Nutrition Comparison: Brown vs. White Rice
Brown rice and white rice have similar amounts of calories, carbohydrates, fat and protein. This is not surprising, since brown and white rice both start out as the same raw rice. The difference is purely in the degree of processing done. If the outermost layer of a grain of rice (the husk) is removed, the result is brown rice. If the husk and the bran layer underneath are removed, the result is white rice.
Several vitamins and dietary minerals are lost in this removal and the subsequent polishing process. A part of these missing nutrients, such as B1, B3, and iron are sometimes added back into the white rice making it "enriched", as food suppliers in the US are required to do by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
One mineral that is not added back into white rice is magnesium. Other key sources of nutrition lost are fatty acids and fiber. When the bran layer is removed to make white rice, the oil in the bran is also removed. A recent study has shown that rice bran oil may help lower LDL cholesterol.
Here is some data from www.nutritiondata.com comparing nutrition facts for 100g of cooked long-grain brown rice and 100g of cooked long-grain white rice:
Calories: Brown = 111, White = 130
Glycemic Index: Brown = 55, White = 70
Glycemic Load: Brown = 12, White = 18
Amino Acid Score: Brown = 75, white = 71
Protein: Brown = 2.6g, White = 2.7g
Carbohydrate: Brown = 23.0g, White = 28.2g
Total Fat: Brown = 0.9g, White = 0.3g
Saturated Fat: Brown = 0.2g, White = 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat: Brown = 0.3g, White = 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat: Brown = 0.3g, White = 0.1g
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Brown = 14.0mg, White = 13.0 mg
Omega-6 Fatty Acids: Brown = 309mg, White = 62.0mg
Dietary Fiber: Brown = 1.8g, White = 0.4g
Thiamin (B1): Brown = 0.1mg, White = 0.2mg
Riboflavin (B2): Brown = 0.0mg, White = 0.0mg
Niacin (B3): Brown = 1.5mg, White = 1.5mg
Vitamin B6: Brown = 0.1mg, White = 0.1mg
Folate: Brown = 4.0mcg, White = 58.0mcg
Vitamin E: Brown = 0.0mg, White = 0.0mg
Magnesium: Brown = 43.0mg, White = 12.0mg
Phosphorus: Brown = 83.0mg, White = 43.0mg
Potassium: Brown = 43.0mg, White = 35.0mg
Selenium: Brown = 9.8mcg, White = 7.5mcg
Zinc: Brown = 0.6mg, White = 0.5mg
Bottom Line: What All This Means to Bodybuilders
Brown rice is a staple of many bodybuilders? diets for good reason; it is a minimally-processed whole-grain food that is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and fiber, as well as essential fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Some nutrition myths, advocated by food extremists and popular in bodybuilding circles, unfairly demonize white rice, implying that it should be avoided at all costs, the most extreme versions equating eating a bowl of white rice to eating a bowl of sugar.
White rice does lack some of the nutritional attributes of brown rice, but it is still a worthwhile source of complex carbohydrates which tastes better in many dishes.
Basic Preparation of Rice
Use 2 cups of water for each cup of white or brown rice, and salt to taste. Bring salted water to a boil, and stir in rice. Reduce heat to a minimal simmer, and cook tightly covered until all water has been absorbed into rice. Brown rice takes about 45 minutes, white rice takes less than half that time.
Use slightly more water for stickier rice. Use slightly less water for fluffier, separate rice in the American preferred style. It is possible to substitute a salted broth for the salted water for a different flavor.
Rice may also be cooked using a steamer, or if added to a soup or stew, raw rice may simply be added and allowed to cook in the juices, provided allowance has been made for the amount of liquid it will absorb as it cooks.
Cooked Rice -- Refrigerate up to one week in a tightly covered container or in the freezer for up to six months.
Uncooked White, Parboiled and Precooked Rice -- Store in an airtight container for up to one year in a cool, dry place.
Uncooked Brown Rice -- Because of the oil content in the bran, which will eventually go rancid, uncooked brown rice has a shelf life of only about six months. Uncooked brown rice keeps best when refrigerated.