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How is wild/brown rice any different from plain white rice?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

For years and years I have had it drilled into me that brown rice is healthier than plain white rice which is "just pure starch," so we switched. Lately, though, something happened to our finances and we are temporarily stuck eating the cheapest things we can find. I bought a bag of plain white rice to get us through.


What I don't understand is why the label on the white rice says that it has almost the exact same nutritional content per 1/4 cup as the expensive wild rice we were eating before. Both are almost the same across the board. They have the same amount of, protein, iron, vitamins and carb content. (The white rice is long grain Thai jasmine and the wild rice is Lundberg Countrywild "gourmet blend of whole grain brown rice which is comprised of long grain brown rice, whole grain Wehani rice and whole grain Black Japonica rice)


The only real difference was that the white rice was slightly (insignificantly - only about 20 per 1/4 cup which is 2 servings) higher in calories and the brown rice contained 15 calories from fat with no calories from fat from the white rice. The brown rice also had 8% more fiber, not a huge difference.


So what REALLY is the big difference between white and brown rice? Why is white rice touted as being so awful?

post #2 of 4

Both are pretty high carb and high in starch.  White rice is more processed (stripping and polishing) which results in being stripped of the best part of the rice from a nutritional stand point (bran, certain vitamins, minerals, fiber).  Brown I believe is better for the environment because a lot less processing is done to the product.  Eating any enriched product is not the same as eating a real product that doesn't need artificial enrichment.  That said I love short grain white rice.  

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

If the rice is enriched, aren't they required by law to put what they use on the ingredients list? Mine just says "Ingrediens: Organic long grain jasmine rice"

post #4 of 4
Well, wild rice is a different species, and is in fact a grass seed. What you're eating is not wild rice. It's a blend of 3 domestic rice breeds. Wehani is a proprietary breed, its the reddish one, and was bred from a standard domestic breed. Japonica is a short grain, starchy breed. In reality you're paying a premium for a blend of brown rices that look pretty (they're tasty too, but nutritionally not that different from plain brown).

To give you a comparison, i have a pkg of Lundbergs black Japonica, a pkg of wild rice and one of white basmati (i buy my brown in bulk, maybe someone else has the info).

per 1/4 c dry
Bk Japonica: 170 cal, 2g fat, 38 carb, 3 fiber, 5 protein, 6% iron
Wild: 140 cal, 0.5g fat, 30 carb, 3 fiber, 6 protein, 4% iron
White: 180 cal, 0 fat, 39g carb, 0 fiber, 4 protein, 0 iron

As you can see, the white has more carbs and calories and less of everything else. In fact, unless it's enriched, it has 0 of the minerals and vitamins that are commonly labeled. Nutritionally, the only thing white rice has to offer is starch. It's a cheap filler, which keeps well for months or years (if kept dry). Thats why it's so popular around the world.
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › Nutrition and Good Eating › How is wild/brown rice any different from plain white rice?