Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Nutrient Comparison

Medically Reviewed on 8/11/2022
Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Nutrient Comparison
Learn about the nutritional differences between brown rice vs. white rice

Rice is an important staple in many countries, available in many varieties. 

Brown rice is whole-grain rice where only the outer husk of the rice has been removed by milling. White rice goes through additional milling, which removes the bran and most of the rice germ. As a result, white rice has less fiber and fewer nutrients than brown rice.

Brown rice is, therefore, a healthier option than white rice, especially if you are trying to cut back on your carb intake.

Learn about the nutritional differences between brown rice vs. white rice.

What are the nutritional differences between brown rice and white rice?

Whole grains have three components—germ, bran, and endosperm. Each component contains unique proteins, minerals, and vitamins that have diverse nutritional values. 

All three components are present in brown rice, making it a whole grain. White rice, however, has been stripped of both the germ and the bran, leaving only the starchy endosperm which is less nutrient-rich.

Table 1: Nutrients in 1 cup of cooked long-grain brown rice
Nutrient Amount
Calories 248
Protein 5.54 grams
Fat 1.96 grams
Carbohydrates 51.7 grams
Fiber 3.23 grams

Table 2: Nutrients in 1 cup of cooked medium-grain white rice
Nutrient Amount
Calories 242
Protein 4.43 grams
Fat 0.39 grams
Carbohydrates 53.2 grams
Fiber 0.56 grams

Brown rice is also richer in other nutrients:

  • Minerals:
    • Manganese: Brown rice has 88% more manganese than white rice. Nearly 8% of the required daily intake of manganese is satisfied by just a small amount of brown rice. This mineral is crucial for the production of sex hormones, energy, and good cholesterol
    • Phosphorus: Brown rice has 88% more phosphorus than white rice.
    • Iron: Brown rice has 1.5 times more iron than white rice.
    • Selenium:
      • Brown rice: 27.3% (11.7 µg) 
      • White rice: 14 µg
    • Magnesium:
      • Brown rice: 20.9% (78.8 mg) 
      • White rice: 24.2 
    • Potassium:
      • Brown rice: 174 mg
      • White rice: 53.9 mg
  • B vitamins: Brown rice has 10 times more vitamins B3, B1, and B6 than white rice. Approximately 80% of vitamin B1, 90% of vitamin B6, and 67% of vitamin B3 are lost during the milling and processing of white rice.

However, brown rice contains phytic acid, which is an anti-nutrient that can interfere with the absorption of important minerals such as iron, manganese, potassium, and magnesium. White rice does not contain phytic acid.

Which should you choose?

Overall, brown rice is a healthier option than white rice. However, white rice may be preferable in some cases, especially if you are prone to bloating or suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.

Regardless of which rice you choose, it is important to include it in a diet that is balanced and generally healthy. The fact that different varieties of rice work better with different dishes is another factor to consider. White rice may be preferred for dishes such as sticky rice, paella, and desserts. 

It is also important to note that despite having more fiber than white rice, brown rice has less fiber than many other whole grains. Because of this, it can be an excellent choice for those who want to increase their intake of whole grains but want to introduce fiber gradually to avoid bloating or constipation.


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Medically Reviewed on 8/11/2022
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