Brown vs white rice, which one is better for your health?

which one is best for your health
(Image: © Louis Hansel/unsplash)

Rice is a multi-used grain consumed by people around the world. For decades, more than 100 countries in South Asia or Africa cultivated different varieties of rice.
In accordance with the food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, rice represents about 19% of all calories available in the world.
Below we are going to learn more about the different nutritional facts between brown and white rice, and which one is the healthiest, in addition to the possible risks.

1. Summary of nutritional facts

Depending on the USDA National Nutrient Database, the nutritional value of 1 cup of cooked long-grain white rice, contains:
– 205 calories (kcal)
– 4.25 g of protein
– 0.44 g of fat
– 44.51 grams of carbohydrates
– 0.6 g of the fiber content

Instead, the USDA National Nutrient Database indicates that the nutritional value of 1 cup of cooked long-grain brown rice provides:
– 248 calories
– 5.53 grams of protein
– 1.96 g fat
– 51.67 grams of carbohydrates
– 3.2 grams of the fiber content

The table below, compares daily values of vitamins and minerals in one cup of cooked white or brown long-grain rice, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

Food and Drug Administration

2.The nutritional difference between brown and white rice

The white rice is the brown rice which lost bran and seed. As a result, white rice is poor in some antioxidants, vitamin B, minerals, fats and fiber content, and a small amount of protein.
Varieties of white rice are good enough to replace nutrients lost during processing. In the United States, manufacturers add B vitamins, such as thiamine, niacin, folic acid, as well as iron.
As shown in the above table, brown rice contains higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than white rice, except for iron and folate, and it includes the same amount of selenium.
Rice is gentle on the digestive system.
Both brown and white rice are gluten-free by nature.
Cooling the cooked rice leads to higher levels of fiber called starch resistance. This form of fiber may help promote bowel health, knowing that brown rice is rich with fiber content.

3. Which rice is the best

In some cases, one of the two types of rice may have more benefit;
Folate acid: Pregnant women, or those eligible to become pregnant or breastfeeding, need to increase folic acid levels.
Getting enough folic acid can help reduce the risk of some birth defects, especially neural tube defects.
Aside from the folic acid found naturally in foods, we recommend it for women who wish to become pregnant to get 400 (micrograms) of folic acid daily.
Since white rice is rich in folic acid, it can be a better option for people with excess folic acid needs or those at risk of not meeting their folic acid needs.

Kidney disease

Brown rice contains more phosphorous and potassium than white rice, thus people who suffer from kidney disease should limit their intake of brown rice because of its content of all these nutrients, and they have to pay attention to them in their diet.

A low-fiber diet

We recommend following a low-fiber diet in some cases that include the intestine (such as obstruction, diarrhea), and after surgeries on the stomach or intestine.

White rice contains less fiber rather than brown rice, which is a big source of fiber, so it may be a better option when a low-fiber diet is needed.
However, the proportion of the fibers in brown rice is relatively low, so either one can be reliable.

High-fiber diet

By contrast, although brown rice is slightly higher in fiber content than white rice, it may be a better option when a person needs to follow a high-fiber diet.
Fiber can help boost healthy cholesterol levels, moderate diet, manage weight, and relieve constipation.

Better Nutrition

Since brown rice contains bran and seed, it contains many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and this makes it the ideal choice for those looking to improve their level of nutrition thoroughly.

4. Possible risks and considerations

4.1.Poisons

Concerns have recently arisen about the amount of arsenic present in rice as it varies according to the type of rice, as well as the soil and where it was grown.
Since rice bran contains arsenic, brown rice contains more arsenic than white rice.
Concerns also appeared about cadmium, mercury, and lead in rice.
However, according to an article, there isn’t much research confirming that toxic elements of rice alone cause harm to people.
In contrast, a 2017 study found an eventual relationship between people who eat rice and a higher incidence of skin cancer.
The FDA recommends that adults and children follow a healthy diet that includes a variety of grains, and eating different types of grains is one way to reduce exposure to arsenic in rice.

Diabetes risk

A review of studies examined the relationship between eating white rice and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found that eating white rice was associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, especially among Asian people.
The researchers also found that the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes increases by 11% for each meal of white rice consumed every day.
Another health study compared white rice with brown rice, about type 2 diabetes.
The study also found that consuming white rice was more associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In contrast, eating more brown rice is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Studies have also shown, people who are fed two times or more with brown rice every week are less concerned by the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 11% of people who eat the least amount of brown rice.
The researchers concluded that replacing white rice with brown rice can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Some of the beneficial effects of brown rice maybe because it contains higher amounts of insoluble fiber and magnesium.

5. Health benefits

According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the addition of 30 g portion of whole grain (brown rice is a whole grain) leads to a 5% reduction in the risk of mortality and a 9% reduction in deaths related to cardiovascular disease.
Generally speaking, brown rice looks to be the healthiest option than white rice. However, there may be some situations where white rice is the best option. Both types of rice can fit a healthy diet.
While brown rice is rich in fiber content than white rice, it carries less fiber than many other whole grains. This may be good for those who want to add more whole grains to their diet, which does not contain much fiber.
The fiber intake should gradually increase with adequate fluid intake, which can help prevent symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, and bloating.

6. Conclusion

So white rice or brown rice? After reading this article and considering the nutritional health benefits of brown rice compared to white rice, it is a good idea to consider adding brown rice to your diet to make it healthier. You can even think of completely replacing white rice with brown rice for healthy eating. This nutritional vigilance will always be better accompanied by regular physical practice!

Originally published on Live Positively.