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Cereals |  Debjani M Arora
Brown rice Vs white rice: Which one is healthier?
March 04, 2022

So you love eating rice? But wondering why you should make a switch from white rice to brown rice? Why suddenly brown rice became an accepted food item in the healthy foods list? We have the answers to all such questions of yours. 

There is this eternal debate: Which one is healthier - brown rice or white rice? Research, data and other expert opinions have proven time and again that brown rice is a better choice than white rice. The reasons for favouring brown over white are many. To begin with, both are high in carbohydrates, but they differ in their nutritional content. 


How are the two different? 


Brown rice is a whole grain with the bran, husk and germ intact, whereas white rice is processed (without the bran, husk and germ.) This is why brown rice is nutritionally more dense than white rice. Studies suggest that regular consumption of whole grains can help reduce cholesterol levels, risk of stroke, heart disease and type II diabetes. 


Here is how they differ in nutritional content 


Fibre: Being a whole grain brown rice is higher in fibre content than white rice. Fibre helps combat constipation problems, increases satiety (restricts overeating), reduces the risk of heart disease, type II diabetes and promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria. 


Manganese: This mineral is absent in white rice, which helps in antioxidant absorption and the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins. It is also an essential component of various enzymes that our body needs to function to its fullest. 


Selenium: It plays a vital role in thyroid hormone production and improving immune system functions. It is present in abundance in  brown rice. 


Magnesium: This mineral is essential for various functions: blood coagulation, muscle contraction, cell development, bone health and more. 


Besides this, brown rice also has traces of iron, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and B6. 


There are a host of benefits to consuming brown rice over white rice. Here are a few of them: 


It helps to control blood sugar levels: Studies suggest that since brown rice is high in fibre, magnesium and selenium, it helps control blood sugar levels and keep the readings in check. Also, it has a lower glycemic index than white rice. People with diabetes should avoid having foods that have a higher glycemic score. White rice has a score of 72. This means when consumed, white rice breaks down quickly and makes the sugar levels rise after meals. But the glycemic index value of  brown rice is 50. So brown rice breaks down slowly and releases glucose at a much slower rate than white rice, but if you go beyond your recommended limit (how much brown rice you can have), it could cause harm. 


Talk to your dietitian or coach to know how much rice you can consume in a day and stick to the quantity strictly.   


It reduces the risk of heart diseases 


Lingnan, a plant component found in brown rice, makes it a heart-friendly food, protecting from various heart diseases. 


It provides powerful antioxidants 


The bran of brown rice is rich in antioxidants; this is one of the core reasons why brown rice is considered healthy and provides protective properties for heart diseases, type II diabetes and some types of cancers too. 


It aids in weight management 


Since brown rice is rich in fibre, it helps one reach satiety soon and prevents overeating. This, in turn, helps in regulating caloric intake and aid in the weight loss process. 


A word of caution 


Brown rice also has some demerits: it is on the moderate side of the glycemic index, so overeating can raise blood sugar levels. Besides this, brown rice could also have some antinutrients since it is unpolished, toxins like arsenic or phytic acid. So, eating too much brown rice can lead to some toxicity or other health consequences.  


Which rice is better for daily consumption? 


Brown rice stands to be a better choice than white rice for daily consumption. However, remember moderation is the key here. Eat brown rice in moderation and ensure that you are having a balanced diet - the right amount of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats on your plate. If you cannot decide how much rice you need to consume in a day, get in touch with a dietitian to get the specifications. 


Here is a small comparison between the two that can help you make the right decision: 



Portion Grammage

Carbohydrate (gm)

Fats (gm)

Energy (kcal)

Total Fiber (gm)

Soluble Fiber (gm)

Insoluble Fiber (gm)

Manganese (mg)

Selenium (mcg)

Magnesium (mg)

707 - Brown Rice











201 - White Rice













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