Rice is a popular grain consumed throughout the world by people. It is a staple food for many, especially the people living in Asia. In fact, it is confirmed that in some parts of the world, many homes can’t do without rice in a day.
Rice comes in different colors, sizes, and shapes, but the most popular are brown and white rice. People commonly eat white rice, but brown rice is widely known to be healthier option. For this reason, many people prefer brown rice. In this article, we look at the benefits and the drawbacks of both types of rice.
The Different Between White Rice and Brown Rice
All rice contains almost entirely of carbs, with practically no fat and small amount of protein.
Brown rice is a whole grain; meaning it contains all parts of grain i.e. it contains the nutritious germ, the carb-rich endosperm and the fibrous bran.
On the other hand, white rice has had the germ and bran removed, which is the nutritious part of the grain. The makes white rice lesser nutritious and that is why brown rice is considered healthier than white.
So, brown rice is very nutritious because it contains the germ and bran. These provide several minerals and vitamins and fiber. White rice is a refined grain that does not contain germ and bran because they have been removed in the course of refining.
Brown Rice Is Higher in Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber
Brown rice has huge advantage over white rice when it comes to the nutrient content. Brown rice has more antioxidants and fiber, as well as many more important minerals and vitamins.
White rice can be regarded as almost a source of empty carbs and calories with few important nutrients.
100grams of cooked brown rice gives 1.8grams of fiber, while 100grams of white rice provide only 0.4grams of fiber.
The following list shows the comparison of other minerals and vitamins:
- Zinc: Brown has 4% of RDI, while white has 3%
- Thiamine: Brown has 6% of RDI, while white has 1%
- Vitamin B6: Brown has 7% RDI, while white has 5%
- Niacin: Brown has 8% of RDI, while white has just 2%
- Magnesium: Brown has 11% of RDI, while white has just 3%
- Manganese: Brown has 45% of RDI, while white has 24%
- Iron: Brown has 2% of RDI, while white has 1%
- Phosphorus: Brown has 8% of RDI, while white has 4%
With the above list, brown rice is higher in nutrients than white rice. It includes antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber.
Brown Rice Has Antinutrients and Can Be Higher in Arsenic
You wonder what antinutrients are? Antinutrients are the plant compounds that can reduce body’s ability to absorb some certain nutrients. Brown rice has an antinutrient called phytic acid or phytate. It can also contain higher amount of a toxic chemical known has arsenic.
Even though phytic acid offers some health benefits, it can also reduce body’s ability to absorb zinc and iron from diet. If you are eating phytic acid over a long time, it may contribute to mineral deficiencies. Meanwhile, this is quite unlikely for those who eat a varied diet.
There may also be higher toxic chemical known as arsenic in brown rice.
Arsenic is the heavy metal naturally present in our environment, but it is higher in many areas because of pollution. Significant amount of arsenic has been found in rice and rice-based products.
Long-term of arsenic consumption can increase your risk of chronic diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if you are eating rice in moderation as part of your varied diet. A few serving of it a week should be fine.
If you eat much rice, you should consider taking some steps to reduce the arsenic content.
So, as good as brown rice is, it contains antinutrient called phytic acid and it is also higher in arsenic than white rice. If you eat a lot of rice, if may be a concern, but eating in moderation should be fine.
Effects on Diabetes and Blood Sugar Risk
Brown rice is quite high in fiber and magnesium, both of which help you control blood sugar levels. Research showed that eating whole grains like brown rice regularly, helps in decreasing risk of type 2 diabetes and lowering blood sugar levels.
Simply replacing white rice with brown rice has been confirmed to decrease type 2 diabetes risk and lower blood sugar levels. However, high consumption of white rice has been showed to increase blood sugar levels.
So, eating brown rice may help you reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and lower blood sugar levels. While on the other hand, white rice may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Other Health Effects of Brown and White Rice
Brown and white rice may also affect other aspects of health differently. This includes weight control, heart disease risk and antioxidant levels.
Heart Disease Risk Factors
A plant compound called lignans found in brown rice can protect you against heart disease. Lignans have been confirmed to lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation in arteries and reduce amount of fat in the blood. Studies suggest that eating brown rice can help you reduce several risk factors associated with heart disease.
Whole grains such as brown rice may help lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Also, brown rice has been linked to increase in HDL (good) cholesterol.
The bran present in brown rice has many powerful antioxidants.
Studies showed that because of antioxidant levels, the whole grains like brown rice may help prevent chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Another study also showed that consuming brown rice may help increase blood antioxidant levels in obese women.
Additionally, an animal study suggests that consuming white rice can decrease blood antioxidant levels in type 2 diabetics.
Consuming brown rice instead of white rice can significantly reduce your weight, body mass index (BMI) and the circumference of your waist and hips.
So, eating brown rice and other whole grains can help you increase your blood antioxidant levels and also reduce the risk of obesity and heart disease.
Which of The White Rice and Brown Rice Should You Eat?
Nutritional and health wise, brown rice is the best choice. Either type of rice can make a the part of your healthy diet and nothing is wrong with taking some white rice occasionally.