Everyday, millions of people find themselves in line at their favorite burrito or Asian restaurant, faced with a decision of colossal importance: white or brown rice? Ok, maybe it isn't THAT big of a decision, but in a world where we're all trying to eat a little healthier, choosing the right option for your rice can make a difference.
So which should you choose? Is brown rice healthier than white, the way whole grain bread is healthier than white bread? Or is the idea that brown rice is healthier just a myth? There's only one way to know for sure... let's look at the nutrition facts!
First, let's check out the white and brown rice options at Chipotle. The white rice has 10 more calories and an extra 50 mg of sodium per serving. On top of that, the white rice doesn't have any fiber, while a serving of brown rice provides 2 grams of fiber. It looks like brown rice is the clear winner. So you should always eat brown rice over white... right?
Not so fast. You also have to remember that the way rice is prepared can have a major impact on the nutritional value. To illustrate this, let's take a look at the steamed brown rice and steamed white rice options from Panda Express.
The rice at Panda Express shows pretty much the opposite of what we saw at Chipotle. Here the brown rice has more calories, more fat and more sodium than the white rice. So what gives? Rice doesn't naturally have fat, so the presence of fat in Panda Express' brown rice indicates that it must be cooked in a fat such as oil or butter. Tricky, tricky!
All things being equal, we'd choose brown rice over white. Brown rice has more fiber, and studies have linked brown rice consumption with reduced risk for diabetes. However, like we saw with the rice from Panda Express, all things are NOT always equal. The bottom line is that the only way to know that you're making the healthy choice is to look up the nutrition facts.
For full nutrition facts for brown and white rice, visit the links below: