Rice is a staple food for more than half of the world’s population. While there are over 110,000 cultivated varieties of rice, we typically group the grain into two categories: white and brown. Of the two, white rice is more widely consumed and preferred by many people. But you may be wondering about its healthfulness. Here’s the lowdown on white rice nutrition, how it compares to whole grain options, and healthy ways to enjoy any rice you choose.
First, some background on white rice
Rice is a grain. Brown rice is whole grain rice, with all parts of the grain remaining intact. With white rice, the grain is polished in a way that removes two parts—the bran and embryo—and leaves a starchy section called the endosperm. This process removes the majority of naturally occurring B vitamins, in addition to minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. White rice labeled “enriched” means that B vitamins and iron have been added back, but only at a fraction of their original levels.
One cup of cooked white rice contains just over 200 calories, about 4 grams of protein, and 44 grams of carbohydrate with less than 1 gram as fiber. That’s the amount of carbs in about three slices of white bread.