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Brown rice vs Rice - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Brown rice
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Rice

INTRODUCTION

Rice is a commonly consumed grain eaten by about more than half of world’s population. There are in excess of thousands of rice varieties, and it is considered to be the second highest-produced crop, just after corn. The origins of rice have caused to a long debate (1). A number of archaeologists demand that rice originated from India, opponents argue that rice evidence-based owes its origin to South-central China, both of theories may be dated back to about 5000 B.C. Nowadays rice has a special dedicated day among the New Year festivals in China. The most widely used types of rice today are brown and white. Brown rice is a whole grain, consists of carb-rich endosperm, nutritious germ and fibrous bran, removed only outer husk, and whereas white rice is refined, polished grain, removed bran and germ, losing by this way most of the vitamins and minerals. It is being adapted by a number of people that brown rice is better with its nutritional germ and bran, but then again, white rice is mainly artificially enriched by vitamins and minerals to make up the lack of them.

So which one is better and healthier? In order to find out the answer, let’s have a little comparison to reveal the pros and cons of each one.

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT COMPARISON

Before passing to the next question I would like to emphasize that all the comparative information in the charts below is outlined for cooked brown rice and cooked white rice, since we consume both of them in this state. As you can see in the data set out below white rice wins with lower sugars, sodium, saturated fat and price. On the other hand, brown rice is richer in choline and fiber.

VITAMINS COMPARISON

In terms of vitamins brown rice is the winner with particularly higher Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B2, slightly higher Vitamin E, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin K. By contrast, white rice is higher in Folic acid (Vitamin B9), which is absolutely missing in brown rice.

MINERALS COMPARISON

In the matter of minerals brown rice wins hands on again. As you can easily notice from the charts below brown rice is fairly higher in Magnesium and Phosphorus, slightly higher in Potassium, Copper and Zinc. White rice, on the other side, is higher in Iron and Calcium, lower in Sodium.

It is deducible that brown rice is medal-holder in nutritional content comparison. So there isn’t any misconception about the nutritional value of brown rice.

HEALTH IMPACT

Brown rice is higher in choline and fiber. Choline is an essential nutrient, which is neither a vitamin nor a mineral. It is important for liver function, lipid transport and metabolism, muscle movement, cell membrane signaling as a part of neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Choline is crucial for brain and memory development in the fetus, it decreases the risk of development of neural tube defects (2). Fiber contributes to a right function of gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, controls blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Brown rice is higher in Vitamins B2, B3, B6, which all together, as a part of “B vitamin complex”, convert carbohydrates into glucose ensuring by this way adequate energy levels, reduces blood cholesterol and triglycerides levels, prevent and treat some types of anemia, protects our eyesight, hair and skin, as an antioxidant prevent neurological diseases and different types of cancer. On the other hand, white rice is rich in Folic acid (Vitamin B9), which is crucial for a right formation of future parents’ germ cells, development of fetus brain, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. It reduces blood homocystein? levels, preventing in this manner formation of atherosclerotic plaques and damage of blood vessels.

According to the study published in January 2011 (3) consumption of brown rice in place of white rice may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. The authors estimated that replacing 50 grams/day intake of white rice with the same amount of brown rice had been associated with a 16% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Have you already made your choice? Slow down; be careful about brown rice overeating, because it also contains Antinutrients and Arsenic. The main antinutrient of brown rice is phytic acid or phytate. Phytate binds metal ions, especially Zinc, Calcium and Iron, making insoluble salts, which reduces their absorption from gastrointestinal tract. That is why excessive consumption of brown rice may lead to mineral deficiency. Alternatively, the ability of phytate to bind minerals has some protective effects, such as decreasing iron-mediated colon cancer risk, minimizing calcification and kidney stone formation, lowering blood cholesterol and glucose levels ( 4, 5).

According to the study published in February 2008 (6) that utilized synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence to locate Arsenic in white and brown rice grains, brown rice had a higher proportion of inorganic Arsenic than white rice. High concentrations of Arsenic increase the risks of cancer and heart coronary disease.

STORING AND PREPARATION TIME

White rice may have indefinite shelf life due to its specific processing, when it loses bran, containing huge amount of oils. Brown rice, by contrast, has a shorter shelf life. Owing to higher oil content, contained in bran, brown rice easily goes rancid after about 6 months. But don’t be upset, there are some options, which will help you to store brown rice for a longer period.

From the very start it is necessary to point out that both brown and white rice should be stored in clean, dry, airtight containers. These points are critical, because rice easily absorbs dirt, humidity and oxygen, which spoil rice. In these containers you can store white rice for up to 30 years in a cool dry place with oxygen absorbers in container. To prolong a shelf life of brown rice you may store it in refrigerator for up to 6-12 months and up to 12-18 months in freezer.

