White Rice – A Health & Nutrition Guide

Mehak Shah

July 18, 2022

White steamy rice is something that brightens all curries, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. In many cultures, white rice is the primary component of meals eaten in the basic form with curry, lentils and veggies or cakes. White rice is a bland grain and a staple of its easy-to-cook nature, accessibility, and capacity to adjust to any flavour and preparation. In addition, white rice has a chewiness and delicate texture that adds substance to dinners and compliments different cooking styles and palates. 

Rice is a popular food for many worldwide, most of which is grown in Asia. Several rice varieties are available across the counters. The rice colour, white or brown (whole grain), is a function of how they are processed. White rice is the most common type of rice, but brown rice has more health benefits as it is less processed or unpolished than its whiter counterpart. Manufacturers make many products from rice, including rice flour, syrup, bran oil, and milk.

Rice is a versatile and easy-to-cook food that is light on the stomach. So it is not surprising that this grain has been an essential part of the Indian diet for so long. That said, many people believe that rice can make you fat. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Rice is never the only culprit for weight gain. Brown rice contains fibre and nutrients, and red rice has antioxidants. Several factors like how you eat it, what you combine it with, and the portion size finally lead to the excess weight. White rice gets eaten in several Asian and Latin American countries as part of balanced meals.

Interestingly, as per a study, there is no direct relationship between white rice and waist circumference, but the postprandial blood glucose levels are higher in the case of white rice vs brown rice consumption.

Nutritional Properties of White Rice

The USDA provides the nutrition information for 1 cup (186g) of cooked, enriched, short-grain white rice.

  • Calories: 242
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 53.4g
  • Fiber: 0.6g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 4.4g
  • Manganese:0.7mg
  • Iron: 2.7mg
  • Thiamin: 0.3mg

Nutritional Facts


One serving of white rice contains over 53 grams of carbs. Only a tiny amount of those carbohydrates come from fibre. Most of the starch is found in the flour, while a small amount of sugar is also present. 

Rice is a carbohydrate-rich food. Most of the carbohydrate is in the form of starch. Starch is the most common form of carbohydrate in foods. Starch contains long chains of glucose molecules. These chains are called amylose and amylopectin. Different types of rice have different levels of amylose, which affects how the rice cooks and feels when eaten. 

Basmati rice is rich in amylose, which doesn’t let it stick together after cooking. On the other hand, sticky rice is low in amylose and high in amylopectin, making it moist after cooking. Also, this is perfect for making risottos and rice pudding. The glycemic index of white rice is estimated to be about 73. The glycemic index of brown rice is about 68. Short-grain rice has a higher glycemic index than long-grain, medium-grain, and brown rice. 

All rice is originally a whole grain, with the bran attached. However, white rice gets produced by removing the bran from white kernels. As a result, it makes the grain a processed and refined grain, no longer a whole grain. Pearling also shortens the cooking time and preserves grains for longer.


White rice contains a soluble fibre called resistant starch. However, brown and white rice have different quantities of it. It increases Butyrate in the gut, reduces inflammation, improves gut barrier function and can reduce the chance of colon cancer. It can help to keep you feeling fuller longer, as well as help regulate blood sugar levels. However, since white rice is processed and does not have bran and germ, it has fewer nutrients than brown rice. 


The white rice protein component is not significant, and it is about 2.1 grams of protein per serving. Cooked brown rice provides 2.3 grams of protein and 109 calories per serving. Wild rice delivers 3.3 grams of protein and 83 calories per cup. 


White rice contains almost no fat as long as it gets cooked without adding oil or butter.

Vitamins and Minerals

Among its many nutritional benefits, white rice is an excellent manganese source, providing over 30% of the daily value. Iron is also plentiful in white rice, at 15% of the daily value. White rice also supplies vitamin B.

The HealthifyMe Note

Many people find sticky rice more palatable, but quick digestion can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels, especially in people with diabetes. Fun Fact: it is easy to eat sticky rice with chopsticks because the clumps do not disintegrate quickly, and it adds to the eating experience for many. 

Health Benefits of White Rice

White rice can be part of a balanced diet. Many of the health benefits of rice come from the vitamins and minerals that it provides.

