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Rice vs Millet - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Rice
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Millet

Introduction

Millet is a type of crop that was harvested since the beginning of agricultural societies. It originates from the tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The plant has a particular property that allows this plant to grow in arid regions, contrary to rice which needs wet soil. This provides arid regions that water isn’t highly accessible to have grain-based foods in their diets. African countries are the highest consumers of millet. Multiple types of millets are harvested nowadays. Each having different properties in cooking and preparations. Millet is used as a breakfast ingredient for pudding, an alternative to rice in pilaf preparation next to stir fry vegetables or proteins. They are also used in baking and alcohol drink preparations.

On the other hand, Rice is a grain that comes in a variety of sizes, forms, and colors. We'll be talking about long, white, normal, enriched rice in this article. It is important to remember that draining the rice and discarding the boiled water is not recommended when using enriched rice. A lot of the enriched elements are washed away with the drained water. Rice was first harvested in China nearly 9000 years ago. Rice is now the third most harvested agricultural commodity, after sugarcane and maize. This data demonstrates how dependent the planet is on rice. It is now used in a variety of culinary cultures around the world, including Asian cuisine, Arab cuisine, Eurasian cuisine, Mexican cuisine, and so on.

In this article, we are going to compare the difference between millet and rice focusing on their difference based on nutritional content, weight loss and diets, and health impacts. 

Nutritional data comparison

Glycemic index

Millet has a higher glycemic index compared to rice. Millet is classified as a high glycemic index food with a GI of 71. Whereas, rice is classified as a medium glycemic index with a GI of 60.

Calories

Millet is 3 times higher in calories compared to rice. 100g of millet has 378 calories compared to 100g of rice which contains 130 calories. The difference in calories is remarkable and has to be taken into consideration. 

Carbohydrates

Millet is composed of 2.5 more carbohydrates compared to rice. Millet contains 73g of carbohydrates which fills 24% of the daily recommended value. On the other hand, rice contains 28g of carbohydrates which fills 9% of the daily recommended value. When it comes to comparing the fiber content of each food, millet has a richer fiber content compared to rice. Millet fulfills 36% of the daily recommended value whereas rice contains negligible amounts of fibers. 

Fats

Rice has negligible amounts of fats. Millet is relatively higher in fats. Millet contains 4g of fats, 6% of the RDV.

Protein

Millet is richer in protein than rice. Millet contains 11g of protein compared to rice which contains 2.7g. 

Mineral 

In this section, the comparison is based on 300g of each food.

Millet is richer in phosphorus, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc. The amounts of copper, phosphorus, and iron satisfy and surpass the daily requirement of these minerals. Thus we can conclude that millet is packed with minerals.

Vitamins

Millet has a richer vitamin profile compared to rice. Millet is richer in vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate. All of these satisfy at least 50% of the daily requirement of vitamins. 

Diet and weight loss

Millet is higher in calories and higher in carbs however they are also rich in fibers which promote a healthy gastrointestinal tract and feeling satiated for longer. They are usually part of weight loss diet regimens as an alternative filler food than rice because they are richer in fibers, vitamins, and minerals. 

Rice, associated with a well-balanced meal, will help you lose weight if you're on a calorie-restricted diet or encourage a well-balanced diet. This works because eating rice makes you feel fuller than eating the actual meal. Rice is widely eaten in Asian cuisines, but it is associated with nutritious meals and thus promotes good health.

Vegan

Vegans are allowed to eat rice and millet without restriction.

Vegans may use rice milk as an alternative to dairy milk. Rice milk is sweeter than other non-dairy milk and is also fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Millet milk is vegan alternative milk that has several advantages, including reducing bloating, ingestion, and gas. 

Keto

Both millet and rice are excluded from the keto diet due to their high carbohydrate content. 

Millet also is categorized as a high glycemic index food, causing a spike in blood insulin levels. 

Rice diet

The rice diet is a calorie-restricted weight-loss plan. At first, the daily calorie intake is set at 800. (which is also called the detox period).

The calorie count is then increased to 1000 a day before the desired weight is achieved. This diet allows for the consumption of grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Experts, however, argue that this diet is not as healthy as it appears; it emphasizes a high carbohydrate intake with a medium glycemic index. Furthermore, protein, fat, and other vitamins are not eaten, which may result in malnutrition if achieved for a long period (weeks). As a result, the rice diet is not suitable for long-term consumption.

It's important to remember that in a standard healthy diet, the minimum calorie intake is 1600.

This diet is not recommended in the long term for people who are involved in their daily lives, such as work or exercise, and want to lose weight. Since it is a low-fat, low-sodium diet, it is effective in hypertensive patients. However,  nowadays drugs are available to treat hypertension.

Health impacts

Gluten intolerance and celiac disease

Millet and rice can be consumed in gluten intolerance and celiac disease because they do not contain any gluten.

