Are You Confused About Brown Rice or White Rice?
Pin It

Rice is a staple ingredient in many of our kitchens and meals. While rice is a versatile and delicious grain, there are types of rice which are (way) more healthy than others.We all have heard the buzz that brown rice is healthier than white rice.

If you're confused about the difference between brown rice, white rice, here is a breakdown of everything you want to know about rice and its nutritional content.

What is Brown Rice?

Brown Rice is a whole grain. This means that it has all its part intact - the bran, germ, and the endosperm - only taking off the outer hull of the rice kernel. This also means it is high in nutrients, vitamins, and fiber.

The is the outer layer of the rice grain, and is full of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin B. The middle layer, , is a rich source of essential proteins, some of the B vitamins, minerals, as well as healthy fats. The core, , contains carbohydrates, some proteins, and some of the vitamins and minerals. Brown rice is not stripped off any of these layers, which is both a blessing and a curse.

For starters, with all these layers comes difficulties to digest them. Brown rice is hard to digest, owing to its high fiber content. It also has a very nutty flavor, that is not everyone’s cup of tea or ‘bowl of rice,’ honestly. Then comes the threat of phytic acid that is widely found in the bran layer.

Thing to remember if you are planning to buy Brown Rice:

One main reason brown rice is processed is to increase its storage time. The essential oils in brown rice go rancid after 6-8 months while white rice lasts up to 10 years. So, buy your brown rice in smaller quantities and make sure you're not cooking with a rancid grain.

What is White Rice?

White Rice, on the other hand, is made from stripping off the germ and bran, leaving only the endosperm intact. This variety is milled and heavily polished to give the white color to the core. So, as expected, most of the nutrients, proteins and the antioxidants are lost in the process, making white rice an ‘unhealthy option.’ So, in the general opinion, when you’re downing that tasty bowl of white rice with perfect side dishes, you’re missing out on most of the essential vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, folate, and fiber.

But, this process also removes the bran layer, and thus eliminates the threat of phytic acid. Most importantly, white rice is easy to digest as the milling helps cut down the content of grain based fiber whose overdose can harm the gut, thus hampering the digestion process.

What is right time to eat rice?

According to McLeod the best time to eat rice is around physical activity -- when your body needs carbs to fuel and recover.

For everybody, the best time to be consuming rice is around your physical activity, as this is when your body is going to be using up and requiring carbohydrates for performance and recovery.

Why you should avoid eating rice in the night?

Rice is high in starch and carbs and breaks down easily. So yes, you can digest it easily but that is where the problem lies. Rice is a dish that leads to an instant spike in your blood glucose levels as it breaks down easily and that means, you have an instant burst of energy. Rice is also one of the ingredients that can lead to weight gain as it has more calories in the form of carbs which if not used, stores as fat in your body.


According to the United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, 1 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
  • 0.6 g of fiber

Alternatively, the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database lists that 1 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
  • 3.2 g of fiber


The main reason behind brown things being healthy is that they are loaded with fibre. White rice goes through polishing and refining which takes away its natural coating which is full of nutrition. The only thing that remains in abundance in white rice is carbohydrate. Brown rice contains more vitamins and minerals as compared to white rice. White rice is a good source of folate but has less nutritional content due to artificial processing involved in its making. While white rice is easy to digest, it is low on nutrition and leads to instant release of energy, brown rice is comparatively heavier and takes time in digestion. Also, brown rice makes you feel fuller throughout the day and hence is a favourite of weight watchers and those on a diet.

Brown rice contains more vitamins and minerals as compared to white rice. White rice is a good source of folate but has less nutritional content due to artificial processing involved in its making.

But remember, a cup of white rice won’t make you fat, like how a cup of brown rice won’t make you look better.

Always remember, nutrition is not a ‘one size fits all’ science—the degree of absorption and the effect varies from person to person. We all know that there are individuals who can eat everything and remain petite and, then there are those people, prone to quick weight gain despite being on a strict diet. It’s all about metabolism.

It is also important to exercise portion control, no matter what kind of rice you are eating.

You should keep your serving to just one cup, or about the size of your fist, or less if you are trying to lose weight.

A humble dal-chawal meal is so satiating, that it makes us eat slower and increases our chances of eating the right quantity. This promotes good health and proper digestion, which are the cornerstones of an accelerated metabolism.