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10 Differences Between Brown Rice and White Rice

Updated on June 1, 2010

Figuring out what to eat can be really confusing in modern times. On the one hand, we are privy to lots of information about what is goodfor us and what isn’t. On the other hand, the information we get is sometimes conflicting. For example, should we be eating brown rice or white rice? Manypeople have some inkling of an idea that brown rice is supposed to be better for them than white rice is. However, most of us don’t really know what the difference is between brown and white rice other than the colors we perceive them to be.

You can gain a better understanding of which rice is right for you by learning more about the differences between brown rice and white rice. Here’s a look at ten of those differences:

1. Brown rice is a natural whole grain rice that is either un-milled or partially milled whereas white rice as been milled. In the milling process, just the husk is removed from brown rice grains. The husk is also removed from white rice grains but so are the next 1-2 layers beneath the husk.

2. Brown rice tends to be less starchy than white rice. This is because the milling process reveals the starchier part of the grain with white rice. This means that white rice is stickier than brown rice (and easier to eat with chopsticks!)

3. Brown rice has greater nutritional value than white rice. The process of milling white rice means that several nutrients, minerals and vitamins are removed from the rice. B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, fatty acids and fiber may be lost in the milling process. Some white rice is enriched which means that these nutrients are returned to the food but brown rice in general has higher nutritional value in terms of these things than white rice does.

4. Brown rice is less likely to make you constipated. The excess fiber in brown rice means that it helps out people who are constipated. In contrast, people who have weak digestive / gastrointestinal systems may find that brown rice causes things to flow just a little bit too much for their comfort. In the case of people with a damaged or sensitive gastrointestinal system, white rice might be the better choice.

5. Brown rice is more difficult for babies to process. For the same reasons that brown rice makes adults less constipated, it can be harder on the systems of babies that are just beginning to eat solid food. It is sometimes recommended that white rice be introduced before brown rice for this reason.

6. Brown rice may lower your cholesterol whereas white rice does not. Brown rice contains the rice bran oil that is lost to processing with white rice. This oil has been shown in animal studies to have potential cholesterol-lowering benefits. It is not certain whether or not brown rice really does help to lower cholesterol but the potential seems to be there whereas it’s not at all likely with white rice.

7. Brown rice is better for the earth. It has been argued that the additional steps that are required to process white rice make it a less environmentally conscious food than brown rice is. The extra milling along with the process of enriching require energy. The more energy we use, the harder we’re being on the earth. Brown rice is a greener food.

8. Uncooked brown rice won’t last as long. That extra processing that makes white rice does have some benefits. The most significant of those benefits is the fact that uncooked white rice will last longer in storage than uncooked brown rice will. In either case, you’ll want to seal up your uncooked rice and store it properly.

9. Brown rice has more fat than white rice. Although they have approximately the same amount of calories, white rice is lower in fat content than brown rice is. Do note that the fat that you’re getting rid of is “good fat”, though.

10. Brown rice takes a little bit longer to cook. Brown rice is firmer than white rice and it takes longer to cook it to a firmness that is palatable to the mouth.The length of time varies depending on the specific type of rice that you get but in general you’ll spend a short bit more time cooking brown rice.

Which do you like better: white rice or brown rice?

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  • profile image

    mun 3 years ago

    Yup my vote is for brown rice

  • profile image

    Nads 5 years ago

    Thanks very informative and useful

  • profile image

    sarita 5 years ago

    Really a good informative article on rice Thanks

  • Nan Mynatt profile image

    Nan Mynatt 7 years ago from Illinois


  • Anita_Lumley profile image

    Anita_Lumley 7 years ago from Springfield, MO

    Good hub! I enjoyed reading your article. Thanks. :D