Both white rice and brown rice mainly contain carbohydrates and some protein, and almost no fat or sugar. Cooked rice contains a lot of water, which accounts for 70% of its total weight. White rice and brown rice have similar calorie, carbohydrate, protein and fat content. A 100g white short-grain rice contains the following nutrients:
% Daily Value (DV)
Rice is mainly composed of carbohydrates and nearly 80% of the total dry weight of trusted sources . Most of the carbohydrates in rice are starch. Starch is the most common form of carbohydrate in food. Starch is composed of long chains of glucose called amylose and amylopectin. Different types of rice contain different amounts of these compounds, which affect the texture of the rice:
Basmati rice is rich in amylose, which means it will not stick together after cooking.
Glutinous rice or glutinous rice has low amylose content and high amylopectin content, which will become sticky after cooking. This makes it ideal for risotto, rice pudding and eating with chopsticks.
These compounds also affect how easily the body can digest rice. It takes longer for the body to digest high-amylose rice, because amylose slows down the digestion of starch. In contrast, the body can easily digest glutinous rice. Although many people find glutinous rice more delicious, fast digestion can cause blood sugar levels to rise, especially in people with diabetes.
Brown rice contains more dietary fiber than white rice- 1.6 grams per 100 grams. In the process of processing white rice, the grain loses its bran or seed coat and most of its fiber. Bran mainly contains insoluble fiber, such as hemicellulose, and almost no soluble fiber. White rice and brown rice contain different amounts of soluble fiber, called resistant starch.
Resistant starch increases butyrate in the intestines. Butyrate promotes intestinal health by reducing inflammation, improving intestinal barrier function and reducing the risk of colon cancer .
White rice and brown rice
The white rice is refined, polished, and the bran and germ are removed. This will improve its cooking quality, shelf life and taste, but will significantly reduce its nutritional value. In other words, manufacturers usually concentrate white rice or replace some vitamins after processing. Brown rice is a complete whole grain, containing bran and germ, which is the most nutritious part of the grain. They contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants . Therefore, brown rice may contain more fiber and nutrients than white rice. Always compare tags when shopping. Brown rice is more suitable for diabetics. White rice can increase blood sugar, while brown rice has a low glycemic index , which helps control blood sugar.
Health benefits of brown rice
In addition to providing energy and basic nutrients, refined white rice does not have any health benefits. Fortified white rice does contain vitamin B, which is important for health. On the other hand, regular consumption of brown or whole wheat rice is good for health. Always compare tags when shopping.
Brown rice is a whole grain. Whole grains have a wide range of health benefits. According to the American Heart Association , whole grains can improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity . Brown rice contains many heart-healthy ingredients such as minerals, antioxidants, lignans and dietary fiber. Eating high-fiber rice instead of white rice may help lose weight while lowering cholesterol.
Healthy plant compounds
Brown rice contains several other plant compounds, and research shows that these compounds are beneficial to health. White rice is a bad source of antioxidants and other plant compounds. Pigmented rice, including red-grained varieties such as purple rice , is especially rich in antioxidants.
The bran of brown rice may be a good source of lignans and ferulic acid:
Lignans are antioxidants that have been studied to reduce the risk of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis, and breast cancer.
Ferulic acid is an effective antioxidant found in rice bran. Studies have shown that it has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects and may help prevent cancer and diabetes.
Vitamins and minerals
The nutritional value of rice depends on the variety and cooking method. Bran and germ contain high concentrations of vitamins and minerals. White rice does not contain bran or germ, and lacks these essential dietary nutrients. Concentration may add some vitamins to white rice. Be sure to read the label when shopping, because different brands may add different vitamins.
The following table shows the content of different nutrients in 100 grams of brown rice, white rice, and concentrated white rice comparison:
Fortified white rice
Manganese: Many foods, especially whole grains, contain this trace mineral. It is essential for metabolism, growth, development and the body's antioxidant system.
Niacin : Also known as vitamin B-3, the niacin in rice mainly exists in the form of niacin. Soaking rice in water before cooking may increase its absorption.
Thiamine : Also known as vitamin B-1, thiamine is essential for metabolism and the function of the heart, muscles and nervous system.
Selenium : A mineral that has many important functions on DNA, oxidative damage and hormones.
Magnesium : This mineral is essential for blood pressure , protein synthesis, energy, etc.
Rice also contains some pantothenic acid, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, copper and folic acid .
Rice is a safe staple food. However, eating rice regularly can be risky, especially when it accounts for a large portion of a person's daily food intake.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a common disease characterized by high blood sugar. According to a review in 2019 , white rice may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is because it has a high glycemic index score, which means it will cause a sharp spike in blood sugar after meals. Foods with a high glycemic index may increase the risk of diabetes.
In other words, the review concluded that the difference between brown rice and white rice is still inconclusive, and further research is needed on the dietary patterns characterized by rice.
On the other hand, brown rice-like other whole grains that contain fiber-may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
This difference between white rice and brown rice may be due to the type and amount of fiber and the difference in their glycemic index scores. It is important to note that excessive intake of carbohydrates from any source will increase blood sugar levels, so whether the rice is whole wheat or refined rice, it is important to control the serving size.
Eating fiber-rich whole grains instead of refined grains may have significant health benefits, including a reduced risk of diabetes.
Over time, heavy metals will accumulate in the body, which will adversely affect health. These include cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel and arsenic. Many studies report that the heavy metal content of rice from many countries exceeds the standard. This is a particular concern, because rice accounts for a large part of a person's diet. Bran contains a high concentration of heavy metals , which is why brown rice contains more heavy metals than white rice. Compared with other common food crops grown in contaminated areas, rice accumulates more mercury and arsenic. All grains easily absorb arsenic, but it seems to collect more in rice compared with wheat and barley. If possible, people should avoid eating rice grown near heavily polluted industrial and mining areas. This also applies to other food crops, such as vegetables.
Brown rice also contains an antioxidant called phytic acid or phytate. This is called an anti-nutrient because it prevents the body from absorbing essential minerals such as iron and zinc. Producers can reduce pass through soaking and germinating seeds and fermented rice before cooking to enhance the level of phytic acid.
to sum up
Rice is the staple food of the world. White rice is the most common, but brown rice may have more health benefits. As a good source of many healthy minerals and antioxidants, brown rice may help prevent heart disease. On the other hand, white rice—especially glutinous rice—provides less nutrition and may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Be sure to read the nutrition facts table and compare the nutrition facts, and purchase the fortified version of rice when it is available.