White Rice vs Brown Rice: What is the Difference and which is better for your Health?

Rice is among the widely available sources of carbohydrates. It also has some levels of proteins depending on the variety. Major types of rice are black, red, white or brown rice. There are some nutritional differences that arise based on the type of rice we consume. We are going to look at the two widely known rice varieties.

The major two varieties of rice

whitevsbrown - White Rice vs Brown Rice: What is the Difference and which is better for your Health?

The main two types of rice are the brown and white rice. Basically, the color is determined by the level of processing, with brown being the less processed one.  There is a growing debate of white rice vs brown rice as far as health benefits are concerned.  Brown rice has only the husk removed. On the other hand, white rice does not have both the endosperm and the outer coat or the span.

It is worth noting that nutritional value does not always equate to health benefits. In fact, given a choice between the two variables on our meals, a majority would choose health benefits. There is no point of consuming a highly nutritious meal that has an adverse effect on our health. This does not necessarily mean that brown rice is more toxic than the processed one on a comparison of brown vs white rice. However, this has been a bone of contention for a long time between white rice vs brown rice.

We shall be looking at these two types of rice in depth and highlight all the factors that may make a person prefer white rice over brown rice and vice versa. As a matter of fact, white rice is more popular than brown rice irrespective of the fact that it has been found to lack abundance of minerals as compared to the brown rice. In fact, most of the studies done on white rice vs brown rice have given almost similar results.

Other than red and black rice, there might be no big difference between white or brown rice were there no processing. The act of passing rice through mills is what erodes the brown color. Thus, in short, white rice is the processed brown rice.

White Rice

white rice - White Rice vs Brown Rice: What is the Difference and which is better for your Health?

Rice is not naturally white in color although a majority of people might not be aware of this. The whiteness is as a result of processing that gets rid of 95% of its color, nutrients, and minerals. Color is the most effective way of distinguishing white rice vs brown rice.

White rice is the processed rice. By processing, we mean that the outer husk, the bran, and the endosperm have been removed. There has been a recent wave to eat everything raw and this pressure is not exceptional on rice. In fact, most of the people term white rice as an empty source of calories or a cheat diet. This further complicates the preference of white rice vs brown rice.

As a matter of fact, brown rice is richer in nutrients than the white rice but not to the great extents as portrayed by most studies. Majority of them might be following the mob psychology and concluding that white rice is an inferior type of food.  Bearing in mind that the only difference between white rice vs brown rice is the bran part, this is a clear indication that the major difference is in the fiber content.

The size of the grain also plays an important part in determining the amount of starch in rice. The long grain white rice like the Basmati, Jasmine, and Doongara are less starchy compared to the short grain ones like Aborio. There are also the medium length varieties that have medium levels of starch. A comparison between white rice vs brown rice based on grain size gives almost the same results since color emanates from the level of processing.


  • It is resistant to oxidation. This gives it a longer shelf life and even when cooked, it stays for a longer period before going bad.
  • It is a great source of simple carbohydrates that are easily synthesized by the body for a faster source of energy.
  • It contains zero levels of cholesterol and sodium, high levels of these elements can accelerate cardiovascular diseases.
  • It is an efficient energy booster after a workout. Brown vs white rice with respect to how fast they release energy to the body after consumption gives white rice an upper hand in this.


  • It has no germ as well as the bran. This leaves only the simple sugars which are dangerous in causing high blood sugars. So brown vs white rice as far as blood sugars are concerned, the brown rice dominates.
  • Nutritional wise, it is an inferior source of calories. It has been equated to sugar balls, providing only sugar with less or no nutritional value.
  • It increases the risk of developing diabetes due to its high glycemic index (GI) levels. White rice vs brown rice as far as their GI levels are concerned is 89 vs 50
  • Its viscous starch is hard to digest and this can lead to discomfort and fatigue

Brown Rice

brown rice - White Rice vs Brown Rice: What is the Difference and which is better for your Health?

There is a great misconception that brown rice is the raw rice that comes directly from the field. Brown rice is the one that only the outer husk has been removed. It is a whole grain and no further processing is done on the rice apart from whining in the field. Thus, it contains all the fibrous parts, the nutritious germ, and the carbohydrate-rich endosperm. On the contrary white rice has its germ and bran removed. This is the primary difference between white and brown rice.

Brown rice is not very popular because it is not as tasty as the white rice. Its sugar levels are neutralized, unlike the white rice which has all other elements removed from the grain and leaving only the sugary elements. Despite being more nutritious, rice should always be considered as a constituent in a meal rather than looking at it as a meal on its own.

