White or Brown Rice: Which One is Best?

Let me tell you straightaway; brown rice is better. Surely, you have ever wondered what are the differences between white rice and brown rice or which one is better to include in your daily diet.

Don’t panic! In this blog you’ll learn about some characteristics of rice, what are the differences between brown and white rice and why brown rice is better. Without further ado, stay tuned for this content to answer all your questions.

The basics: Characteristics of rice 

The scientific name of rice is Oryza Sativa L. and it originated in South Asia. It grows in tropical and subtropical regions of each continent. Generally, there are three types of rice: white, brown and parboiled. They are also classified by grain size, as there are short or round, medium or semi-long, and long grains of rice.

Millions of people consume rice, it is said that 2/3 of the world’s population consumes this cereal as part of their main diet. Surprising – isn’t it? Moreover, rice plays a major role in Asian culture, as it is consumed in all the main meals of the day, for example, in China rice is the 2nd of the 10 most produced raw materials in the country.

If you feel curious about this cereal, we invite you to visit our complete guide to rice to learn more about its characteristics.

Are white rice and brown rice the same? 

No, they are two different types of rice. In order for you to understand the difference between these two types, we’ll first explain the parts of the rice grain. Then you will understand the differences easily.

Parts of the grain of rice

The rice grain is composed of 4 main parts:

The husk

Known as the hull or husk, this is the part that covers the grain when it is on the plant and protects it from sunlight or germs. The rice with this husk cannot be eaten.

The bran

This part is a type of external “skin” found under the husk, it has several layers and in this case it is edible. In fact, this part of rice and cereals is quite nutritious as it contains proteins, minerals, vitamins, fats, and fiber, among others.

The endosperm

This part is found in the middle and constitutes the majority of the grain. The endosperm fulfills an important function since it gives energy to the plant to grow, and it is also edible.

The germ

It is the smallest part of the grain and is found in the innermost part of the grain. It is also edible.

Differences between white rice and brown rice 

Now, white rice is distinguished by being a refined grain, what does this mean? Let me explain, when this type of rice is processed, first the husk that protects it in the plant is removed, then the grains go through a treatment called polishing. In this, the bran and germ are eliminated, leaving only the endosperm, which makes the rice look white.

This separation was made possible with the advance of technology, but this can have negative effects because many nutrients are reduced.

On the contrary, brown rice is characterized by being a whole grain. Factories remove only the husk that protects it in the plant to obtain this type of cereal, preserving the bran, endosperm and germ, therefore more nutritional properties are stored in this case.

Why is brown rice better? 

So, brown rice is better because the grains do not go through a refining process, thus retaining more nutrients. For this reason and to better illustrate you, we want to show you a comparative nutritional table between brown rice and white rice taken from the scientific journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety (2019).

Nutrients per each 100gUnityBrown riceWhite rice
ProteinGrams7,1 – 8,36,3 – 7,1
FatsGrams1,6 – 2,80,3 – 0,5
CarbohydratesGrams73 – 7677 – 78
FiberGrams0,6 – 1,00,2 – 0,5
AshGrams1,0 – 1,50,3 – 0,8
EnergyCalories363 – 385349 – 373
ThiamineMilligrams0,29 – 0,610,02 – 0,11
RinoflavineMilligrams0,04 – 0,140,01 – 0,06
NiacineMilligrams3,5 – 5,31,3 – 2,4
Vitamin EMilligrams0,90 – 2,500,075 – 0,30
Nicotinic acidMilligrams4,4 – 6,20,8 – 2,6
Pantothenic acidMilligrams0,66 – 1,860,34 – 0,77
CalciumMilligrams10 – 5010 – 30
SodiumMilligrams3,1 – 17,62,2 – 8,5
PotassiumMilligrams120 – 34014 – 120
IronMilligrams0,7 – 5,40,2 – 2,7
ManganeseGrams1,3 – 4,21,0 – 3,3
Zinc 1,5 – 2,20,3 – 2,1
Phosphorus 0,17 – 0,430,08 – 0,15

What are the benefits of brown rice on health? 

Here are some of the benefits you can get from eating brown rice according to the scientific journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety (2019).

Rich in fiber 

According to the scientific journal, brown rice has more fiber than white rice, thanks to the bran layer it retains, so they claim that it is an ideal food for people with obesity or diabetes. Likewise, fiber allows to have a healthier stomach because it regulates the transit of food in the intestine and allows to have a greater feeling of satiety.

Rich in vitamins 

Similarly, according to the journal, the consumption of brown rice could help prevent diseases related to poor nutrition. The vitamin content in this type of rice is higher than in white rice since they are concentrated in the bran layer. For example, it is a food rich in vitamin E and B, and thanks to all its components, it can help to strengthen the immune system to fight bacteria and viruses that affect the body.

Good source of antioxidants

Brown rice has greater antioxidant properties thanks to keeping the bran of the grain, which contains high amounts of phenolic compounds. But how is this related?

These substances stand out as antioxidants responsible for fighting free radicals, which are molecules that are formed in the body every day. These components can cause oxidative stress in the body (increase of free radicals and lack of antioxidants that can fight them), which can have negative effects such as the onset of chronic diseases.


Gluten can be found in other cereals such as wheat, barley or rye, but rice stands out as a gluten-free cereal. This food can benefit people who cannot include gluten-containing foods in their daily meals.

For example, people suffering from celiac disease (a condition that affects the immune system) should avoid gluten in their daily diet as this substance can damage their small intestine. The scientific journal states that these people can consume rice or foods made from it such as pasta, breads, snacks, among others, as they are gluten-free.


Digestibility is a concept used to designate a method used to measure the efficiency of a food, that is to say, to measure the amount of nutrients that are available in the organism after digestion.

I mention this because studies over the digestibility of white and brown rice have shown in simple words that white rice is digested much faster in the body compared to brown rice.

What does this mean? Well, gastric emptying is related to variations in the body’s glycemic response. For example, when a food is digested quickly, blood sugar levels may rise faster, while foods that are digested more slowly cause blood sugar to be released less quickly.

In summary, brown rice, thanks to its bran, allows it to have a slower gastric emptying rate, which is related to a lower glycemic index. This may benefit people suffering from diabetes; the journal indicates that brown rice or its by-products may have potential anti-diabetic activity.


As you could observe, brown rice has great nutritional properties since its industrial process allows it to preserve more parts of the rice grain. Therefore, we recommend that you try it and consume it more frequently. In any case, include in your daily diet the type of rice you prefer according to your needs or goals.We hope this blog has been helpful in answering your questions.