Brown Rice Vs. White Rice: Key Differences; Which One Is Better?
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The diet culture has brought with it many problems. The biggest debate is which is healthier: Brown rice or white rice? This whole grain, which is a rich source of nutrients, is a vital element of every Indian meal. Besides appearance, there are many differences between white rice and brown rice. This is not a question that can be answered in one sentence, so let’s take a look at which one is better.

Brown rice, also known as whole-grain rice, is the rice in its natural, intact form, which includes the bran, germ, and endosperm. Brown rice got its name because of its natural color. But it is important to note that whole rice can also come in other colors like purple, black, and red. It takes longer to cook and has a nutty and chewy texture once cooked.

On the other hand, white rice is nothing but brown rice that has been milled and polished. Because of removing the bran and germ layers, most nutrients like B vitamins and iron are lost, but they are added back in after.

So now we come to the main question: which one is healthier?

Well, sadly, there is no easy answer for this. The final choice solely depends on what you are looking for, as both can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.

For instance, if you suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis or have just had bowel surgery, you should consume foods that are lower in residue or fiber to help with a comfortable digestion. For such cases, white rice would be an optimal choice. Also, when it comes to disease prevention, it has been shown that replacing brown rice with white rice helps reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

On the other hand, if you don’t have any underlying digestive issues, brown rice would be the way to go since it is rich in fiber and nutrient content. And, because it is a complex carbohydrate, it would be a healthier choice. According to some research, in certain populations, brown rice also helps to support weight gain prevention, and its intake helps to reduce hemoglobin A1C (or the average blood sugar levels over 3 months) in those who have metabolic syndrome and a high body mass index. But more research is needed to determine the effect of whole grains on weight gain. 

Now let’s have a more detailed look at the individual health benefits of brown and white rice. 

Brown rice benefits: 

Nutrient rich: 

Brown rice has more fiber and antioxidants, as well as more vitamins and minerals. However, this advantage is very slight, as these differences aren’t very significant.

To put it in perspective, 100 grams of cooked brown rice has 1.6 grams of fiber, whereas 100 grams of white rice only has 0.44 grams of fiber.

Positive effects on blood sugar levels:

Brown rice is high in magnesium and fiber, which help control blood sugar levels. Whereas eating more white rice is linked to an increased risk of diabetes due to its high glycemic index (GI). 

May reduce heart disease risk:

Studies also show that eating brown rice helps to reduce several risks that could contribute to heart disease. This could be because brown rice may lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. 

Rich in antioxidants:

Brown rice is also rich in powerful antioxidants, which can neutralize harmful radical compounds and reduce inflammation.

Aids to weight control:

As discussed earlier, eating brown rice helps reduce body mass index, waist size, and weight. 

White rice benefits: 

Brown rice contains antinutrients:

Brown rice contains antinutrients like phytic acid or phtate, which are plant compounds that reduce your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients and, as a result, make it more difficult to absorb nutrients like iron and zinc from food, which can contribute to mineral deficiencies. 

Brown rice contains arsenic.

Brown rice is known to be higher in arsenic than white rice. Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal that is naturally present in the environment but has been increasing due to pollution. And a significant amount of arsenic is known to be present in rice and rice-based products. However, it is important to note that this shouldn’t be a concern if you eat rice in moderation, with a few servings per week.

In conclusion, brown rice is more favorable for blood sugar levels, heart disease, and weight control, while white rice is better for digestive issues where the person cannot digest fiber-rich foods. And although brown rice has more nutrient value than white rice, both can fit in a well-balanced and healthy diet, provided they are consumed in moderation.