White Rice vs. Brown Rice vs. Basmati

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Difference between White Rice, Brown Rice and Basmati

Rice is available all year round offering many different types and has become a nutritional essential for many. When people in some regions refer to easting they mean they have to eat rice! Rice is a staple food that some believe is the most well liked and the most eaten product. People all over the world consume meals which include rice in one way or other. Especially in Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia, rice is available in a huge variety. Basmati rice, brown rice and white rice are amongst the varieties that are most used.

White Rice
Brown Rice

What is Rice?

White rice is created by removing the bran and polishing the grain, then talc or glucose is added to it. Brown rice does not have this layer of bran removed from it. Basmati rice is found in either white or brown rice and is lighter when it is cooked and has a fluffier texture. These three have different delicate scents, come in different colors, making it easier to differentiate between them.

The Content

Since white rice is polished, it loses many of its nutrients including vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin B6, thiamin, iron, magnesium etc. Even the amount of dietary fiber in it is low. As for brown rice, more fiber is found in it as it has the bran skin in tact and it contains other elements such as magnesium, manganese and zinc. For those who are at risk of colon cancer, brown rice is the ideal nutrient for this. The rich fiber found in brown rice minimizes cancer causing substances. Basmati rice is more well-known for its fragrance than its flavor or nutrients.

The Comparison

When it comes to judging which rice is best, brown rice is definitely takes the lead since it not only contains more fiber but an equal amount of every other nutrient that is available in white rice. Still, white rice is more commonly used in comparison to basmati and white rice. Rice of any type is not difficult to cook, even though people may complain that it doesn't turn out right every time. Rice cookers are standard equipment for many homes that enjoy rice dishes regularly.

Similarities and Differences

Rice is a fine source of fiber and can be nutrient rich, even competing nutritionally with whole wheat and bran. Insoluble fiber lessens the danger of bowel disorders and stops constipation. There are many nutrients in rice and can be a rich source in carbohydrates to boost energy, low in fat, with some protein and an abundance of B vitamins.

  • White rice may be more popular today and basmati rice may have a good smell but still, brown rice takes the lead if you are looking for the healthiest type.
  • Brown rice ingredients are authentic and abundant as generally no chemical procedures are involved in its processing.
  • It takes roughly a half an hour to cook brown rice
  • Processing is the least damaging in comparison other rice types.

Brown Rice Video

Basmati Rice Video

White Rice Video

Which type of rice tastes the best?
  • White Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Basmati
 
 

Discuss It: comments 28

I looked at white rice and brown rice comparison. In my humble opinion, it's more of a marketing gimmik that shows Brown Rice Better. Brown Rice has more calories and Fat which no one seem to bring up. Also, per FDA mandate, white rice in US does have vitamins and minrals added back to them. So, up to that point - white Rick are still better. Brown rice does have higher protein and fiber. So one should compare this more carefully - High Protein and Fiber or High Calories and High FAT? Now, consider the business end of this game - the brown rice does not need any milling, processing or fortification. It does not even have to be fortified per FDA mandate. This saves larger rice manufacturers millions of dollars in rice production. Less processing improves rice manufacturer's bottom line while selling on "Nutritional Advantages" allow them to target higher end of consumer marketplace for more money. This improves their topline. So, in summary - rice manufacturers have improved their profit margins by cutting down on processing and positioning the product as whole food diat. Health wise, I think there is absolutely NO difference between the two.

it is because white rice is more highly processed that it has to be "fortified". 1st they remove nutrients, then they replace them with manmade chemical "equivalents". i prefer my nutrients to come from nature rather than a lab. also, we need fats in our diet... and veggie fats are much less harmful than animal fats.just my thoughts....

enjoy your food where ever you are....

if u want less calories, eat less, fatty. natural is always better

Dude! Brown rice is more expensive because it is less common as it was (and still is) thought by many Asians that only the poorest people ate it. Some brainwashed people still believe that. Brown rice goes rancid within 6-12 months and so white rice is preferred as it stays longer because the outer essential fatty layer has been removed from it in the processing. Brown rice is a whole food, like dry beans, raw nut and fruit veges. If people ate more whole foods as opposed to processed ones (takeaways, cow milk, hamburgers, yes eating animals is very unhealthy too!) we wouldn't need pills and diets to make us a normal weight.

consider eating an apple with the skin, an apple without the skin, or apple juice. which one do you think is better for you? apple with the skin. While apple without the skin still has benefits, you have removed a LOT of vitamins and fiber by removing the skin. Apple juice, having been so processed you have gotten rid of a lot of its nutrients and are mainly drinking sugar. Same with brown rice, white rice and rice flour...or whole wheat, regular wheat and white wheat flour. Essentially the less you mess with it, the healthier it is. White rice is digested faster and absorbed faster, which could play havoc with your blood glucose levels. whereas brown rice keeps you full longer cause it takes longer to digest it, and is has a slow steady effect on your blood glucose levels.

