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Feb 24, 2012 10:23 AM

Brown versus white rice

Did a search and was surprised the topic didn't come up, but I'm sure someone will let me know if I missed id <smile>

We have been eating brown rice for years now, thinking it is healthier. Recently, I've been hearing that may not be the case, due to toxins, much less fiber than previously thought, yada yada. I've been reading up on a health plan that outright preaches against brown rice and recommends eating white rice regularly.

What's the consensus here?

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  1. Bull Ca Ca, Leftover brown rice just spoils faster than leftover white rice, thats all.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mrbigshotno.1

      As far as I know, it IS healthier!
      Anything that has the fibre removed (thing white flour) is less nutricious.
      Refined stuff also has really minimal fibre, which fills us up and maintains a healthy gut

      1. re: wyogal

        not saying I buy all the arguments, but have been reading about it as I've been moving away from grains.

        1. re: Transplant_DK

          Interesting. Especially when "Buy the book" comes before "about us" on their tool bar.

          1. re: wyogal

            of course it does...because they're hoping to get your money before you discover you've just foolishly paid for arbitrary "nutrition" advice from an astrophysicist & a molecular biologist.

      2. I almost always eat brown rice, when I eat rice. But I don't see how brown rice has significantly more fiber the white, and I am just going by the nutrition label. I'm interested in hearing what other Hounds say about this. I am not worried about toxins. Why would there be more in brown than white? And what diet is this that you reference?

        6 Replies
        1. re: sueatmo

          sueatmo, here's a quickndirty wki paste:
          A large proportion of any grain's nutritional and fibre value is lost when the husk, germ etc is removed.

          1. re: pippimac

            It's not as if it has much in the way of nutrient value to begin with, especially compared calorie for calorie... it's calorie dense and nutrient impoverished.

            1. re: mcf

              Well, but if you look beyond the fiber factor, brown rice still has more nutrients than white rice, just saying...I think it's a decent choice for a carb though I don't eat rice every single day... black rice even better due to antioxidants, here's more for consideration:


              Regarding toxicity for Transplant_DK, this article goes into detail...scroll down to "Individual Concerns:"


              1. re: Val

                I don't think either white or brown has enough nutrition to bother comparing. I compare starches to what's in colorful, leafy veggies or in good proteins and eat those instead. Calorie for calorie, rice is nutrient impoverished using those for comparison.

                If you consider glycemic impact, converted rice is lowest, but none of them are worth the calories using nutrient value comparisons.

            2. re: pippimac

              Of course brown rice is to be preferred to white from a nutritional standpoint, but how much more nutritious can it be? It is still pretty high in carbs. 32 for brown vs 35 for a 1/4 cup raw which I think is considered a serving. And there is only one gram of fiber in that 1 serving of brown rice. So, I don't know why brown rice is actually that better than white, except for trace amounts of nutrients.

              I perfectly understand that brown rice is less processed, and preserves more nutritive value.

              My point is, I suspect choosing brown rice is moot. Might as well eat white. There isn't enough difference to worry about. Please enlighten me if I am wrong.

          2. Today I read this article about the findings of arsenic in brown rice and brown rice syrup; a shocker to me:

            The study found that arsenic levels were higher in rice grown in the southeast/south central areas where cotton was grown previously (and pesticides used there with higher levels of arsenic).

            Scary....I would love to know more about this because I love brown rice!

            3 Replies
            1. re: poptart

              Bur weren't the levels still quite low? Or did I mishear that?

              1. re: sueatmo

                yes; I think I may have been too focused on their findings in brown rice syrup and rice bran to be "very high". The brown rice, especially from California, seems to be less of an issue.
                It seems like as always the "everything in moderation" rule applies.

              2. White rice makes my diabetic husband's blood sugar skyrocket. Brown does not. That's all the evidence I need that brown rice is more healthful, at least for diabetics and probably for everyone.

                13 Replies
                1. re: bitchincook

                  If someone is diabetic, they shouldn't be eating rice, IMO. It has nothing nutrient wise to recommend it. But using a meter to determine which foods one should choose is an excellent strategy. Your comment demonstrates why glycemic index is such a non starter, too. Only the individual's meter can bet relied on.

                  I aim for foods that don't budge my meter, or that budge it less than 10-20 points at one hour post meal. YMMV.

                  1. re: mcf

                    "If someone is diabetic, they shouldn't be eating rice, IMO. It has nothing nutrient wise to recommend it."
                    There are a few folks - including diabetic folks - from around the world who might have a problem with that blanket statement. Oh, I dunno, maybe Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Koreans,SE Asians, Central Americans, Persians, West Indies folks, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, etc etc...

                    1. re: huiray

                      I eat those cuisines regulary, and I skip the rice and the bread. Have you *seen* their diabetes prevalence rates?

                      1. re: mcf

                        I think so. Well, rice may not be a staple to you but it is to many of those folks, whether they have diabetes or not, and *simply skipping* rice may not be doable for them or not be culturally possible or desirable for them when it is an innate and base component of the cuisine. Let's not ignore practical realities for a great deal of the world. Moderation or partial substitution might be a more practical goal or suggestion in many places.

                        Rice, after all, is the grain with the third-highest worldwide production and provides more than one-fifth of the caloric intake of all humans.

                        1. re: huiray

                          I'm pretty sure I'm not addressing those cultures here in this thread, nor do I think that's germaine here, where I've said to eat rice if you like to, but don't imagine that any form of rice makes a nutritional contribution to anyone's diet compared to its nutrient density. In the case of diabetics, it typically creates a problem.

                          All I'm addressing here is inaccuracy of claims that any kind of rice is a valuable source of nutrients.

                          1. re: mcf

                            Well, lots of folks from those cultures do live here in the USA and many do read CH - including myself. :-)

                            1. re: huiray

                              And they should eat to their meters, if they're diabetic. There's a common misconception that those in Asian countries who subsist on rice or starchy diets are healthy. Research reveals that's not true. I think we're going afield of what's appropriate for CH, here, so I'll leave it there.

                        2. re: mcf

                          was just seeing some numbers. us diabetes rate 6%, diagnosed cases of diabetes among am asian has increased from 1-2% to 10%. highest rate in world is pima indians with 50% of adults.

                    2. re: bitchincook

                      Thanks for this information. You are talking equal servings amounts, right? This is the kind of info I want to see. Thanks again.

                      1. re: sueatmo

                        Sueatmo, that person's experience is no indication of how it would effect you. From years of sharing info with other diabetics about food spikes, there's no consistency with a particular food from person to person, except for wheat, especially, even in minute quantities. It's pretty universally terrible for bg control. Very few diabetics can eat steel cut oatmeal, but most cannot.

                        That's what meters are for; creating an individual plan that works for you. One size does not fit all. Carb restriction is the best method, but how to do it and with what is highly individual.

                      2. re: bitchincook

                        Doesn't that just mean that he takes longer to digest brown rice?

                        1. re: paulj

                          No, though that's one possibility easily confirmed with hourly testing starting with the first hour post meal.

                        2. re: bitchincook

                          not necessarily. white rice is actually better than brown for anyone with fructose malabsorption issues. i learned that one the hard way.