Easy to Digest

Not only is rice easy to cook, but it is also effortless to digest. Moreover, unlike brown rice, white rice does not contain a compound called phytic acid, an antinutrient that causes digestive problems. Therefore, many nationalities prefer consuming white rice at night over wheat as it is easy to digest and can improve sleep quality.

To make white rice more digestible, eat it alone or in combination with other low-fat foods. Some high-fat foods, such as vegetable oils, take longer to digest and cause discomfort.

Provides Quick Energy

As per the study, athletes who need plenty of energy from carbohydrates can get it from white rice. Also, many prefer polished rice over brown for its high-carb, low-fibre profile.

Bone, Nerve and Muscle Support

White rice gives 14.9 mg of magnesium, improving your bone health. Magnesium is one of the essential components of bones, which aids many catalyst responses engaged with the blend of DNA and proteins and can improve legitimate nerve conduction and muscle compression.

Improves Gut Health

Even if you eat refined white rice, you still get a lot of water-soluble fibre and resistant starch called butyric acid. Butyrate can benefit your gut health by reducing inflammation. Hence, it indirectly prevents GI issues like diarrhoea, constipation, indigestion etc.

Aids Heart Health

When choosing rice, you are helping your heart health. Even the American Heart Association agrees that whole grains improve blood cholesterol levels and further reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.


Whether white or brown- rice is gluten-free. Regular rice is the ideal choice for delicate or sensitive individuals to gluten, a protein usually tracked down in wheat, grain and rye, and for individuals with celiac illness, an immune system sickness brought about by gluten.

Stabilise Blood-Sugar Levels

You might have heard that white rice contains starch and has a generally high glycemic file. Yet, when taken with different food varieties, for example, vegetables, it can forestall glucose spikes. Be that as it may, on the off chance of diabetes, counsel your nutritionist before altering your eating regimen.

The HealthifyMe Note

Cooling of starch increases the quality of resistant starch content. For example, cooked rice cooled for 10 hours and reheated lowered glycemic response as per a study. So, eating fresh but cooled rice is better if you have diabetes. 

Ways to Prepare and Store

Indian rice must first be soaked and cleaned to ensure no impurities. The standard proportion for cooking rice is two fluid portions for one portion of rice. This thumb rule works for all rice varieties. One cup of crude uncooked rice is typically around 3-4 cups of cooked rice.

Use rice as a side dish or accompaniment to stews, curries, soups, and mixed greens. One can also prepare sweets like kheer and pudding with rice.


You can store cooked rice in the fridge and eat it in 3-4 days. Then, at the point when the rice texture changes and is hard and dry or smells unsavoury, you must discard it. 

Put uncooked white rice in an air-tight container and store it in a cool and dry spot. At temperatures under 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can store rice for up to 10 years. 

Adverse Effects

Rice is a safe staple food. However, regular rice consumption can pose a risk, especially if it makes up most of a person’s daily dietary intake.

May Contribute to Occurrence of Type 2 Diabetes

As per a 2019 survey, white rice may increase the chances of type 2 diabetes. Also, the high glycemic level can cause a critical spike in glucose after meals. In any case, the audit reasons that the contrast between white rice and brown rice isn’t conclusive and that further examination of rice-prevailing dietary examples is required. Then again, like other whole grains containing fibre, brown and unpolished rice can assist in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

It is vital to note that eating excessive carbs from any source can increase glucose levels. In this manner, it is critical to control the size of the portion, whether the rice is brown or refined. Eating high-fibre whole grains rather than refined grains has essential medical advantages, including a decreased risk of diabetes.

Adverse Effects due to Metals

  • Heavy metals can amass the body over the long haul and cause medical conditions. These incorporate cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel and arsenic.
  • Many examinations have revealed that rice in certain nations contains over-the-top degrees of weighty metals. As a result, it can seriously affect health when rice makes up a large part of one’s meal. 
  • Grains contain a high proportion of heavy metals, so brown rice has more weighty metals than white rice.
  • Rice aggregates much mercury and arsenic contrasted with other regular food crops filled in tainted regions.
  • All grains assimilate arsenic effectively yet seem to gather more in rice than in wheat or grain.
  • The grains and vegetables grown near industrial and mining regions have more chances of contamination and metal deposition.


