Difference Between White Rice And Brown Rice

Difference Between White Rice And Brown Rice

Does white rice have more calories than brown rice? Is brown rice healthier than white rice? What are the real differences between one and the other? Below is an in-depth look at the processing and nutritional value of white rice and brown rice.

Rice is the most consumed cereal in the world. It arrived in Spain around the year 700 and since then it has been the subsistence food par excellence. The latest proof of this was in 2020 when the pandemic was just landing and we did not know what our near future was going to be, rice consumption skyrocketed by 30%. Today, we delve into what white rice is, what differentiates it from brown rice, and which of them is the most beneficial for our health.

What is white rice

White rice or refined rice is rice that has been stripped of the husk, bran, and germ. The result is a bright, white grain that is easy to digest and easy to store. The drawback lies in its high glycemic index, which, when constantly elevated in our diet, promotes the appearance of a series of metabolic disorders such as type II diabetes.

What is brown rice

Brown rice is unrefined rice from which only the husk has been removed. Sometimes, a slight percentage of the bran is also lost during processing, although it mostly preserves both the bran and the germ. These parts of the grain are unrivaled sources of nutrients, including B vitamins and a high proportion of fiber. In addition, brown rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice.

What are the differences between brown rice and normal rice?

White rice and brown rice are obtained in different ways. White rice is more processed, resulting in a refined cereal with lower nutritional value. On the other hand, brown rice is less processed, so it is part of the group of whole grains that are more recommended for our health.

Although it is true that white rice is very convenient since it cooks in 10 minutes and its flavor is mild and very easy to combine with vegetables, meats, and sauces. Brown rice, on the other hand, can take up to 20 minutes to be ready and its contact on the palate is earthier. Below, we detail the keys to the processing and nutritional value of each, so that choosing our next purchase according to our needs is much easier.


The difference between white rice and brown rice comes from the processing. The rice grain is taken from the field and taken to the corresponding factory. After thorough filtering to avoid the presence of insects or possible infections by phytopathogenic fungi, a chain of refinement begins.

In the first step, the husk is removed and the whole grain is obtained that can be used either for marketing or for the production of white rice. In the second case, this shelled grain continues a series of processes that strip it of the bran and germ through grinding and give rise to white rice.

Nutritional value

As a result of processing, which has more calories, rice or brown rice? The truth is that calories are not the differentiating feature between white rice and brown rice. Raw white rice contains 380 kcal per 100 g and raw brown rice contains 345 kcal in the same amount. This discrepancy becomes even more tenuous when we talk about the boiled version, with a difference of just 20 kcal and 50 kcal between white rice and brown rice.

Regarding the glycemic index, the difference is somewhat more pronounced than with calories. White rice has an estimated glycemic index of 70 and brown rice has an estimated glycemic index of just over 60. Between 1 and 55 is considered a low glycemic index, up to 70 medium, and 70 and above are considered high values. Another reason to prioritize brown rice over white rice.

In terms of nutrients, the contribution of minerals and vitamins from white rice is certainly discreet, providing slight amounts of phosphorus. Boiled brown rice, on the other hand, contains twice as much phosphorus as white rice, a good amount of zinc, approximately 8% of the recommended daily amount, 13% of magnesium, and 6% of niacin. Compounds that contribute to strengthening our immune system, maintaining a healthy heart and muscles, as well as a better regulated nervous system, with the consequent associated well-being.

As an extra, brown rice also provides more dietary fiber, which, according to the EFSA, European Health Authority, we should consume daily to maintain a healthy microbiota and prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases and various types of cancer such as colorectal cancer. Below we summarize the nutritional value of boiled white rice and boiled brown rice.

Nutritional value of boiled white rice

  • Energy: 130 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 26.3 g
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Protein: 2.3 g
  • Fiber: 0.5g

Nutritional value of boiled brown rice

  • Energy: 112 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 22.9 g
  • Fat: 0.25 g
  • Protein: 2.6 g
  • Fiber: 1.8g

What type of rice is healthier

Brown rice is healthier than white rice. This consideration does not mean in any case that white rice is prohibited in our diet, but if we can opt for one or the other, we can be sure that a recipe for wok vegetables with brown rice will be more nutritious than with white rice. The reason, as we saw, is that brown rice preserves more layers of the grain that are an important source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

In the long run, to maintain optimal health, the most important thing is that we prioritize whole grains, maintaining a harmonious balance with other types of grains. In this way, we manage to express the qualities of each one, such as the more delicate and permeable flavor of white rice, its ease of cooking as well as the greater body of brown rice, its nutrients, and its fiber.

As to which rice is less fattening, it is a complex dilemma. Speaking in absolute terms is harmful. Brown rice accompanied by an Asian sauce rich in sugar and salt will do more harm and promote greater weight gain than white rice with vegetables. The calorie difference between the two is not so great as to believe that white rice is more fattening than brown rice. What we can say is that brown rice is more nutritious and that both have a place in a diet rich in vegetables, quality proteins, and little processed ingredients.

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