This would reduce the debate on white rice vs brown rice because if taken as part of a meal, there might not be much emphasis on whether it’s white or brown rice being prepared. However, if it is the sole dish, these factors have to be analyzed in details.


  • It has high fiber contents that help in bowel movement as well as in the whole digestion process.
  • It has antioxidants that help the body to get rid of the toxins easily
  • It is high in magnesium.
  • Its regular consumption reduces the risks of developing type2 diabetes as well as lowering the blood sugar levels.
  • In respect to health, white rice vs brown rice has numeral difference. Another one that makes brown rice better is the presence of lignans that reduce the amount of fat in the blood as well as decrease inflammation in the arteries.
  • It boosts the immunity system and protects the body against cancer, dysentery, and other heart-related diseases.
  • It prevents obesity. These grains have less than 10% fat.
  • It has minerals and nutrients that help in the growth of neurotransmitters and this helps in curbing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It also stimulates neuroprotective enzymes in the brain that inhibit the effects of free radicals. This reduces the oxidative stress and leads to proper utilization of nutrients in our bodies.
  • It is an excellent source of magnesium, thiamine, iron as well as moderate levels of zinc.
  • It is the perfect food for babies since it has a variety of essential minerals and nutrients required for the normal growth cycles.
  • It is a perfect alternative for patients with Candida yeast infections.



  • It has antinutrients that inhibit the absorption of other nutrients in the body. The major antinutrients present are the phytic acid or the phytate. This reduces the body’s ability to absorb iron and zinc. Considering the role these minerals play in the body, their deficiency cannot be assumed. As such if you resort to eating brown rice, make an arrangement on how to be supplementing your body with zinc and iron minerals. Phytates also inhibits pepsin, the enzyme needed to properly break down protein as well as amylase, the enzyme needed to break sugars
  • It also has high levels of arsenic which is a toxic chemical. High levels of arsenic metal in our bodies have been associated with chronic diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, and type2 diabetes. Some of these elements can only be realized if you do an in-depth analysis of white rice vs brown rice.
  • It can lead to leaky gut syndrome especially if consumed on regular basis.
  • It takes longer to cook due to the lower starch levels
  • Its metabolic rate is a bit slower compared to the white rice and this makes it not an efficient source of energy among the rice types.

Main facts about rice

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  • White vs brown rice based on the starch level: Almost 90% of its total dry weight is starch. These figures are almost the same in both types of rice and this observation is made after making a thorough analysis of white rice vs brown rice.
  • Amylase and amylopectin determine the stickiness of rice. The higher the value of amylase, the less sticky is the rice after cooking.
  • White vs brown rice consumption based on the mode of eating Those who prefer eating rice with chopsticks like in Asia, Japan, and China; they prefer rice that is sticky. Remember this is the type of rice that has a high digestibility.
  • White rice contains 0.3% fiber while brown rice contains 1.8% fiber. Thus one cup of brown rice contains approximately 3.5 grams. This is a key factor that explains the difference between white and brown rice.
  • The resistant starch in rice is essential for the proper thriving of gut bacteria. This plays a vital role in the digestion process. Comparing brown vs white rice on this ground, brown rice is better.
  • The rice fiber is highly concentrated in the bran
  • White vs brown rice in relation to the preparation method. Other than the type of rice, the cooking method also determines the nutritional value of rice.
  • Other than white rice vs brown rice, there are other types of rice and majority of them are named after their color just like the white rice vs brown rice.
  • The phytic acid which is mostly found in brown rice can be reduced by soaking or fermenting the rice before cooking it. After the treatment, the toxin levels on white rice vs brown rice are almost the same.
  • The ferulic acid that is found in the rice bran is a great depressant of cancer, diabetes and many other cardiovascular diseases.
  • The white rice is one whose seed coat and embryo have been removed. The main reason for their removal is to prolong its shelf life, improve taste in the cooked form as well as enhance its overall quality.
  • White vs brown rice as far as toxin level is concerned. The bran of the rice grain also works as the dustbin for the real rice seed and thus when grown in a polluted area, it can be a source of health hazards especially from high metal deposits.
  • White rice can have adverse effects on sugar balance and as such, people with diabetes should avoid the white rice. From these observations, white rice vs brown rice analysis will be relevant since the choice of what to eat is determined by many factors other than color or nutritional value.

Major scientific studies that were done to back up the white vs brown rice prepositions

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  1. Evaluation of whether high-level intake of whole grains reduces the risks of coronary heart disease: In a research carried out at Harvard medical school 75521 women aged between 38-63 years were asked to fill questionnaires and all the women were put under observation for a period of 10 years. In this case, white rice vs brown rice can be equated to whole gain vs processed grain.

