First things first, brown rice is the whole grain with just the outer husk removed through a milling process. White rice, on the other hand, is brown rice that is heavily milled to take away the bran and much of the germ.
The germ contains essential oils which otherwise cause brown rice to go bad after 6 – 8 months. Because this germ is removed in white rice, it can last up to 10 years before spoiling. It is the longer shelf life of white rice has made it extremely popular. Unfortunately, the heavy milling process also removes the rice’s fiber, vitamins and nutrients.
When comparing white rice to brown, consider the follow statistics. Brown rice has:
- About 7x more fiber
- Fewer carbs
- A lower glycemic index (doesn’t result in blood sugar spikes)
- 2.5x more iron
- 3x more vitamin B3
- 4x more vitamin B1
- 4x more magnesium
- 10x more vitamin B6
- Fewer calories
White rice has also been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes. According to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, eating two or more servings of brown rice weekly lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating five or more servings of white rice weekly increases that risk. In fact, researchers concluded that replacing 50 grams of white rice daily with brown rice would lower the overall type 2 diabetes risk in an individual by 16%.
The bottom line: If rice is part of your diet, brown rice is a much healthier option. Despite its shorter shelf life, it offers a number of benefits over the more refined alternative.