Rice sensitivities are uncommon, however conceivable. Rice sensitivities are more regular in Asian nations, where rice makes up most of the standard diet. Individuals with rice sensitivities can also be sensitive to corn, soybeans, grain, and the other way around.


Rice is a staple food throughout the world. However, brown rice is also getting extremely popular due to its health benefits. As a fantastic supply of numerous wholesome minerals and antioxidants, rice is good for digestive and coronary heart health. On the other hand, white rice, mainly sticky rice, offers fewer vitamins and can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Be sure to study the vitamins statistics panel, evaluate the nutrient content material, and buy enriched variations of rice whilst available. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How healthy is eating white rice?

A. White rice is considered by many to be an “empty” or “bad” carbohydrate because it loses nutrients when the bran and germ get removed. However, white rice gets usually fortified with additional nutrients such as iron and B vitamins. Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice, but white rice is still considered healthy.

Q. Is white rice inflammatory?

A. Yes, white rice is a high-glycemic food that causes inflammation. Other refined carbs are foods that contain flour, such as bread and crackers. 

Q. Does rice make your belly fat?

A. Possibly. Cooked white rice is processed rapidly, delivering energy into the blood as it spikes glucose levels. An unexpected surge of glucose or expanded glucose puts weight on the pancreas. Because of the quick expansion in glucose, the pancreas can’t gauge how much insulin it needs. As a result, it closes with the overproduction of insulin. Insulin is a fat-stockpiling chemical. On the off chance that the muscles don’t consume the quickly delivered glucose at a similar rate as glycogen, it stores fat around the midsection.

Q. Is it OK to eat rice every day?

A. You may reduce the frequency of eating white rice daily. According to a study published in BMC Public Health, eating white rice daily also risks developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular consumption of white rice also increases the risk of heart disease.

Q. Is rice a carb?

A. Yes. Rice is rich in carbohydrates. One cup of cooked rice contains 52gms of carbs.

Q. Why is the rice not good for you?

A. Rice has a few vitamins and minerals. However, notwithstanding every one of the great ones, it has a high glycemic record, which can prompt type 2 diabetes. An excessive amount of rice, mainly white rice, can change the glucose levels in the body, leading to weight gain and related illnesses. 

Q. Can I eat rice and lose weight?

A. White rice, fruit, fruit juices and sugar are part of a quirky weight loss regimen. Also, the trick here is the low-calorie count of the meal. But on the other hand, too much white rice can lead to weight gain. However, moderate rice intake with the right amount of protein and fibre can increase satiety and promote weight reduction and good health.

Q. Is rice better than potatoes?

A. Potatoes are a better choice for critical supplements since they contain about a similar measure of protein as white rice. However, they are low in calories and fat and high in fibre.

Q. What’s healthier rice or pasta?

A. For low calories and carbs, rice is the most brilliant option. However, assuming protein and fibre are your objectives, pasta beats rice.

Q. Which is better: rice or quinoa?

A. Quinoa and rice have their health benefits. Both are nutritious fixings that supplement a reasonable eating regimen. However, quinoa comes at the top. Earthy coloured rice contains not many fundamental amino acids. However, it’s a finished protein.

Q. What is healthier brown or white rice?

A. Quinoa has more fibre than white rice. However, they do not have significant differences in terms of calories. Both are nutritious fixings that supplement a reasonable eating regimen. However, quinoa comes at the top. Brown rice contains not many essential amino acids. However, it’s a complete protein.

Q. What are the disadvantages of eating white rice?

A. White rice has a high glycemic file, so starches are separated into glucose levels quicker than earthy coloured rice. Therefore, high white rice admission might build your gamble of type 2 diabetes.

Q. What are the benefits of eating rice?

A. Eating rice may assist with keeping a good weight, safeguarding against ongoing infections, upholding energy, and re-establish glycogen levels after a workout.

About the Author

Mehak holds masters in foods and nutrition from Amity university, Noida. She has a keen interest in public health and nutrition and has been in charge of various projects with milestone NGO. She has worked with people over the globe to bring out the changes in their lives and has always been working towards lifestyle modifications via good dietary practices. According to her a healthy lifestyle is not about the destination but all about the journey.

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