Is Brown Rice Really That Much Better For You?
Many people consider white rice to be unhealthy. Its problems are many, mainly the fact that it is highly processed, stripping away the hull, bran, and germ! This removes many vitamins and minerals.
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White rice starts as brown rice before it is processed. Brown rice is simply the entire rice grain. It contains the fiber-rich bran, the nutrient-packed germ, and the carbohydrate-rich endosperm. White rice is just the carbohydrate loaded endosperm, making it “empty carbs” since it loses its main sources of nutrients.
How Do The Nutrients Compare?
I'm only going to compare plain, unenriched white rice with brown rice. The enrichment process can add different amounts of nutrients. These amounts are based on a 3.5 ounce serving.
|Nutrients||White Rice||Brown Rice|
|Protein||2.9 grams||2.6 grams|
|Carbs||30 grams||23 grams|
|Fat||0.4 grams||0.9 grams|
|Fiber||0.9 grams||1.8 grams|
|Folate||1% of the RDI||1% of the RDI|
|Manganese||18% of the RDI||45% of the RDI|
|Thiamine||5% of the RDI||6% of the RDI|
|Selenium||13% of the RDI||14% of the RDI|
|Niacin||12% of the RDI||8% of the RDI|
|Iron||1% of the RDI||2% of the RDI|
|Vitamin B6||8% of the RDI||7% of the RDI|
|Phosphorus||6% of the RDI||8% of the RDI|
|Copper||4% of the RDI||5% of the RDI|
|Magnesium||2% of the RDI||11% of the RDI|
|Zinc||2% of the RDI||4% of the RDI|
This table shows a few interesting things. First is the calories, an extra 22 per-serving and that's all extra carbs. The fiber is one area the brown rice shines having twice as much as white rice. The other large difference is manganese with brown rice having 2.5 times as much and magnesium having 5.5 times more!
So What Does This Mean?
While none of these nutrients seem to be a lot better in brown rice, there is at least one study that shows brown rice can aid in weight loss. The study of overweight women were put into two groups: one following a weight-loss diet with about a cup of cooked white rice every day and another with a cup of cooked brown rice every day. After six weeks, the groups switched, and the white rice group ate brown rice and vice versa. When the subjects were eating brown rice, they got significantly more weight loss, especially around the waist and hips, lower blood pressure, and less inflammation.
My Personal Belief.
A lot of people prefer white rice to brown; they consider it softer and tastier. I find brown rice to be chewy, but I like the taste. I will use white rice for certain dishes, especially those with a sauce. I think it makes better fried rice, absorbing the flavors used in cooking it.
Have you tried brown rice? Do you eat it regularly? Let me know in the comments below! And if you would like help with your nutrition and health, let's talk!