source of magnesium, and higher in B vitamins, folic acid, and iron than white rice. The majority of the fiber and nutrients in rice are actually found in the germ and in the bran, which is why white rice contains less fiber and nutrients.
So, is brown rice healthier than white rice?
Given the nutrition facts above, you may jump to the conclusion that brown rice is healthier than white rice, but there are a few different things to discuss on this matter before you decide which option is healthiest for you.
What's the difference between whole and refined grains?
Brown rice is considered a whole grain since none of the grain has been removed, while white rice is considered a refined grain and during the milling process it is stripped down to just the white endosperm portion of the grain. Overall,