Brown Rice vs White Rice (Which Is Better?)

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Last updated: August 9, 2021

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love rice dishes. I could literally eat rice each and everyday and not get tired of it.

As you may already know, Japanese food has been my favorite international cuisine, ever since my first visit to the land of the rising sun many years ago. Perhaps this is where my love for rice stems from.

There are various types of rice available these days, but most people will differentiate between brown rice and white rice.

Read on and find out which type of rice is the better option, and which one you should choose if weight management is important to you. Brown rice versus white rice, let’s see who wins!

Brown and White Rice Explained

Before we dive into the nutritional profiles of the two types of rice, let’s first work out why rice can have different colors.

Similar to white and raw sugar, all rice starts out as being brown rice. To strip brown rice off its beautiful color, it goes through a milling process.

White rice bowl
White rice

This process involves removing its husk (outer shell), bran (outer layer), and germ (reproductive part). This explains why brown rice not only tastes different, it also has a texture that is very different from white rice.

The main reason rice needs to go through this milling process is preservation. Removing the above mentioned bits and pieces increases the shelf life of white rice significantly, but the drawback is that a good chunck of its nutrition gets lost.

Nutrition Considerations

Have a look at the below table with nutritional values for 100 grams worth of cooked brown rice and white rice.

Keep in mind that this is just a snapshot to showcase the differences between the two, it’s not a complete nutritional profile.

White Rice Brown Rice
Energy 130 calories 111 calories
Carbohydrates 28.2 g 23.0 g
Dietary fiber 0.4 g 1.8 g
Sugar 0.1 g 0.4 g
Thiamin 0% DV 6% DV
Niacin 2% DV 8% DV
Vitamin B6 5% DV 7% DV
Iron 1% DV 2% DV
Magnesium 3% DV 11% DV
Phosphorus 4% DV 8% DV
Zinc 3% DV 4% DV
Copper 3% DV 5% DV
Manganese 24% DV 45% DV
Selenium 11% DV 14% DV
Sources: White rice nutrition, Brown rice nutrition

As you can see, brown rice has a much better nutritional profile than white rice. Brown rice is particularly high in nutrients such as manganese, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and magnesium, but also dietary fiber.

When it comes to weight loss, brown rice also appears to be the better choice, because it is lower in calories and higher in fiber than white rice.


The only way to lose weight is by eating fewer calories than you burn each day, to create a calorie deficit.

Brown rice bowl
Brown rice

One cup of 100 g white rice contains roughly 130 calories. Choose brown rice instead, and you can eat the same amount of rice and consume only 111 calories.

Although this doesn’t seem to be a big difference, if you eat one cup of white rice every day instead of brown rice, then the calories certainly do add up.

Dietary Fiber

Not only is brown rice lower in calories, it’s also significantly higher in dietary fiber than white rice is.

Each 1-cup serving of brown rice comes with 1.8 grams of fiber, which represents 7 percent of the daily recommended value. Compared to only 0.4 grams of fiber in the same amount of white rice.

Brown and white rice on spoons

Fiber is essential for us in many different ways, but it also helps with weight loss by slowing the emptying of the stomach. This makes you feel full longer, which in turn makes you eat less.

It may also reduce the amount of calories you absorb from macro-nutrients, such as fat and carbohydrates.

Final Thoughts

I am going to be completely honest here with you and say that I absolutely prefer white rice over brown rice. It just tastes better! Especially in Japanese and Indian dishes, I cannot imagine eating brown rice.

That’s not to say that I never eat brown rice, because I do. I am very conscious of the fact that brown rice is the better choice when it comes to nutritional benefits, so I do try to make dishes with brown rice also.

For example, I find that steamed brown rice works really well with fish, such as fried salmon or white fish. But otherwise, I stick to white rice!


Brown rice versus white rice

Donna Harrison

I created Healthy Food Tribe because I am passionate about discovering new foods and learning everything about them. I am also a smoothie fanatic and I document all my favorite recipes here on my blog.

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