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Diet and Nutrition

Basmati rice- white vs brown

10/07/2008

Question:

I have been told that basmati rice is a healthy choice of rice. Is there any significant difference in choosing brown over white, with rgards to the health benefits?

Answer:

Basmati rice is a healthy rice choice. You can choose either brown or white Basmati rice and in all versions I've listed below. In general, brown rice varieties have a higher fiber content. Brown varieties have all the nutrients of the original rice. White rice varieties have less fiber and may or may not have the nutrients of the original rice depending on whether it is enriched or parboiled or not. Here are some facts about rice: There are two primary types - dry and sticky. The Indian type is dry, flaky and easily separated when cooked. The Japanese rice is shorter grained, moist, sticky and firm when cooked. It has a higher amylopectin -a type of starch- content so produces a waxy starch. The drier rice has a higher amylose - another type of starch- content. When rice is harvested it is milled. Milled rice comes in the following forms that we humans eat:

The glycemic index of rice can vary depending on the type of starch it contains and the amount of fiber. A study of the glycemic index of rice appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1992 (Vol 56, 1034-1036). High amylose content rices had lower GI values. If your definition of a healthy rice is one with a lower GI value, then Basmati rice is healthier than some other types, and brown Basmati rice will be healthier than white Basmati rice.

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University