In America wheat is consumed 10 times more often than rice but today I woke up with this question on my mind; what is the difference between white rice, brown rice, and red rice?
A lot of our favorite meals contain rice – often lots of it. Good examples include Indian curries, Spanish paella, Italian risotto, and Asian stir-fries. Each one uses a slightly different type of rice, but they are all variations of white rice.
For those of you who enjoy rice, this article will help you understand why white rice is refined and what you get in terms of nutrition value from different types of rice.
Whole Grain vs Refined Grain
Brown rice is a whole grain with the inedible outer hull removed. The hull, also known as the husk, doesn’t provide any nutritional value and it’s only purpose is to protect the rice grain. Rice hulls are used as a building material, fertilizer, insulation material or fuel.
So, brown rice is a whole grain and white rice is a refined grain. Let me explain what this means…
Whole grain means the hull wasn’t removed and that no part of the grain has been refined.
Brown rice contains two very important parts, which are removed when it’s refined into white rice:
Bran – is the outer part of the grain of rice. Rich in dietary fiber and essential fatty acids, it also contains protein, vitamins, and dietary minerals.
Cereal germ – this is the reproductive part of the grain. It’s rich in polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and protein.
These two parts are removed in white rice which removes all the nutrients mentioned above: vitamins, fiber and protein.
White rice is basically only the endosperm, the inside part of the rice seed. That’s why white rice has virtually no nutritional value and no fiber. Learn the importance of fiber in my article We Need Fiber.
Why Bran and the Germ is Removed from White rice?
- Longer shelf life (more profitable for food companies): White rice has an expiration date of 4 to 5 years while brown rice only lasts for 6 to 8 months.
- Faster to cook: White rice takes around 18 minutes to cook, while brown rice takes 45 to 60 minutes.
- Faster to eat and digest so you can eat more in less time: Brown rice contains fiber and one of the many benefits of fiber is that it slows down digestion. This means it fills you up faster and for longer, preventing overeating in the process. White rice doesn’t contain any fiber, so you digest it faster and feel hungry sooner.
White Rice is Also Polished
To get that white shinny color, rice is processed using rice polishers. These are machines that use chalk or other abrasive dusts to make the rice look whiter. This removes every trace of fiber.
Brown Rice Nutrition
Cooking time: 45 min to 1 hour.
- High in fiber: Fiber is very important for your digestive health. Learn why and how to add more fiber to your diet here.
- Low in sugar: Looking to cut down on carbs? Brown rice is a perfect alternative for white rice.
- Fats: Brown rice contains a good mix of healthy fats.
- Nutrition: It’s also rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Protein: Essential for muscle growth, repair, and fat burning.
- Low Fat: Brown rice germ contains a nice mix of good fats.
Wild Rice is not milled so, like brown rice, it contains both the bran and germ.
It also takes around 45 minutes to one hour to be cooked.
Wild rice contains twice as much protein as brown rice, ten-times more potassium, more sugar but also more fiber. Just like brown rice, it’s perfect for those suffering from diabetes, anyone following a low carb diet or those who want to eat less sugar.
Do you feel like you have too much sugar in your diet? Join my 20 No Sugar Days challenge and enjoy a life without sugar. You’ll lose weight, have more energy, and your mood will improve.
Is Brown Rice a Good Choice for Weight Loss?
Yes! Brown rice is high in fiber and low in sugar which makes it a very healthy choice that will help you to lose weight.
White rice is not a good choice for those looking to lose weight because it contains no fiber and very few nutrients. You’ll soon feel hungry again after eating it.
Instead, brown rice is high in fiber so it takes longer to digest, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. It’s also got more of the nutrients you need to be healthy.
Is Brown Rice a Good Choice on a Low Carb Diet?
Yes! White rice is not a good choice during a low carb diet and is often labeled as a bad carb. As well as being high in carbs and sugar, it doesn’t provide many beneficial nutrients.
Brown rice contains almost the same number of calories as white rice, but that’s not what makes a good or a bad carb. A calorie is not a calorie, and not all calories are the same. 47 calories from an orange are very different from 47 calories from an Oreo cookie!
Brown rice contains five times more fiber than white rice, plus it also contains potassium, protein, good fats, and other healthy nutrients. Fiber plays a very important role in weight loss because it slows down the rate at which carbs are digested, contributing to lower blood sugar and insulin levels.
Brown rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice. Brown rice has a score (0 to 100) of 50, while white rice scores 89. Because of this, brown rice raises blood sugar levels much less, meaning less insulin is produced and less fat is generated.
When your blood sugar raises, insulin takes the sugar out of the blood and converts it into fat to store it under the skin. That’s why a diet high in added sugar (soft drinks, cookies, candies and most processed food) is actually a high fat diet. Learn more about How Added Sugar is Converted into fat in our bodies in my video here.
Fruit contains sugar, but also contains fiber, just like brown rice. The sugars in fruit are absorbed slowly and without raising blood sugar levels. Natural fructose found in fruit is different from the artificial fructose added to soft drinks. They only share the same name; that’s it!
In nature every food that has sugar always contains fiber. Sugar cane, the source that companies use to produce refined sugar, is high in sugar but also high in fiber and contains other important nutrients.
Per capita consumption of cereals by commodity type, daily kilocalories, United States by ourworldindata.com