Brown Rice: Is It Healthier Than White Rice?

After a long day at work, you need a quick meal to complement your main course. However, you find two bags of rice already open in the cabinet: white rice and brown rice.

The difference between brown and white rice has become taboo over the years, but dietitians explain why you should choose brown rice over white rice. What’s your choice?

Difference Between Brown Rice and White Rice

Catherine Perez, M.S., R.D., registered dietitian, explains that the main difference between the two is that brown rice is a whole grain. “Whole grains maintain both their bran and germ, while processed grains usually have this coating removed.”

A professional chef, Tessa Nguyen, MEd, R.D. LDN, explains that white rice is more convenient to cook and takes less time than brown rice. Brown rice is heartier and slightly chewy, while white rice tends to be softer and fluffier.

According to Nguyen, dietetics training and many diet-related conversations have characterized white rice as “bad” food.

While white rice is a staple of many communities of color, it has received much judgment from “a foundation in racism and whiteness because brown rice is seen as an elite choice for nutrition and readily available in affluent areas.”

Brown Rice Benefits

Perez says brown rice can provide more fiber, vitamins, and minerals (like iron) than white rice since it is a complex carbohydrate. It can also improve satiety or fullness after a meal. In addition, whole bran and germ provide antioxidants.

White Rice Benefits

Perez says white rice still provides energy and nutrients if enriched. Some brands may remineralize processed grains.

In addition, white rice has many other benefits. Perez adds, “One of the most important benefits of white rice is that it is integrated into many cultural cuisines.”

Which Rice Is Healthier, White Or Brown?

The bottom line is that both brown and white rice have their benefits. It’s all about choosing what you like to eat and ensuring all elements of your plate meet your nutritional goals.

Since white rice is rarely consumed on its own, and you can pack in a lot of nutrients with the other ingredients, Perez says rice doesn’t matter much.