Cardiovascular health

Millet contains phytochemicals that have protective characteristics against cardiovascular diseases and the property of controlling serum lipid levels. (1) 

It's important to note that moderate consumption of white rice has no connection to the development of cardiovascular disease. (2) 

Diabetes

Millet contains tannins that have anti-obesity properties in turn reducing risks of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. (3) 

Gut microflora

Millet consumption has a beneficial impact on gut microflora, owing to its high fiber content, which has several benefits for optimal health. (4)

Cancer

There is no relation between rice consumption and the development of cancer. (5)

Research shows that the phytonutrients and antioxidants present in millet have anti-carcinogenic properties. (6) 

Downsides

Cardiovascular health

According to this study, there was no relation between rice consumption and the development of cardiovascular disease. It does, however, imply that there is a chance of developing metabolic syndrome. If left unchecked, this can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Obesity is one of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome.  (7)

 Diabetes

According to a study, there is a relation between white rice consumption and the development of type 2 diabetes. (8) 

Summary

Millet is rich in fiber, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate. They are a better alternative when it comes to diets. Millet is cheaper than rice.Rice has a lower glycemic index. Millet is a better option for overall health.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24771583/ 
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25527760/ 
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15184005/ 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4616929/ 
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26219234/ 
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15184005/ 
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29467837/ 
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22422873/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Profession: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: May 12, 2021

Infographic

Rice vs Millet 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
Rice
2
:
6
Millet
Contains more Calcium +25%
Contains less Sodium -80%
Contains more Iron +150.8%
Contains more Potassium +457.1%
Contains more Magnesium +850%
Contains more Copper +987%
Contains more Zinc +242.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +562.8%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 45% 3% 4% 9% 24% 14% 19% 1%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 113% 3% 18% 82% 250% 46% 123% 1%
Contains more Calcium +25%
Contains less Sodium -80%
Contains more Iron +150.8%
Contains more Potassium +457.1%
Contains more Magnesium +850%
Contains more Copper +987%
Contains more Zinc +242.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +562.8%

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
Rice
0
:
8
Millet
Contains more Vitamin E +25%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +158.3%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +2130.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +219.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +117.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +312.9%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Contains more Folate +46.6%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 0% 1% 0% 41% 3% 28% 24% 22% 0% 0% 44%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 0% 1% 0% 106% 67% 89% 51% 89% 0% 3% 64%
Contains more Vitamin E +25%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +158.3%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +2130.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +219.8%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +117.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +312.9%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Contains more Folate +46.6%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
13
Rice
39
Millet
Mineral Summary Score
14
Rice
79
Millet

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 food.
Protein
16%
Rice
66%
Millet
Carbohydrates
28%
Rice
73%
Millet
Fats
1%
Rice
19%
Millet

Comparison summary table

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

Which food is preferable for your diet?

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

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Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Rice
Rice contains less Sodium (difference - 4mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Rice
Rice is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.646g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Rice
Rice is lower in glycemic index (difference - 11)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Millet
Millet is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.05g)
Which food is cheaper?
Millet
Millet is cheaper (difference - $0.4)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Millet
Millet is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Millet
Millet 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

Nutrient Rice Millet Opinion
Calories 130 378 Millet
Protein 2.69 11.02 Millet
Fats 0.28 4.22 Millet
Vitamin C 0 0
Carbs 28.17 72.85 Millet
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 1.2 3.01 Millet
Calcium 10 8 Rice
Potassium 35 195 Millet
Magnesium 12 114 Millet
Sugar 0.05 Millet
Fiber 0.4 8.5 Millet
Copper 0.069 0.75 Millet
Zinc 0.49 1.68 Millet
Starch
Phosphorus 43 285 Millet
Sodium 1 5 Rice
Vitamin A 0 0
Vitamin E 0.04 0.05 Millet
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.163 0.421 Millet
Vitamin B2 0.013 0.29 Millet
Vitamin B3 1.476 4.72 Millet
Vitamin B5 0.39 0.848 Millet
Vitamin B6 0.093 0.384 Millet
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 0 0.9 Millet
Folate 58 85 Millet
Trans Fat
Saturated Fat 0.077 0.723 Rice
Monounsaturated Fat 0.088 0.773 Millet
Polyunsaturated fat 0.076 2.134 Millet
Tryptophan 0.031 0.119 Millet
Threonine 0.096 0.353 Millet
Isoleucine 0.116 0.465 Millet
Leucine 0.222 1.4 Millet
Lysine 0.097 0.212 Millet
Methionine 0.063 0.221 Millet
Phenylalanine 0.144 0.58 Millet
Valine 0.164 0.578 Millet
Histidine 0.063 0.236 Millet
Fructose

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Rice - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168878/nutrients
  2. Millet - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169702/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.