All the women had no previous cardiovascular diseases condition. By the completion of the stipulated time, 761 cases of coronary heart disease had been reported. After adjusting for all the causal factors it was concluded that high intake of whole grains reduced incidences of CHD.

  1. The relationship between whole grains and diabetic disease: This can be summarized as the analysis of white vs brown rice in relation to diabetes. In a study carried out in Harvard school of public health (HSPH) that was spearheaded by Sun and Frank HU a professor of nutrition, it was found that eating more than 5 servings per week of white rice increased the risk of developing diabetes. On the same study, it was observed that eating more than two servings of brown rice per week was associated with low risk of developing diabetes.
  2. Determining the effects of white rice vs brown rice on blood sugar levels and its impact on weight gain: In a study whereby fifteen overweight Asian adults were put under observation on a diet of different types of rice. It was observed that the quantity of white or brown rice consumed had a direct impact on the level of glucose and insulin in the body.

White Rice vs. Brown Rice Comparison

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Despite there being enough evidence to show that brown rice is richer in nutrients than white rice; the latter is still being consumed in extremely large quantities. There are many driving forces for this consumption pattern and we are going to look at some of the features and factors that make some people prefer consuming either white or brown rice.

  • Among the most prevalent are the tastes, preference, and choice. Unfortunately, all choices have consequences and this is where all the difference comes in.
  • White vs brown rice in bodybuilding activities: Most of the bodybuilders prefer rice as their energy giving food both after and during a workout.
  • The white rice has no germ or bran and this greatly affects its nutritional value in a negative way.
  • White vs brown rice based on the amount of protein they contain: A 100g of white rice has 6.3g of proteins while the same quantity of brown rice has 7.2grams
  • White rice is readily digestible compared to the brown ones. Due to this if you overeat white rice, there can be carbohydrates overload that can eventually lead to weight gain.
  • As far as fiber is concerned, white vs brown rice have considerable differences. The brown rice has higher fibers compared to the white rice.
  • In conclusion, the preference between white rice vs brown rice can vary among various individuals with some preferring white while others brown. It all goes back to taste and preference and choice. These are key elements that determine what a consumer takes.

What is the edge of white rice over brown rice?

The difference between white and brown rice is not only based on the nutritional levels, there are many other significant factors that really gives the white rice an upper hand compared to the brown ones. Among them is the energy level as well as the toxic level. White rice vs brown rice when toxicity is considered changes the nutritional equation.

Brown rice has some toxins and acidic elements that inhibit proper absorption of essential minerals like iron. This leaves white rice as one of the options available to those who cannot stand the toxins in the brown sugar. Also, as far as white rice vs brown rice is concerned based on the energy level, White rice is an emergency source of energy.

For example for the people who are rarely reliant on ketones for an energy source, consuming a dish that will be easy to release the energy in the whole span of the activity period is good. The stored glucose in the blood can only be used to fuel the body for two hours.

After this, if there is no efficient source of energy, the performance is greatly affected. This is mostly the case with players and athletes.  So, as for people who gets involved in high intensity training exercises, white rice wins in a choice between white rice vs brown rice.

Fortunately for the long distance runners and marathoners, they have trained their bodies to be relying on fat as a source of energy. This is also the reason why these people are thin. Fats and ketones when used to fuel the body last longer than glucose. However, for a majority of the people who have not reversed the energy synthesis process in the body white rice is a good energy booster.

What is the edge of brown rice over white rice?

White rice vs brown rice with respect to nutrition is the main element that gives the brown one an upper hand in the preference list for many rice consumers. The brown one is rich in minerals and nutrients because it has all the grain components intact. The bran and the germ are not removed and these contribute significantly to the nutritional value of brown rice.

Another advantage of brown vs white rice is the role it plays in weight management. It has high levels of fibers. These fibers are hard to digest and thus they remain in the digestive system for long. This gives a person the feeling of fullness and thus the frequency of eating is reduced. This is a key factor in controlling weight.

That is not the only work of fibers in brown rice; they also offer foods to gut bacteria and these enzymes are important for the efficient digestion process. The fiber also adds volume to waste and feces. This makes it easy to pass through the colon and the duodenum. Long stay of fecal matter in the digestive tract is the main cause of various types of cancer.

Is brown rice healthier than white rice?

brownrice - White Rice vs Brown Rice: What is the Difference and which is better for your Health?

From statistics, many people consume white rice. Not because it is rich in nutrients but rather because it is the one which is available. Most of the countries that do not grow rice have fewer options on the type of rice to avail to the market. This is not forgetting that most of the people prefer the processed carbohydrates due to the sugary starch that is highly neutralized in the unprocessed grains.

