Brown rice vs wholegrain rice – is one healthier than the other?

For the first time in ages I was completely stumped by the products I picked up in the supermarket today. Being a clean eater for the past year meant that I had come to learn what to look for on food labels and which foods are healthier alternatives.

So I couldn’t believe my eyes when not only were Uncle Ben’s microwave rice pouches on offer for £1 (YES!) but that the healthy choices that I went for completely baffled me; brown rice AND wholegrain rice, how had I never noticed these two lookalikes before? I knew that brown rice was the healthy alternative to white rice, but I had no idea how it compared to wholegrain and whether I had been missing out on extra grainy goodness all this time!


Turns out that calorie-wise they are almost exactly identical, nothing to shout about, so I didn’t know why to choose one over the other. So I bought both! And thought it would be best to do the research when I got home, this is what I found…

According to Jillian Michaels, a famous American health/wellbeing expert and trainer who makes up one of the handful of people I follow for advice, “Brown rice does not differ from whole grain rice because they are one in the same. Whole grain rice is simply rice that has its entire grain intact, which is the case with brown rice. Brown rice is not the only whole grain rice — wild rice also fits the description — but white rice does not fit the bill because it lacks all the grain’s components.”

It seems that the only difference to take note of though is between Basmati rice in particular compared to normal wholegrain or brown rice – Jillian says “Basmati has the highest content of all rice for amino acids and essential nutrients.”

This is why you’ll see some packets of rice that just say ‘Brown rice’ and some that say ‘Brown Basmati rice’. I wouldn’t lose sleep over the minuscule nutritional difference but from now on if I can I will opt for Basmati for its extra benefits.


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