Preparation times of white and brown rice are different again. The cooking time of white rice is about 20 minutes, whereas brown rice’s cooking time is about 40 minutes. In this part white rice is obvious winner with longer shelf life and shorter preparation time.

SUMMARY

Thus, as shown above, brown rice is richer in fiber and choline in nutritional comparison than white rice. In vitamin content brown rice is title holder again, especially with Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B3, and except for Vitamin B9, that is higher in white rice. In term of minerals brown rice is richer again, particularly in Magnesium, Potassium and Phosphorus. Brown rice is higher in Phytic acid and Arsenic content, than white rice, due to the former’s preserved outer layers. Small amounts of phytate reduce the risk of some diseases associated with hyperabsorption of minerals, whereas significant amount can lead to the mineral deficiency and associated diseases. White rice has a longer shelf life and it takes shorter to cook. So, which one do you prefer?

1. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/rice/history-rice/debating-origins-rice
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15234930
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3024208/
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8777015
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19774556
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18351071

Infographic

Brown rice vs Rice infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
3
Rice
Contains more Potassium +145.7%
Contains more Magnesium +225%
Contains more Copper +53.6%
Contains more Zinc +44.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +139.5%
Contains more Iron +114.3%
Contains more Calcium +233.3%
Contains less Sodium -75%
Contains more Potassium +145.7%
Contains more Magnesium +225%
Contains more Copper +53.6%
Contains more Zinc +44.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +139.5%
Contains more Iron +114.3%
Contains more Calcium +233.3%
Contains less Sodium -75%

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
2
Rice
Contains more Vitamin E +325%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +430.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +73.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +32.3%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Contains more Folic acid (B9) +∞%
Equal in Vitamin B1 - 0.163
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.39
Contains more Vitamin E +325%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +430.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +73.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +32.3%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Contains more Folic acid (B9) +∞%
Equal in Vitamin B1 - 0.163
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.39

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

Summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfils human daily needs, the more the summary score is
Vitamin Summary Score
10
Brown rice
10
Rice
Mineral Summary Score
14
Brown rice
9
Rice

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Protein
16%
Brown rice
16%
Rice
Carbohydrates
26%
Brown rice
28%
Rice
Fats
4%
Brown rice
1%
Rice

Comparison summary table

Pay attention at the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Brown rice Rice
Lower in Sugars ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

Which food is preferable in case of diets?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Brown rice Rice
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sugars?
Rice
Rice contains less Sugars (difference - 0.19g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Rice
Rice contains less Sodium (difference - 3mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Rice
Rice is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.183g)
Which food is cheaper?
Rice
Rice is cheaper (difference - $1)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Brown rice
Brown rice is lower in glycemic index (difference - 6)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Brown rice
Brown rice is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Brown rice
Brown rice is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

In the column "Opinion" we made some assumptions which could be controversial. For instance we are assuming that less saturated fats is good for you. Please ignore this column if you have your own opinion.We marked the nutrients, comparison of which we considered as not meaningful, as "N/A"
Nutrient Brown rice Rice Opinion
Calories 123 130 Rice
Protein 2.74 2.69 Brown rice
Fats 0.97 0.28 Brown rice
Vitamin C 0 0
Carbs 25.58 28.17 Rice
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 0.56 1.2 Rice
Calcium 3 10 Rice
Potassium 86 35 Brown rice
Magnesium 39 12 Brown rice
Sugars 0.24 0.05 Brown rice
Fiber 1.6 0.4 Brown rice
Copper 0.106 0.069 Brown rice
Zinc 0.71 0.49 Brown rice
Starch 24.79 Brown rice
Phosphorus 103 43 Brown rice
Sodium 4 1 Rice
Vitamin A 0 0
Vitamin E 0.17 0.04 Brown rice
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.178 0.163 Brown rice
Vitamin B2 0.069 0.013 Brown rice
Vitamin B3 2.561 1.476 Brown rice
Vitamin B5 0.38 0.39 Rice
Vitamin B6 0.123 0.093 Brown rice
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 0.2 0 Brown rice
Folic acid (B9) 0 55 Rice
Trans Fat 0 Rice
Saturated Fat 0.26 0.077 Rice
Monounsaturated Fat 0.369 0.088 Brown rice
Polyunsaturated fat 0.366 0.076 Brown rice
Tryptophan 0.033 0.031 Brown rice
Threonine 0.095 0.096 Rice
Isoleucine 0.109 0.116 Rice
Leucine 0.214 0.222 Rice
Lysine 0.099 0.097 Brown rice
Methionine 0.058 0.063 Rice
Phenylalanine 0.133 0.144 Rice
Valine 0.151 0.164 Rice
Histidine 0.066 0.063 Brown rice
The main source of information is USDA Food Composition Database (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Dietary Guidelines for Americans is used as the primary source for advice in this web resource
Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.