Thus, taste is also a major contributing factor on why white rice is consumed more in comparison to brown rice. So, it is not only the nutritional difference between white and brown rice but rather even the un-nutritional ones do count. In fact, some people might despise white or brown rice just based on color without putting many other factors into consideration.

However, as a matter of fact, white vs brown rice is almost incomparable on the nutritional grounds. White rice has got its bran and germ removed and these are the most nutritious parts of the grain. Brown rice on the other part has high fiber content, high antioxidants, many essential vitamins as well as other valuable minerals.

The table given below will make this comparison between white rice vs brown rice simpler. It will also answer the question on “is brown rice healthier than white rice?”

Nutrient Brown rice White rice
Thiamine 6% 1%
Niacin 8% 2%
Vit B6 7% 5%
Vit b12, A,D,K 0% 0%
Manganese 45% 24%
Magnesium 11% 3%
Phosphorous 8% 4%
Iron 2% 1%
Zinc 4% 3%


From the statistic, it can be observed that brown rice is rich in both vitamins and minerals. However, the contradictions between white rice vs brown rice are more complex than the way things appear on the surface. Brown rice has some toxins that can inhibit the absorption and digestion of those extra minerals it has to the point of equating or going below the white rice thresh hold.

Which is better for health? White or Brown Rice

The difference between white and brown rice has been based on the nutritional levels as it has already been discussed extensively in this article before. From the observations and research, it can be concluded that brown rice is better for our health compared to white rice. At this point, it is worth noting that not all those who consume rice have the knowledge to be able to distinguish the benefits of these two types of rice based on nutritional level.

Some people have no choices to select from; there is no white rice vs brown rice in their food basket but white rice only.  If you are in such a situation and the only rice you can easily access is the white one, then you can do the following to ensure that you get the maximum benefit from it. Take fiber supplements before meals to reduce the undesirable effect of high insulin and they also make you fuller for longer. With those supplements white or brown rice will be good for our health.

Being full for longer ensures that the frequency of eating is reduced and thus it becomes even easier to manage weight on a white rice diet although it is much simpler on brown rice. There is no comparison between white rice vs brown rice in terms of fiber content. So for those who have questions like “is brown rice healthier than white rice?” then it is almost obvious the answer is an affirmative reply.

Which is good for weight loss and bodybuilding? White rice vs brown rice

rice for weight loss - White Rice vs Brown Rice: What is the Difference and which is better for your Health?

Weight loss and bodybuilding are two sides of the same coins. Many people confuse fat people from masculine people. To put it clear, fat people have high fat to muscle ratio while masculine people have high muscles to fat ratio. These two people eat very different diets and mostly that is what makes the visible difference between them.

Muscles are built from bodybuilding foods, mostly proteins, and carbohydrates while fat deposits mostly originate from fat and proteins. We are going to look at the roles of white rice vs brown rice in bodybuilding activities.

In essence, weight gain results from eating more calories than you are using on a daily basis. Thus, holding all the other factors constant, the type of rice with the highest calorie levels is likely to lead to overweight. As such the best rice to eat while on a weight management practice is the brown rice. Although none of the white or brown rice can be said to be deficient in calories.

Building muscles not only requires proteins but rather requires also some substantial amount of carbohydrates.  White rice vs brown rice on carbohydrates issue are almost equal, however, on the preferential scale, brown rice is preferred by bodybuilders since it has other essential minerals. Overall white rice vs brown rice, brown wins for weight loss and bodybuilding.

Another difference between white and brown rice on bodybuilding is how it deals with insulin levels in the blood. The fibers and the fats in brown rice help to reduce the presence of insulin in the body. Thus, during the periods of inactivity, the carbohydrates from the brown rice are less likely to be converted to fats for storage in comparison to the white rice.


Rice is a staple food in most of the cultures and its consumption cannot be condemned irrespective of its color, whether white or brown rice. Each of these major types of rice has its undesired features and as such, it is wise to know how to live better depending on the type of rice you are eating.

If you are a white rice enthusiast, then it is worth noting that most of the nutrients are absent after removing the endosperm as well as the bran. As such it might be advisable to supplement the white rice diet with some fibers as well as other vitamin sources like vegetables. From our discussion above, it is clear that we cannot compare white rice vs brown rice in terms of nutrition, brown wins equivocally.

White rice vs brown rice for those who prefer it raw, they definitely get more nutrients from brown rice. However, brown rice has been known to contain high levels of phytic acid as well as arsenic metals. These toxins might demand they take foods rich in antioxidants like the berries to counter the effects of the toxins. So, white rice vs brown rice in terms of toxin level, white rice wins.