18

Vegkitchen.com say:

Brown rice is better for you than white

On the other side:

ancestral-nutrition.com say:

White Rice Is Healthier Than Brown Rice

My wife tells me that there is a very large, quantifiable difference between the the two. But looking at the nutrition information on the bag, there is minimal difference; I say they are about the same.

I am confused now, which one is healthier?

11

The USA Rice Federation provided a comparison table for many types of rice: USA Rice Federation table

The information in this table was taken from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2002. USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15 (August, 2002).

For the measure of 46.25 grams grams of brown and white long-grain cooked rice, you can conclude from the table that:

  • Brown rice is 2.7x richer in dietary fiber than white rice.
  • White rice has almost same number of carbohydrates with brown rice (negligible).
  • The number of calories is almost the same
  • For minerals, the brown rice is richer than white rice.

Now, as you see, brown rice and white rice have similar amounts of calories and carbohydrates, so there might not be a huge difference after all, right? Not really, the main differences between the two forms of rice lie in processing and nutritional content, researched by a Wikipedia page:

When only the outermost layer of a grain of rice (the husk) is removed, brown rice is produced. To produce white rice, the next layers underneath the husk (the bran layer and the germ) are removed, leaving mostly the starchy endosperm.

Several vitamins and dietary minerals are lost in this removal and the subsequent polishing process. A part of these missing nutrients, such as vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and iron.

Sometimes, they are added back into the white rice making it "enriched", as food suppliers in the US are required to do so by the Food and Drug Administration.

One mineral not added back into white rice is magnesium; one cup (195 g) of cooked long grain brown rice contains 84 mg of magnesium while one cup of white rice contains 19 mg.

When the bran layer is removed to make white rice, the oil in the bran is also removed. Rice bran oil may help lower LDL cholesterol.

Additionally, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported that eating two or more servings of brown rice weekly seems to be associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They also report that eating five or more servings of white rice per week is associated with an increased risk.

The scientists examined rice consumption and diabetes risk in 39,765 men and 157,463 women in three large studies. They analyzed responses to questionnaires completed every four years about diet, lifestyle, and health conditions.

  • 1
    The results quoted from the Harvard study aren't comparing the same things. What is the effect of eating five or more servings of brown rice? How about the effect of eating two or more but fewer than five servings of white rice? – iamnotmaynard Mar 30 '15 at 14:38
  • Unfortunately, Google does us all a disservice with those infographics, because they do not contain a source, and almost certainly have been automatically generated and not been vetted by experts. They are also unversioned, so they could change over time (or even based on your search history). I do not think they are good sources for reliable data. (More accurately, we have no way of knowing if they are from good sources of reliable data.) – Oddthinking Mar 30 '15 at 23:39
  • 1
    @Oddthinking: np. – George Chalhoub Mar 30 '15 at 23:49
  • 1
    @Oddthinking I suspect it's the USDA database: ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list?qlookup=20445 – ChrisW Mar 31 '15 at 0:21
  • Even though it is wiki: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beriberi : Historically, beriberi has been endemic in regions dependent on what is variously referred to as polished, white, or de-husked rice. This type of rice has its husk removed in order to extend its shelf life, but also has the unintended side-effect of removing the primary source of thiamine – Lyrion Mar 31 '15 at 7:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .