Brown Rice vs White Rice (Which Is Better?)

Last updated: September 6, 2023

A guide explaining the differences between brown rice versus white rice to help you decide which type of rice is best for you.

I don’t know about you, but I love rice dishes. I could eat rice every day and not get tired of it. On that note, Japanese food has been my favorite international cuisine ever since my first visit to the land of the rising sun many years ago. And perhaps that 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.

In this article, I will talk about the core differences between brown and white rice, and which type of rice is the better option regarding nutrition and weight management.

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 the beautiful color from brown rice, 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, but 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 chunk of its nutrition gets lost.

Nutrition Considerations

Take a look at the table below 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 (100 g) Brown Rice (100 g)
Energy: 130 calories 123 calories
Carbohydrates: 28.2 g 25.6 g
Dietary fiber: 0.4 g 1.6 g
Sugar: 0.05 g 0.24 g
Thiamin: 0.02 mg 0.178 mg
Niacin: 0.4 mg 2.56 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.093 mg 0.123 mg
Iron: 0.2 mg 0.56 mg
Magnesium: 12 mg 39 mg
Phosphorus: 43 mg 103 mg
Zinc: 0.49 mg 0.71 mg
Copper: 0.069 mg 0.106 mg
Manganese: 0.472 mg 0.974 mg
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, creating 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 less calories.

Although the difference in calories isn’t significant, 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, but it’s also significantly higher in dietary fiber than white rice is.

Each 1-cup serving of brown rice comes with 1.6 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.


I am going to be completely honest with you here and say that I 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 vs white rice (which is better?)

Donna Harrison

My name is Donna Harrison, and I created this blog because I am passionate about discovering new foods and learning everything about them. I am also a bit of a smoothie fanatic, and I try to document all my favorite smoothies and other recipes here on Healthy Food Tribe, in addition to recommendations and reviews of my favorite kitchen tools.

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