Brown Rice vs White Rice - Nutritional Differences

Brown Rice vs White Rice – Nutritional Differences

White rice is a staple in many people’s diets. It’s inexpensive, filling, and easy to combine.

However, white rice may not be the best choice for some people’s dietary needs. In particular, if you are looking to lose weight.

Their alternative, brown rice, is more nutritious and has a lower glycemic index.

This article looks at the main nutritional differences between brown and white rice.

Differences between white rice and brown rice

The main differences between white rice and brown rice are their fiber content, glycemic index, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

The essential nutrients in rice are located in a tiny nucleus or germ with a high content of antioxidants. You will find most vitamin E and vitamins of group B in this place.

The area around the husk s the primary source of nutrients in rice. By removing it, the kernel is lost, so it is only found in brown rice.

Also, removing the husk in white rice increases the percentage of carbohydrates. So does its glycemic index because it contains less fiber.

To avoid iron deficiency, in some countries, nutritionists have recommended to the authorities enrich white rice. However, a much easier way to meet these needs is to include brown rice. (1)

Table of nutritional differences between white and brown rice

To see it more clearly, below you can see a table with nutritional differences between white and brown rice:

White Rice (100 g) Brown rice (100 g)
Calories 130 KCal 112 KCal
Carbohydrates 29 grams 24 grams
Fiber 0 grams 2 grams
Protein 2 grams 2 grams
Fats 0 grams 1 gram
Manganese 19% DDR 55% DDR
Magnesium 3% DDR 11% DDR
Match 4% DDR 8% DDR
Vitamin B6 3% DDR 7% DDR
Selenium 11% DDR 14% DDR

As you can see from the nutritional value table, brown rice contains fewer calories and higher fiber and nutrient content than white rice. 

Is brown rice good for weight loss?

If the goal is to lose weight, the best choice is brown rice. First of all, the high fiber content will decrease the feeling of hunger. This is explained due to the more significant amount of non-addressable mass in the stomach.

In the case of white rice, the energy is delivered quickly. So it increases insulin levels. This is related to a desire to eat more.

If you prefer white rice, it is recommended to include it before or after a training session. White rice is an excellent way to replenish muscle glycogen. But for this, they must be used.

Otherwise, the excess carbohydrates in white rice will go directly to the body fat stores.

Glycemic index of white and brown rice

The glycemic index of brown rice averages 45 units. Similar to other whole grains or pseudo-cereals such as quinoa and amaranth. At the same time, that of white rice is around 65.

This parameter is directly related to blood sugar levels. When food has a high value, a person experiences a rise in blood glucose.

Consuming high glycemic index foods like simple carbohydrates should be avoided; it is one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes.

A study published in the British Medical Journal states that “higher consumption of white rice is associated with a significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes, especially in Asian populations (Chinese and Japanese).” (7)

While it’s not a huge difference, brown rice is better if your goal is to control blood sugar levels. Therefore, brown rice is a better choice in a type 2 diabetic diet.

Benefits of brown rice (which does not have white)

Recent research has found flavonoids and minerals in brown rice grains (4). Flavonoids are molecules associated with reducing certain types of cancer. Substituting brown rice for white rice is an inexpensive and straightforward rule of thumb that means direct health benefits.

Brown rice is a good source of nutrients like vitamin B, vitamin E, and fiber. Also, some varieties of brown rice, like black brown rice; have a high content of anthocyanins and phenolic acids, which have antioxidant properties. (5)

Research affirms that regular consumption of brown rice can lower harmful cholesterol levels in the blood. As well as regularize glucose levels, something essential for people with diabetes. (3,4). Here are some benefits of brown rice:

  1. Lower glycemic index
  2. The lower amount of calories
  3. Higher amount of fiber
  4. The more outstanding contribution of vitamins and minerals
  5. Less feeling of hunger for longer
  6. It does not contain gluten
  7. Normalizes glucose levels
  8. The high content of phytonutrients
  9. It May help lower cholesterol levels
  10. Reduction of coronary diseases

Brown rice is rich in manganese.

One of the main nutritional properties of brown rice is its high manganese content. Manganese is essential for all metabolic activities of the body, especially those involved in the defenses and the digestion process.

With a serving of brown rice, almost 90% of the daily magnesium requirements are covered for the day. If a lack of manganese occurs in the diet, Not only can you experience poor absorption of nutrients, but also a drop in defenses and all kinds of problems related to the immune system.

How to make brown rice?

Brown rice, like all whole grains, should be rinsed under running water. The proportions between the amount of water and rice should be 2: 1.

One of the differences between brown rice and white rice is the cooking time: 15 minutes vs. 40 minutes.

The cooking time is longer because the fibrous husk of the brown rice is firm. This makes it difficult for the steam to reach the inside of the rice. 

However, the time it takes to prepare brown rice is negligible compared to its benefits. If you are short on time, a good strategy is to schedule an extra serving of rice the day before; and reserve it in the refrigerator for later.

Can rice be toxic?

Consumption of brown and white rice is safe for most of the population. However, rice is one of the primary food sources of inorganic arsenic.

This is because the rice plant can absorb more arsenic from the soil than other crops. (5)

Arsenic is considered a Level 1 carcinogen by the FDA. In other words, consuming arsenic in inadequate amounts has, as a direct consequence, the development of different types of cancer.

To respond to the significant concern, the authorities of most countries have investigated whether the contribution of arsenic from rice can become toxic.

The FDA estimated that inorganic arsenic exposure in rice and rice products; is both integral and white. The estimated effects of arsenic would account for less than 1 percent of the nation’s lung and bladder cancer cases. (5)


The main differences between white and brown rice are their fiber content, glycemic index, and nutrient content.

Although whole wheat is more nutritious, one of its disadvantages is its significant difference in cooking time. If you don’t have a more substantial amount of time, you can cook it and reserve it for later.

There is no question that brown rice is a healthier option. Substituting brown rice for white rice is associated with several health benefits.

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