Brown Rice vs. White Rice

Recently there has been much talk about brown rice. It is considered a healthier alternative to white rice, but little is known about what makes one starch better than the other. Both these type of rice work quite well as side dishes and even main course used in casseroles, sushi, soup, stir fry and burritos to just name a few. Although the difference might seem insignificant at first, brown rice definitely takes home the trophy in the brown rice vs. white rice war.

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Their Nutrition Facts

Brown rice is a whole grain with just the hull or husk removed through milling. Hence, it retains the germ and fiber that contains essential nutrients. White rice, on the other hand, is much more refined as the outer layers like the germ and bran have been removed, and so along with it most of its essential nutrients. What's more, white rice is also further polished, taking away the remaining layer of germ that contains essential oils.

General Nutrients of 100g Cooked Long Grain Brown and White Rice


Brown Rice

White Rice





0 mg

0 mg




Total Carbohydrate



  • Dietary fiber



  • Sugar






Total Fat






Micronutrients of 100g Cooked Long Grain Brown and White Rice


Brown Rice

White Rice




Vitamin K



Vitamin B6



Vitamin A

0.0I U

0.0 IU





Brown Rice

White Rice
















As is quite evident, while both types of rice are packed with nutrients, brown rice leads in nutritional value by a great margin. Brown rice is rich in nutrients like thiamine, manganese, magnesium, folate and niacin among many others. Hence, brown rice can be considered a healthier option.

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: For Weight Loss and Diabetes

Besides nutrition facts, let's compare brown and white rice in terms of their roles in helping lose weight and soothing diabetes:

Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

Although brown rice wins in the aspect of nutrition, does that also mean that it is a better option for losing weight? Let’s find out:

  • In respect of calorie content: Weight loss is directly proportional to the amount of calories that you intake and the ones that you lose. And as is evident from the charts above, brown rice contains about 111 calories per 100g, white rice contains 130 calories in the same serving amount. So that’s like an additional 19 calories per serving, considering your serving is of 100g daily, which is almost half a cup! So that makes about 570 additional calories in a month if consumed daily. Wouldn’t brown rice not only add more nutritional value but a significant reduction in calories comparatively?
  • In respect of fiber content: Fiber helps boost metabolism and helps burn calories. Fiber works by reducing the amount of calories you absorb from macronutrients like carbohydrates and fat and makes you feel full for longer. And considering brown rice contains about 2.05g of fiber in a serving of 100g compared to absolutely no fiber in white rice, brown rice is a much viable option when it comes to adding more calorie-killing fiber in your diet. So brown rice not only limits calorie intake, but helps burn those limited calories much faster!

So, we now can come to the conclusion that brown rice practically KOs white rice in the brown rice vs. white rice weight loss fight too!

Which Is Better for Diabetics?

Food items are classified for how high and how quickly they raise blood sugar levels using the glycemic index (GI). The lower a food’s glycemic value, the slower it would be digested and slower and lower would it raise blood sugar levels. Similarly, the higher a food’s GI, the higher/faster it will raise blood sugar levels and faster it will be digested by the body.

Brown rice has a lower GI compared to white rice. White rice will be digested much quickly, and hence will spike up the blood sugar levels much faster too. Brown rice on the other hand would stabilize blood sugar levels, just like they should for someone with diabetes.

Switching to brown rice can even reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study of WebMD. This is an important finding considering the consumption of white rice has drastically increased in the past few years, and so has the number of people of type 2 diabetes. Currently around 18 million Americans have type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health are also of the opinion that eating at least two servings of brown rice weekly is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The report also states that eating 5 or more servings of white rice per week is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Soaking Brown Rice Beforehand Is a Necessity

Although brown rice wins the brown rice vs. white rice war, you should always soak brown rice beforehand. Brown rice contains its husk and bran, which makes it richer in vitamins and more wholesome. It also has a lower glycemic rating compared to white rice. Brown rice helps you remain fuller for longer as the outer sheath of grain takes longer to digest. This also means that energy levels are retained for longer too.

However, the outer husk of the brown rice is full of lectins and phytates, the anti-nutrients that bind to minerals and vitamins and prevent them from being absorbed. Hence, it is of utmost importance to soak brown rice prior to eating. Overnight soaking would make brown rice more digestible as brown rice is one of those grains that, when soaked overnight, start the germination process and release the enzyme phytase that breaks down phytic acid. 

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