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Is Brown Rice Really Better for You Than White Rice?

Two wooden spoons are filled with white rice and brown rice.

Do you typically buy brown rice at the store—or get it in your Chipotle burrito bowl—because you think it’s healthier? If so, you’re not alone. We’ve been “trained” to believe that brown rice is much healthier than its white rice counterpart, but is it?

While brown rice does have some health benefits, they might not be as pronounced as you think. So, you don’t have to feel bad about getting a scoop of white rice every now and then.

The big difference between brown and white rice is that brown rice is a whole grain. It contains the germ, bran, and endosperm. The bran and germ are removed during the process of creating white rice.

That means that brown rice tends to have more fiber and protein than white rice. It also contains more vitamins naturally, but, most white rice is “enriched”, meaning those vitamins are added back in. So, you’re probably getting the same amount of those nutrients no matter what type of rice you’re eating.

Pound for pound, the calories and carbs between the two types of rice are very close. Brown rice tends to have a bit more fat because of the natural oils in the grain. If your main concern is carbs or cutting calories, you won’t necessarily benefit from choosing brown rice over white, except that your body will digest it slower.

If you’re trying to adopt a diet with more fiber, though, brown rice is the way to go. But, don’t be fooled into thinking white rice is somehow “bad” for you. You should opt to include as many whole grains into your eating plan as possible, but the differences between brown and white rice aren’t as vast as some people want you to believe.

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