Is Brown Rice Healthier Than White Rice?

For many years, white rice has been demonized as "bad" or "worse" than brown rice. The reasons may vary but mainly it has to do with one of two [misinformed] points. White rice is the name given to milled rice that has had its husk, bran, and germ removed. This alters the flavor, texture and appearance of the rice and helps prevent spoilage and extend its storage life. After milling, the rice is polished, resulting in a seed with a bright, white, shiny appearance. Typically, 100 grams of uncooked rice produces around 240 to 260 grams of cooked grains, the difference in weight being due to absorbed cooking water.

Vitamin and Mineral Content - for some reason people think brown rice is better. Brown rice contains significant dietary fiber and the germ contains many vitamins, mineral, and better nutrients. But, as you can see in this picture, that's not the case. They both have a bunch of important nutrients and what one lacks, the other one makes up for. Brown rice and white rice have similar amounts of calories and carbohydrates. Worth noting, the micronutrient differences between the two are VERY small. So while both have distinct advantages, the vitamin/mineral content between white & brown rice is nearly identical. Brown rice generally needs longer cooking times than white rice, unless it is broken or flourblasted (which perforates the bran without removing it)

The Glycemic Index (GI) - This index measures the changes in blood sugar levels after you eat a particular food. Foods that cause large increases in blood sugar levels have a high glycemic index, while those that don't cause large increases have a low GI. Typically, foods that contain sugars rapidly boost blood sugar levels and so have a high GI. Starchy foods are digested more slowly and tend to have a lower GI. Long story short, people have been led to believe white rice is worse for you because it's GI is higher and therefore spikes blood sugar more. But, fact is, the GI of a food doesn't tell us how "bad" it is for you. It just tells us how quickly that food can raise blood sugar. The glycemic index of white is 44 for converted rice, 56 for long-grain white rice and 72 for short-grain white rice. The glycemic index of brown rice is 55, putting it about equivalent to long-grain white rice. However, brown rice is a better food than white rice because of the additional fiber and nutrients it contains. Since a larger amount of fiber contributes to fullness, you may eat less and thus have a lower glycemic load from brown rice.

Although the GI is a good guideline, it only measures the effect of a small amount of food, usually 50 g of carbohydrates, over a period of two hours. The glycemic load takes into account the GI of a particular food and also its portion size. The rationale is that a small amount of high-GI food would have the same effect on the body as a larger amount of low-GI food. The glycemic load is calculated by taking the GI of a food, multiplying it by the amount of carbohydrates in grams and dividing that number by 100. Understanding the glycemic load is useful for diabetics and others needing to monitor the quality and quantity of food that they eat.

Eat to Stay Healthy

Substituting brown rice for white rice increases the amount of fiber and other nutrients in your diet and may be healthier for you. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health investigated the effect of consuming white rice or brown rice on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study, led by Qi Sun, appeared in the June 14, 2010 issue of the "Archives of Internal Medicine" and used questionnaires about lifestyle and diet to follow 197,228 study participants. The study concluded that replacing white rice with brown rice would decrease an individual's risk for developing diabetes by 16 percent.


The take-home point here is white rice is NOT worse for you than brown rice. They both have pros and cons and, truthfully, you'll probably be healthier incorporating both into your diet rather than either one alone.


"USDA ARS Online Magazine Vol. 50, No. 5"

"nutrient profile". live science.

Difference between white and brown rice

Glycemic Index of Brown Rice Vs. White Rice "Karen S. Garvin"


#healthybody #eatgoodfeelgood #calories #glycemicindex #brownrice #whiterice

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