This is a good example of the adage that everybody has an opinion but few have well-informed opinions. Even in the age of the Internet some tend to cook up conspiracy theories to explain the gaps in their knowledge instead of seeking out information that is easily obtainable.

Brown rice contains much higher levels of many nutrients compared to fortified white rice. The fat comes from bran oil which helps control bad cholesterol. Add in the fiber and you've got a healthy whole grain food instead of empty calories. White rice is the equivalent of white bread.

Raj, I appreciate your attempt to use critical thinking in determining which rice is better. Unfortunately, you are wrong. White rice breaks down into simple sugars which causes an insulin spike. Foods that have this property are considered to have a high glycemic index. Brown rice breaks down into complex sugars and releases the sugar (energy) over time, thus giving one more sustained energy. Brown rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice.

  • Guest
  • Mac Aguilar wrote on March 2012

I think you're incorrect, Raj. Brown Rice & White Rice have equal calories. Brown rice is more expensive because of low supply and high demand, plus it easily spoils. There's no harm in reading wikipedia and reviewing Economics or simply Googling it.

  • Guest
  • guest wrote on August 2013

well maybe other than that consumption of lots of white rice seems to lead to greater instances of type 2 Diabetes...

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes_mellitus_type_2 - look at the references

Raj, Even though brown rice contains more fat, this fat gets absorbed by the fiber, and prevent it from entering the body easily. also, brown rice is less demanded and goes rancid more faster, that's why it's more expensive: it's harder to store and goes bad faster. And also, it doesn't taste as good as white rice. Also, fortified minerals and vitamins are never as good as natural ones. Many research has been done on the comparison of the two, and the reason that it is healthier doesn't come out of thin air.

  • Guest
  • Mariana Monaco wrote on April 2011

Always go with natural...is the best !

  • Guest
  • Harvey Wachtel wrote on October 2011

Too facile. "Natural" doesn't always equate to "good". Cobra venom is natural; the antitoxin is manufactured.

dont eat cobra venom

  • Guest
  • Francis Okpani wrote on April 2011

Brown Rice is certainly more natural than others in minerals and vitamins. That alone makes it a healthier option and who wants to go for a less healthy stuff. Because it is closest to the natural form it can be called rice, but when processed you can call it something elso so I submit that others are something else not rice. Maybe they are just another laboratorily processed products.

I eat white rice because it has less toxins than brown rice. This is a major factor no one seems to discuss on these comparisons. Many paleo authors are coming around and even allowing white rice as a source of "safe starches." Besides, the nutrients you get from brown rice is negligible anyway. Get your nutrients from animal sources and veggies. Also, to the earlier post that animal fat is such a scary thing ...read the "The Great Cholesterol Con" by Anthony Colpo.

Please explain to me how anyone can know what our ancestors ate tens of thousands of years ago. The Paleo Diet is interesting but lacks verification. People can't agree on whether Elvis is alive or dead, yet I'm supposed to accept that our ancestors ate a specific diet and we somehow know what that is.

Jay. could you please reference your "white rice has less toxins than brown rice" statement. I have never, ever heard that before, and without reference, my thought is that you simply made that up, and thus, there is your reason for no one discussing it. I also disagree about needing to get nutrients from animal sources. That is not necessary whatsoever.

  • Guest
  • Hans wrote on January 2012

He's referring to lignans and such. The Paleo folks are like religious folks, they claim to know what happened thousands of years ago without any actual proof.

  • Guest
  • Harvey Wachtel wrote on October 2011

I don't see any mention of the difference in glycemic index. The GI of rice varies considerably with the particular variety, but the value for generic brown rice is lower than that of any variety of white rice I've seen listed.

From small as an ASEAN people, I have been brought up by consuming white rice as my great staple food. Without rice 'white of course' I don't know how to survive in this world. But recently, after I have entered the age of fourty plus, I am starting to feel lethargic especially after waking up in the early morning. I have been diagnose with high blood pressure too. After much self motivation, since last week, I am starting to take brown rice, only me in the family. My husband and the kids are not ready yet!. To my surprise, after few days, I didn't feel tired and lethargic anymore. My bowel movement is becoming better, more easier in the toilet. My blood pressure has become lower and I feel more energetic. Now, I'm starting to motivate my husband to take the brown rice. This is my own real experience. I hope it will cure all health problem forever. Thx.

