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Brown Rice Vs White Rice: Which Is The Healthier Option?

Rice, a staple food of the Indian cuisine, can perform wonders when it comes to your overall health. Rice comes in several colours, shapes and sizes, and the most popular ones are white rice and brown rice.

White rice is the most commonly consumed type, according to numbers, but brown rice is widely recognized as the healthier option - hinting at the rising popularity of the variety.

Is there any difference between white rice and brown rice? Brown rice and white rice, both are excellent sources of starch. In spite of the same benefits of both the types of rice, brown rice is considered to be superior to white rice in certain ways. Let's take a look at the health benefits these two different types of rice varieties possess.

We will be looking at the prime differences between brown rice and white rice, and the way it impact health conditions and your overall health.


Brown Rice Vs White Rice

Brown rice is a type of whole grain rice and is way more nutritious than white rice. Unlike white rice, the bran is retained and hence brown rice is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. The only stark difference that arises between white and brown rice is the way they are prepared before they hit the market

White rice is devoid of all its nutrients due to its innumerable process of milling. This milled rice is also polished before it heads to the market. Apart from removing the husk and bran, the essential nutrients are also stripped off in this process [2].


1. Glycemic Index

Glycemic Index is the most vital index which classifies a food item based on how quickly it will raise the blood sugar in the body. The higher the GI, the faster the food will get digested and vice versa.

Consuming foods with low GI is excellent for losing weight, curbing hunger issues, preventing heart diseases, etc. According to reports, it is said that white rice has a higher GI as compared to brown rice. However, the GI further differs according to the variety of rice a person eats [3].

Note: The GI of basmati rice is different from jasmine rice or long-grain rice [4].


2. Calorie Content

The calorie content of the food is the second most important component which helps decide the benefits the food has on your human body [5]. Brown rice generally contains slightly higher calories per serving than white rice [6][7].

Brown rice also has more calories, more carbs, and more fat than white rice. Being a whole grain, consuming brown rice will not contribute to sudden weight gain.


3. Fibre Content

When it comes to healthy fibre content, brown rice has a big advantage [8]. Brown rice has more fibre and antioxidants, as well as has a lot more important vitamins and minerals [9]. 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cooked brown rice provides 1.8 grams of fibre, whereas 100 grams of white rice provides only 0.4 grams of fibre [10].


4. Arsenic Content

Arsenic is a chemical element found in nearly all foods and drinks but is usually only found in small amounts, and in large quantities can be toxic to your body [11]. It can increase your risk of chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes [12][13].

Brown rice tends to be higher in arsenic than white rice. But, this should not be a problem if you eat rice in moderation as part of a varied diet [14][15].


5. Weight Management

Studies support the claim that eating brown rice instead of white may also significantly help reduce weight, body mass index (BMI) and circumference of the waist and hips [16]. Brown rice is the best option for assisting weight loss due to its low energy density [17].


6. Risk Of Diabetes

Brown rice is extremely high in magnesium and fibre which helps to control blood sugar levels in the body. According to recent studies, it is said that consuming brown rice reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes [18].

Replacing your white rice with brown rice can help to lower the level of sugar in the body and also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes [19]. Brown rice has a GI of 50 and white rice has a GI of 89, meaning that white rice increases blood sugar levels much faster than brown rice.


7. Risk Of Heart Disease

Due to lignans found in brown rice, it helps to protect a person's heart against diseases [20]. Lignans have been shown to reduce the amount of fat in the blood, lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation in the arteries [21].

Consuming brown rice rather than white rice can help to reduce the heart-related risks easily. Brown rice also contains high levels of good cholesterol [22].


So, Which One Is The Better Option?

If you are just interested in filling your tummy from time to time without bothering about the increasing waistline, then white rice is for you. But, the amount of rice that you eat is directly proportional to your calorie intake, hence you have to keep a tab on the amount you consume. Therefore, exercising is mandatory to burn those extra calories that white rice gifts you.

Brown rice is a heart-healthy food and also protects you against various diseases and ailments like cancer and diabetes. It is also enriched with anti-inflammatory properties. This type of rice is also beneficial for your weight loss journey, as it will not only assist in losing weight but will also help maintain a healthy weight.

There, it can be pointed out that brown rice is generally more nutritious than white rice. It's higher in fibre, magnesium, and other nutrients, and is not artificially enriched with nutrients like white rice is. However, either type of rice can be part of a healthy diet and there is nothing wrong with eating some white rice now and then.

Note: If you'd like to add rice to your diet but aren't sure, talk to your dietitian.

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