Can I Substitute Brown Rice for White Rice?

Over half of the people in the world depend on rice as their main source of energy. With two primary types of rice, it can be difficult to know which type you should be eating. White rice is known to be less healthy when compared to brown rice, so many have begun to wonder if they can substitute the healthier brown rice in their meals.

You can substitute brown rice for white rice. Brown rice can be easily substituted for white rice. They contain a similar flavour profile, so you can still enjoy your favourite foods that include rice. Brown rice is also a healthier option for you. It is important to note that more water and a long cooking time will be needed when substituting.

Continue reading to learn more about brown rice and white rice as well as why you should substitute brown rice for white rice in some of your favourite dishes.

What Is Brown Rice?

Rice is a crop that has been harvested for centuries, starting all the way back in China over 9,000 years ago. Brown rice did not start becoming popular until the movement toward healthier food during the 1960s and the 1970s.

Brown rice as well as white rice both start as grains encased in a husk that is meant to protect the crop. It is during the process of milling these husks that brown rice and white rice become separate. Brown rice is often found beneath the white rice.

Brown rice gets its name for its colouring. This colouring is due to the outer coating, known as the bran, and a small opaque nugget that is known as the germ. It is these parts that hold many of the nutrients that give brown rice its reputation for being healthier.

What Is White Rice?

If brown rice gets its colouring from the outer coating, or bran, white rice does not have this coating; therefore, it does not have bran. White rice is made when the milling process takes another step after the brown rice is revealed, and the bran and germ is shed in order to reveal a fine grain. This is known as “polishing”.

White rice became popular in the southern part of America during the 1600s. White rice does not have as many vitamins and minerals as brown rice. White rice also has a higher glycemic index score which means it can raise your blood sugar quickly.

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White rice is considered to be a great go-to food when you are in a hurry. This is because white rice cooks more quickly due to the ease the endosperm of the rice has when soaking up water.

Can You Use White and Brown Rice Interchangeably?

It may seem hard to pick whether you should cook white rice or brown rice to go with your meal. Some dishes may specify the type of rice that is cooked, but others do not specify. This makes it great that you can use both white rice and brown rice interchangeably.

Brown rice can be used in all of the same ways you use white rice. This makes it easier when you want to substitute your white rice for a healthier option without worrying about drastic changes happening to the dish.

The main difference that can come with substituting brown rice for white rice is that the dish you are cooking may take a longer amount of time to cook. There will also be a different liquid content due to brown rice not soaking up the water as easily as white rice does.

While there are many benefits when it comes to substituting brown rice for white rice, there is one disadvantage. This main disadvantage is that brown rice contains more arsenic when compared to the amount found in white rice.

5 Reasons Why You Should Replace White Rice With Brown Rice

Brown rice and white rice are very similar. There is not too much difference between the two. From flavour to cooking, it is hard to choose which is the best when it comes to preparing certain dishes.

Some dishes will sometimes specify the type of rice that is best suited for the dish, but it is often the case that you can replace the white rice in a dish with brown rice and find little difference between the two. Sometimes it can be up to personal preference that decides the type of rice you choose to include in your meal, and other times it can be decided by what you have available at the time.

Despite white rice being interchangeable with brown rice, there are some advantages that come with substituting brown rice for your white rice.

Weight Loss

We often find ourselves incorporating healthier foods into our diet when we plan on losing weight. The same can be said when substituting brown rice for white rice.

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It has been observed that adding more fibre or more foods that are rich in fibre to our diet can help with shredding those extra pounds and help you to lose weight. Some foods that are naturally high in fibre that can help you lose weight include:

  • Black beans
  • Spinach
  • Pears
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice

When compared to white rice, brown rice has approximately six times more dietary fibre. This makes brown rice a great addition to any meal in order to help you lose weight. 

You can either substitute the brown rice for white rice in certain dishes or you can make a healthy snack of brown rice to eat when you start to feel hungry. Either way, brown rice can aid in losing weight.

No More Unnecessary Cravings

Along with containing plenty of fibre to aid in weight loss, brown rice can also help to stop those unnecessary cravings you may have which can cause you to eat more. Brown rice can keep you full for a longer period of time. This allows for you to not experience those cravings for unhealthy snacks.

Full of Antioxidants

Similar to fruits and vegetables, brown rice is full of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect the cells in your body from free radicals. 

These free radicals often play a role in illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. This makes brown rice a great addition to any dish as the antioxidants can help your body fight against these illnesses.

Source of Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that you can often find in the soil. Selenium tends to play a keep role in helping your metabolism and having antioxidant properties which can help to fight heart disease.

Brown rice is considered to be a rich source of selenium. This selenium combined with the lignans found in brown rice can help to prevent heart disease as well as aid in maintaining your overall health.

Call for Calcium

Calcium is known to help promote strong and healthy bones as well as teeth. Calcium can also play a great role in helping muscle contraction, regulating normal heart rhythms, regulating nerve function, and aiding in blood clotting. For these reasons, calcium is an important mineral for our bodies.

Luckily, brown rice is also a great source of calcium. By adding brown rice to your diet, you can increase your intake of calcium which can help to promote the overall health of your body.

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Boost It Up

Brown rice contains many vitamins and minerals that can aid in promoting the overall health of your body. From antioxidants to selenium and calcium, brown rice can be a great addition to your diet in order to give yourself a boost of energy as well as a boost in maintaining your heart health.

For anyone on a weight loss diet, adding brown rice to your plan can aid in keeping those unwanted pounds off as well as keeping yourself from giving in to those cravings you may experience during the middle of the day or in the afternoon.

Natural Oils

Natural oil is one of the best things that can help to lower cholesterol in your body. Brown rice contains these natural oils, so eating brown rice can help you to lower your cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease when in high levels.

This is another way that brown rice can help you to be healthier as well as keep your heart healthy.

Final Thoughts

Brown rice did not become a popular food until the movement started for healthier food in the 1960s and the 1970s. While brown rice is available in stores, many still prefer white rice.

Many dishes can specify that white rice should be included in the dish, but you can substitute brown rice for that white rice. Brown rice, while it looks different from white rice, has a similar flavour profile, so you do not have to worry about the taste of the brown rice ruining your dish.

The main disadvantages to substituting brown rice is that it can take longer to cook, and brown rice contains more arsenic compared to white rice. Brown rice, however, does have many advantages that can help you live healthier as well as keep your heart healthy and lose weight.