Difference Between Brown Rice and White Rice

Rice is the name of the seed of the grass species Oryza. Usually, the most popular species of domesticated rice that are consumed are Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima. Brown and white rice belong to the same plant; however, they differ in their outer layers of the seed, nutritional value, and the most obvious characteristic is their colour.

Brown Rice vs White Rice

The main difference between brown and white rice lies in the outer layers encapsulating the rice grain. White rice is the naked rice seed with its endosperm exposed. The bran and cereal germ layer is removed, while brown rice is a whole rice seed along with its germ layer and bran.

Brown Rice vs White Rice

Brown rice is a variety of whole rice grain whose outer hull or chaff has been removed, but the bran and cereal germ layer remains that gives it its characteristic brown colour. Owing to its nutritious germ and bran layer, it is also rich in nutrients and fibres and is very healthy for consumption.

White rice is also a variety of whole rice grain whose outer hull or chaff has been removed but is also further processed to remove the bran and cereal germ layer that leaves only the endosperm filled with carbohydrates to be consumed. Some varieties of white rice are also polished to remove any bran residues, due to which it gets a shiny exterior. Its nutritive content is lower than brown rice.

Comparison Table Between Brown Rice and White Rice

Parameters of ComparisonBrown RiceWhite Rice
ColourAs the name suggests it is brown in colourIt is clear white to glossy in colour.
Protective Seed LayersOuter hull absent. Cereal grem layer present. Bran layer present.Outer hull absent. Cereal germ layer absent. Bran layer absent.
Carbohydrate Content 52 grams( In 1 cup of rice) 45 grams ( In 1 cup of rice)
Calorie Content 248 grams (In 1 cup of rice) 205 grams (In 1 cup of rice)
Protein Content5.5 grams (In 1 cup of rice) 4.3 grams (In 1 cup of rice)
Fat Content2 grams (In 1 cup of rice) 0.4 grams (In 1 cup of rice)
Fibre Content3.2 grams (In 1 cup of rice) 0.6 grams (In 1 cup of rice)
Other Nutrient ContentBrown rice is also known to contain thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and sodium is considerable amounts.Apart from sodium white rice contains almost negligible amounts of the stated nutrients.
Arsenic ContentBrown rice is can also be high in arsenic amounts as the outer layer of the seeds are not removed. Arsenic is a toxic chemical.Environmental arsenic is removed from white rice during the outer layer removal making it less loaded with arsenic.
AntioxidantsStudies show brown rice to be high in antioxidantsWhite rice is shown to be low in antioxidants.
Anti-nutrientsBrown rice is shown to have higher levels of compounds like phytic acid that acts as an anti-nutrient and hinders nutrient absorption.White rice has lower physic acid content.
Benefit of ConsumptionDue to high nutritional value it is more healthy for consumption.Since white rice only brings carbs and fats to the table is it less healthy for consumption.
Boiling TimeIt takes slightly longer to boilIt is boiled or cooked faster
TextureIt has a rough texture while eating.It is smoother in texture.

What is Brown Rice?

Brown rice is a variety of the regular rice species Oryza. This whole grain seed is consumed by people looking for low carbohydrate and high fibre content in their staple diet. During the processing of this rice, the outer layers of the seeds are left intact. The nutritive germ layer and bran layer of the seed are also consumed. These added layers give the grain a brown colour.

Brown is extremely beneficial for consumption due to the additional nutrients present in it. It is rich in manganese, magnesium, selenium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, sodium vitamins, niacin, thiamine and so on. Its rich fibre content also makes its digestion simpler. Consumption of brown rice makes one feel fuller faster. This amount of consumption remains lower.

People looking for weight loss or suffering from diabetes are often suggested to eat brown rice. However, brown rice is also known to contain higher levels of toxic chemicals like arsenic and phytic acid that is harmful for consumption.

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What is White Rice?

White rice is a variety of the regular rice species Oryza. It is the whole grain seed of this plant whose outer chaff, germ layer and bran layer has been removed during processing. Some processing units even polish the seed to give it a shinier exterior.

White rice provides carbohydrates and calories to the consumer while its nutritive value is low as the nutritive layers of the seed that provides nourishment to the seed during growth has been removed. It is also low in fibre content.

It is easier to digest as well as takes lesser time to cook. White rice is a variety of food and can be consumed in a number is ways. Its high caloric value makes it the perfect food to gain energy from.

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Main Differences Between Brown Rice and White Rice

  1. Brown Rice is an encapsulated grain with its nutritive seed layers, while white rice is consumed naked.
  2. Brown Rice is high in nutritive value, while white rice is not as rich in nutrients as brown rice.
  3. Brown rice has larger amounts of fibres per serving as compared to white rice.
  4. Brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice.
  5. Brown rice takes more time to digest than white rice. Hence the consumer might feel fuller for longer periods after eating brown rice.
  6. Brown rice can be consumed daily by people with diabetes. White rice could be avoided.
  7. Brown rice has a rougher texture in the mouth than white rice, which is smoother due to its polishing.
  8. Brown rice is also rich in antioxidants, while white rice is not.
Difference Between Brown Rice and White Rice


Rice is the common food consumed for energy and carbohydrates. From the nutritive point of view, brown rice provides more nutrition than the more commonly consumed white rice, although both its calorie and carbohydrate content is comparable. Brown also is a little higher in fat percentage. Substitution of white rice with brown rice can be done occasionally or permanently if health conditions demand gaining its health benefits.

Brown rice is often suggested to be consumed by people looking for weight loss, diabetes control, joining a gym and such. White rice, on the contrary, is consumed by half of the world’s population, especially in South Asia. Methods of growing and yielding white rice with more nutritional value should be practised.


  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13197-011-0232-4
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1541-4337.12449
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Last update on 2022-08-14 / Amazon Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API