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Brown rice or white rice
November 5, 2017, 2:08 pm

Rice is the staple food of more than half the world’s population — more than 3.5 billion people around the world depend on rice for nearly 20 percent of their daily calories. Nearly 90 percent of global rice consumption is in Asia and the demand continues to rise. Over 90,000 varieties of cultivated and wild rice are grown or found in more than 100 countries worldwide.

Most cultivated rice varieties are offered to consumers as either white rice or brown rice, based on whether the bran and germ of the rice grain are removed, as in white rice, or retained as in brown rice.

Here we focus on some of the merits and shortcomings of white and brown rice. Nutritional experts have calculated that one cup of cooked, enriched, long-grain white rice provides: 205 kilocalories (kcal); 4.25 grams (g) of protein; 0.44 g of fat; 44.51 g of carbohydrates and 0.6 g of fiber.

On the other hand, one cup of cooked, long-grain brown rice provides: 248 kcal; 5.53 g of protein; 1.96 g of fat; 51.67 g of carbohydrates and 3.2 g of fiber
Based on vitamins and minerals, the percent daily value provided by white (first number) and brown rice (second number) were: Iron (11 and 6); Thiamine (17 and 24); Niacin (12 and 26); Vitamin B6 (7 and 12); Phosphorus (7 and 21); Magnesium (5 and 20); Zinc (5 and 10); Manganese (37 and 98); Copper (5 and 11); Folate (38 and 5) and Selenium (17 and 17).

As shown above, white rice that has its bran and germ removed by milling tends to have lower amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals compared to brown rice. The protein, fiber and carbohydrate content of brown rice are also higher than white rice. Nevertheless, brown rice has more fat per cup and one serving provides more kilocalories than white rice.

Both white and brown rice are naturally gluten-free and are gentle on the digestive system and generally well-tolerated. Also, cooling rice after it is cooked results in higher levels of a fiber called resistant starch. This even applies if the cooked, cooled rice is later reheated. This form of fiber may help promote gut health.

There may be certain situations in which one type of rice has advantages over the other. Since brown rice has not been stripped of its bran and germ, it is significantly higher in many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. This makes it the ideal rice choice for those looking to improve their overall nutrition.

Brown rice is also richer in fiber, which helps promote healthier cholesterol levels, regularity and weight management; it is also known to ease constipation.

White rice with its lower fiber content is usually recommended for certain conditions involving the gut, such as diverticulitis, and diarrhea, and after surgeries that involve the stomach or intestines.

Brown rice also contains more phosphorus and potassium than white rice, so people with kidney disease may need to limit both these nutrients in their diet.
Women who are pregnant, could become pregnant, or are breast-feeding need increased levels of folate, which is one of the nutrients that white rice is rich in. Getting enough folate can help decrease a baby's risk for certain birth abnormalities.  Aside from the folate, it is recommended that women who could become pregnant also get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid per day. Since white rice is fortified with folic acid, it could be a better choice for people with increased folate needs or those at risk of not meeting their folate needs.

In a study on the association between rice intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes, researchers found that eating more white rice was associated with a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, especially among Asian people. They also found that for each serving of white rice eaten per day, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increased by 11 percent.

By contrast, eating brown rice more frequently was linked to a lower risk for type 2 diabetes. People who ate 2 or more servings of brown rice each week had an 11 percent lower risk for type 2 diabetes than people who ate the least amount of brown rice.


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