  • Guest
  • Tomfoolery wrote on December 2011

I love white rice as I have been consuming it ever since i was a kid, i find it more aromatic and tasty. However,if you want facts, brown rice has been proven to be the better rice of the two by doctors and heart specialists especially for people with cholesterol problems and high blood pressure. Patients who have changed from eating white rice to brown rice have indeed shown results of being significantly healthier, there is no denying that. There might be some who say, oh my, there is absolutely no way those evil, dangerous, toxins from brown rice can improve a person's health? or probably, you're definitely being conned by the government or mass media or maybe even by aliens from outer space?! This is up to you to believe. Oh, wrong sentence to use, now religion will probably be dragged into this debate. However, by the end of the day of this heated debate, it's just all about personal preference. Some love white, some love brown. I personally love white rice but i do take brown rice once in a while. After all, everyone is different. So what are you trying to prove here, except to yourself? Right now, just think of the growling from your stomach, go and cook whatever color of rice you have, and savor it with your dishes.

white rice gives you colon cancer

  • Guest
  • Dr. Spazio Fornaio wrote on September 2012

Brown rice and its bran becomes rancid very easily sitting on the shelves at Whole Foods or in bulk bins exposed to air. This leads to free radicals being released into the body, negating any positive aspect of this supposed "whole food". The bran also contains an anti-nutrient, a protective layer for the rice seed to protect it from pests(insects &HUMANS). This anti-nutrient is in the form of a lectin, which causes damage to the mucosal lining of the intestines, leading to permeability, which leads to leaky-gut syndrome, which leads to a progressive inability to digest food properly and absorb nutrients from all foods. Don't believe the myth of "whole grains". They are just a marketing tool which has been making the american people sicker and fatter since the health food craze began in the late 60's. Ancient civilizations have been eating white rice(China, Japan, All of Asia) and white bread(France, Italy) for millennia. Don't confuse overly chemically-processed Uncle Ben's Minute Rice with carefully selected and cared for varieties of rice which are polished and prepared with water and mechanical abrasion to produce a fine, healthy product.

  • Guest
  • Robert Bruce wrote on January 2013

You are completely wrong! White rice and white bread flour are recent historical inventions related to technological advances in grain milling in the 19th century. White rice is so nutrionally empty that people relying on it are at risk of Thiamine deficiency, which is why it is fortified in some jurisdictions. It has a GI close to refined sugar, leading to hyperinsulinanaemia which ultimately leads to NIDDM. The claim that whole food promotion is some kind of conspiracy to make money for some food merchants is patently absurd. Whole food is more expensive because it goes off. Food companies make much more money out of refined and preserved foods precisely because of their longer shelf life. I suggest you read Michael Pollan.

Sorry guys... White Rice is better.

The reason why Asian countries consume white rice is because populations that used brown rice as a food staple tended to have mineral imbalances.

The facts are the facts. Despite the fact that Brown rice has more nutrition that white rice, Brown happens to be loaded with anti-nutrients.

From "Rice in human nutrition":

"Antinutrition factors in the rice grain are concentrated in the bran fraction (embryo and aleurone layer). They include phytin (phytate), trypsin inhibitor, oryzacystatin and haemagglutinin-lectin. All except oryzacystatin have been previously reviewed (Juliano, 1985b).

All the antinutrition factors are proteins and all except phytin (phytate) are subject to heat denaturation. Phytin is located in 1 - to 3-µm globoids in the aleurone and embryo protein bodies as the potassium magnesium salt. Its phosphate groups can readily complex with cations such as calcium, zinc and iron and with protein. It is heat stable and is responsible for THE OBSERVED POORER MINERAL BALANCE OF SUBJECTS FED BROWN RICE DIETS IN COMPARISON TO THAT OF SUBJECTS FED MILLED RICE DIETS (Miyoshi et al., 1987a, 1987b)."

http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0567e/T0567E0g.htm#Antinutrition%20factors

Basically the phytates in Brown Rice rob your body of minerals. And, by the way, a handful of white rice won't spike your blood sugar if you eat it as part of a meal (unless you are diabetic).

  • Guest
  • Bob wrote on December 2013

I heard a great saying (I believe from China) on the topic:

"Bran is for the chickens"

There's a lot of truth to this since birds have digestive tracts that handle seeds and grains quite well despite the defensive substances in them. However, I wouldn't call it a good food to base one's diet around even with the problematic anti-nutrients removed. It is, however, a good choice for those who want to add some carbs to the diet such as athletes but even then best consumed in moderation.

If you are looking for thiamine, brown rice is actually not as great a source as some would like to have us believe. You'd need to eat a cup of it (raw measurement, so basically a pot full of cooked rice) to get about half your daily requirement and that is assuming full absorption. Pork chops on the other hand contain 70% of your requirement in only a 6 oz chop and it is better utilized by the body. If you want vitamin E and Magnesium, add some almonds to the diet. Rice doesn't even come close to them for nutrition.

Ultimately, it is also important to remember that rice, like all grains, has a very high glycemic index rating and is best consumed moderately at most and basing ones diet on it, brown or white, is very unhealthy.

  • Guest
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  • Guest
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