Rice is one of the most-consumed foods in the world and is central to diets of more than half of the world’s population, and it’s easy to see why: It’s generally inexpensive, widely available, and filled with calories. But not all rice is created equal when it comes to nutrition.

What Is the Difference Between Brown Rice and White Rice?

Brown rice and white rice are two staple grains you’ll find in a variety of dishes, but they have some key differences of note.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a whole grain, meaning it’s the full version of the grain of rice, which includes the bran, germ, and endosperm.

Nutrition-wise, brown rice has an edge over white rice. “The milling process that strips white rice of its outer layer removes certain nutrients,” says Michelle Routhenstein, RD, a preventive cardiology dietitian at Entirely Nourished in New York City. That includes magnesium, potassium, and manganese. “These nutrients support overall health and heart health by regulating blood pressure (potassium), promoting energy balance and heart rhythm regularity (magnesium), and contributing to antioxidant defences (manganese),” she says.

Brown rice also contains more niacin, phosphorus, vitamins B1 and B6, and fibre. Fibre is important as it can help with weight and cholesterol management.

One systematic review and meta-analysis found that every 50 gram (g) (about ¼ cup) serving of brown rice led to a 13 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.



White Rice

White rice has been processed to remove the germ and bran, so that only the starchy endosperm remains.  Many nutrients are removed during processing: “White rice is largely devoid of micronutrients and is just empty calories,” Dr. Kahana says. It’s also considered a high glycaemic food, which means it can make blood sugar spike. That means you’ll get a jolt of energy but then crash quickly.

These cycles of surges and dips can increase the risk for developing insulin resistance.

The Final Word on Which Is More Healthy

Brown rice wins this one. It also has a nuttier flavour and chewier texture than white rice.

“However if someone prefers white rice, or it’s a cultural component to their diet, it can still be included as long as they ensure they obtain those essential nutrients from other sources,” Routhenstein says. “Given its high glycaemic index, I recommend pairing white rice with protein and fibre-rich foods in the same meal to support better blood sugar management.” White rice could also be the better option for those on a low-fibre diet or with stomach sensitivities.

Keep in mind that brown rice is still a carbohydrate, so it needs to be portioned and balanced with protein and fibre for optimal blood sugar metabolism,” Routhenstein says.

SOURCE: Everyday Health