Brown Vs White Rice

Brown Vs White Rice

Author -  Kate Morland, Nutritionist

Ever wondered what exactly is the difference between brown and white rice? Surely they can’t be that different! Well actually if they went into the boxing ring, brown rice would come out on tops as being nutritionally superior. But there are always two sides to the story!

Entering the boxing ring is Rice A sporting their brown shorts, and Rice B wearing their shiny white outfit. Although they look similar in build we take a closer look at their profile.

The main difference we see is in their milling process. While brown rice remains untouched with all its clothes on, the outer layers including the bran and germ are removed from white rice to make it beautifully shiny. This milling process for white rice comes at a nutritional cost.

The following chart shows the major nutritional differences between white rice and brown rice. As can be seen, there is a clear difference in mineral, vitamin and fibre content. 

  Brown Rice
(one cup boiled)

White Rice, polished
(one cup boiled)
Dietary Fibre  3.7g 1.3 g
Thiamin (B1) 0.29 mg Trace
Niacin (B3) 3.9 mg 1.1 mg
Vitamin B6 0.38 mg 0.03 mg
Folate 21 mcg 4 mcg
Selenium 4.7mg Trace

But there are always two sides to every story!

There are over 40,000 varieties of rice! White rice is still an excellent food choice being so versatile and simple to prepare. It is a great source of energy, carbohydrate and essential vitamins and minerals. Plus rice is perfect for anyone following a gluten or wheat free diet.

Certain varieties of white rice have a Low GI (which means when eaten they will only cause small to medium fluctuations in blood sugar levels) and therefore are appropriate for maintaining healthy weight and managing diabetes. These varieties include:

  • Long grain
  • Parboiled white rice
  • Basmati
  • Doongara

So the take-home message is that although brown rice has its nutritious layers intact and should be your first port of call, white rice has an important place in a balanced eating pattern!