Brown rice is “whole grain” rice, where only the outer husk of the rice is removed by milling. White rice undergoes further milling, removing the bran and much of the germ of the rice. This means white rice has less fiber and fewer nutrients than brown rice but it also has a longer shelf life compared with brown rice.
Nutrition in Brown vs. White Rice
Brown rice has twice the amount of manganese and phosphorus, 2.5 times the iron, 3 times the vitamin B3, 4 times the vitamin B1 and 10 times the vitamin B6 than white rice. It also has higher fiber.
However, the protein in white rice is more easily accessed by the body. This makes it preferable for weak and convalescent people, and its lack of fiber makes white rice preferable for people with weak digestive systems.
Both types of rice have similar amounts of calories and carbohydrates. There are 370 kcal in 100g of brown rice and 356kcal in 100g of raw white rice.
Health Benefits of Brown Rice
Brown rice offers many health benefits, as it contains many nutrients and vitamins that are lost in white rice. The phytic acid in brown rice can prevent the absorption of minerals in the small intestine. The fiber and selenium in brown rice reduces the risk of colon cancer. Brown rice is also believed to improve cardiovascular health for postmenopausal women.
One cup of brown rice provides up to 88% of the daily value for manganese. Manganese is a mineral that helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates. It also has benefits as an antioxidant.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and conducted jointly by Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital found that women who eat whole grains such as brown rice weigh less than those who eat refined-grain foods such as white rice. Their research also found that women who consume most of their dietary fiber from whole grains were 49% less likely to gain weight compared to those eating foods made from refined grains.
The oil in brown rice has been found to lower LDL (bad cholesterol).
White rice is preferable for body builders, because nutrients in white rice enter the blood stream at a faster rate, causing an increase in insulin and so making it the food of choice for post-workout meals.
Price of White vs Brown Rice
White rice costs approximately $2.50 for a 32 ounce bag, while brown rice costs $2.75 for a 16 ounce bag. 13 of the top 20 items on Amazon's best seller's list for rice are white rice. The price varies depending upon whether the rice is organic, Basmati, gluten-free or other premium kind.
Brown rice has a much shorter shelf life than white rice; so it is harder to transport and can be harder to find. Most restaurants only offer white rice. However, many supermarkets and health food stores stock both white and brown rice.
Brown rice is typically unpopular in East and South Asian countries because these cultures tend to associate brown rice with poverty and wartime. It has seen a rise in popularity in the West because of its health benefits, but brown rice is still far less common than white rice.
Brown Basmati Rice
Basmati rice is popular in Indian cooking. The grains are longer and thinner, and it is more nutrient-rich than regular brown rice. However, brown basmati rice can be more expensive and harder to find than regular brown rice, or than white basmati rice. Brown basmati rice is lighter, more delicate and has more flavor than regular brown rice.