The Truth About Rice – White Vs Brown

Hello! My Tribe,

Does brown rice deserve all the love?
Should we abandon white rice for the healthier choice?
Honestly, there’s a lot of hullabaloo about the perfect rice variety. So let me clear the air about it and list down some of the differences between white rice and brown rice.

Firstly let’s look at the basic difference between both! Why is brown rice brown and white rice white?

Brown rice is a whole grain. This means that it has all its parts intact—the bran, germ, and the endosperm—only taking off the outer hull of the rice kernel. This also means it is high in nutrients, vitamins, and fiber. White rice, on the other hand, is made from stripping off the germ and bran, leaving only the endosperm intact. This variety is milled and heavily polished to give the white color to the core. So, as expected, most of the nutrients, proteins and the antioxidants are lost in the process. So, when you’re downing that tasty bowl of white rice with perfect side dishes, you’re missing out on most of the essential vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, folate, and fiber.

Well that was about how we get these two varieties of rice. Now let’s see what are some of the differences between these two.

Calorie Content
Generally, brown rice contains slightly fewer calories per serving than white rice. According to reports by The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of cooked brown rice contains 218 calories, while cooked white rice contains 242 calories per cup. Therefore, if you’re on a calorie cutting spree, brown rice is the better option.

Carbs and Fiber
White rice and Brown rice are both high-carb foods, but brown rice contains fewer carbs and more fiber than white rice. One cup of white rice contains 53 grams of carbs, and less than 1 gram of dietary fiber. The USDA reports that a cup of brown rice provides 46 grams of total carbohydrates, including 4 grams of fiber. Because fiber aids in healthy weight management, and can help improve blood cholesterol levels, fiber-rich brown rice is again the better choice.

Vitamins and Minerals
While brown rice naturally contains more vitamins and minerals than white rice because white rice is a refined grain, most white rice varieties are full of certain vitamins and minerals, which means manufacturers add those nutrients to the rice during processing. Brown and white rice are both sources of vitamin B, and have small amounts of iron and zinc. White rice is also a good source of folate which helps your body make DNA and other genetic material. It also supports cell division. Although folate is an essential nutrient for everyone, it’s especially vital for women who are pregnant or are planning to have a baby.

Glycemic Index
The average glycemic index of brown rice is 50, and the average white rice GI is 89. Brown rice has a lower glycemic index (GI) than white rice. Foods with higher glycemic indexes spike your blood sugar quickly, and then cause a drastic drop. Lower GI foods don’t cause a rapid increase in blood sugar, and instead help you feel fuller for longer periods of time. In simple words no matter how much white rice you eat, you will still stay nutritionally hungry. Because, the more white rice you consume, the faster you feel hungry. That’s because your body is not satiated in terms of nutrition. On the other hand brown rice, being nutritionally dense, helps you feel full and satisfied sooner. This also helps with weight loss and lesser hunger pangs.

Brown rice is a rich source of selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral that supports the body in many ways. Selenium, along with iodine, is an important nutrient that’s necessary for the thyroid to produce hormones. Selenium also works with vitamin E to protect cells from cancer. One cup of cooked brown rice provides 27% of the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommended daily value.

One cup of brown rice provides a whopping 88% of our daily magnesium needs. Manganese helps the human body create fatty acids that provides our body with good cholesterol. It is also beneficial to the health of our nervous and reproductive systems. On the contrary, white rice is not a very rich source of manganese due to the milling process.

Brown rice contains small amounts of rice bran oil that is healthy for the heart. Studies have shown that brown rice can help lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), aka bad cholesterol. One study found that while fiber offers its own benefits, it was the rice bran oil and not fiber that lowered cholesterol by 7% in volunteers.

Weight Loss
Because of its fiber-richness and ability to support healthy bowel function, brown rice keeps things moving in a way that may promote weight-loss and increase metabolic rate. It turns out that whole grains improved the digestibility of other foods eaten, resulting in a higher metabolism. Because of the fiber-rich nature of this grain, just one bowl of brown rice can satisfy your appetite and help you feel full. On the contrary, refined or white rice makes you hungry faster and thus leads to frequent meal consumptions.

Whole Grain
Unlike white rice, brown rice is a whole grain according to the FDA. People who eat more whole grains have healthier overall diets compared with people who don’t. Studies show that whole grains can lower arterial plaque build-up and reduce chances of developing high cholesterol and heart disease.

Most people think antioxidants are only present in blueberries and green tea, but brown rice is also a source of antioxidants.

So next time you hit the grocery store to buy rice, consider which rice you would like to choose to have a healthier body. Also, you don’t need to be guilty about eating white rice once in a while. All you need to remember is that you need to eat it in moderation. Balance is key to wellness, whether its your food, your body, your mind, anything.

I love white rice but I do feel lighter and more energetic when I have brown rice so I try and balance it as much as possible.
What about you? Share with me and my tribe.

Love and Health




I am Uma - entrepreneur, award winning television personality,philanthropist and an eternal optimist dedicated to helping you liveyour dreams by bringing daily insights, fitness inspiration, cleaneating and beauty and wellness resources.Join me in this space and lets start this beautiful journey together.

Uma Ghosh
Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. It costs only US$ 0.50 to feed a child for a day.

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