- Some people prefer the nuttiness of brown rice, while others prefer the aromatic taste of jasmine rice.
- You can find both brown and white rice in the jasmine variety.
- Whichever you choose comes down to your health, goals, and personal preference.
- Make sure that you are getting a variety of whole grains if you favor brown rice, to avoid possible side effects.
As a bodybuilder, is rice a staple item in your diet?
Do you tend to stick to a specific type of rice over another, or have a preferred go-to rice variety?
Do you wonder if there is a type of rice that might be the healthiest choice for you?
Our general consensus on those two battles is that no variety is necessarily “better” than another. Though, the different varieties each have different fiber, carbohydrate, and glycemic index values.
Ultimately, the best type of rice depends on your specific health, goals, and preferences.
Now today, we’re going to discuss jasmine rice vs brown rice. Do you think we’ll come to the same conclusion, or will one win the battle?
Let’s take a look at:
- What is brown rice?
- What is jasmine rice?
- Similarities and differences
- Health implications you should be aware of
- What science believes about the two rice types
- If one is superior to the other
What is Brown Rice?
Brown rice is considered an unrefined, whole grain. One thing almost all rice varieties have in common is that the hard, inedible outer shell is removed.
What makes brown rice a whole grain is that the processing stops there.
Brown rice is made up of three layers:
The outer layer, rich in:
- B vitamins
The middle “core” layer, rich in:
- Vitamin E
- B vitamins
- Healthy fats
The inner layer, rich in:
- B vitamins
Phytochemicals are naturally occurring chemical compounds, studied and linked to helping with disease prevention
Due to the number of vitamins and minerals in brown rice, many believe it to be superior to white rice. This is because white rice is further processed, removing the bran and germ, leaving just the endosperm.
There are various health benefits to eating brown rice compared to other varieties, namely white rice. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Brown rice might be a better choice for people who need to regulate their blood sugar. Anyone who is at risk for type 2 diabetes might find brown rice preferable.
In fact, women who eat large quantities of white rice while pregnant can create insulin resistance in their offspring. This means their children are more likely to develop diabetes than others.
Brown rice’s lower glycemic index means that it does not spike insulin levels as white rice can. For people who worry about or need to regulate their blood sugar, brown rice might be a better choice.
Helps Protect Against Heart and other Diseases
If you’re worried about heart disease, consider adding or increasing your brown rice intake.
When comparing 45 studies on the effects of a high whole-grain diet on certain diseases, results were surprising. The meta-analysis revealed that choosing whole grains over refined grains reduced risk of:
- Heart disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory disease
- Nervous disorder disease
- Premature death from the above diseases
A separate meta-analysis of seven studies indicates that whole grains can reduce cardiovascular disease by up to 21%.
The phenolic compounds in brown rice are highly antioxidant. The antioxidants and phytochemicals in brown rice also help prevent these diseases.
You can thank the bran layer of the rice for the bulk of the phytochemicals.
Another positive for brown rice? It contains the plant compound lignan, which can also help protect against the diseases listed above.
Fun fact: flaxseed has the highest amount of lignan of all plants. If you want to learn more about flaxseed and it’s other health benefits, check out this article!
When comparing whole grains to refined grains, whole grains are better in controlling weight and body circumference.
A long term study from 2001 – 2012 on a total of 29,683 adults and 15,280 children shows the reasoning. Those who stuck to a whole grain diet had lower overall waist circumference and body mass index (BMI).
While these next studies focused on women, we have one on men that show similar results.
Thirty-five overweight or obese women were divided between two groups. Of the group who ate brown rice, there was a significant difference in weight, waist, and hip circumference.
What’s more, these women also had lower blood pressure readings and inflammation.
A 12-year study of 74,091 female nurses set out to determine long term effects of choosing a high fiber, whole grain diet.
Of those who did, all showed less in weight gain and more weight control than the refined grain group.
Finally, this study was focused on breakfast cereals but is in line with eating more whole grains over refined grains.
U.S male physicians ranging from 40 to 82 years old were examined. Of the 17,881 men, those who ate breakfast cereal regularly were:
- Twenty-two percent less likely to be overweight at the 8-year mark
- Twelve percent less likely to be overweight at the 13-year mark
This study reasons that the result of lower body weight is due to several factors included in a whole grain diet:
- Higher satiety
- Better gut health
- Lower energy density
- Lower glycemic index
So far, we’ve discussed what brown rice is and the benefits of eating it. Are there dangers to brown rice that you should be worried about?
Dangers of Eating Brown Rice?
Even though there seem to be many good reasons to eat brown rice, there are some side effects to consider.
While we know that there are benefits to having whole grains in your diet, can you eat too much brown rice?
Turns out, it can have some negative effects on your digestive tract. If you eat too much brown rice, the fiber content can cause:
So if you find that you’re experiencing these effects, you might want to reconsider your brown rice intake.
We know that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three to five servings of whole grains daily. A mix of different whole grains is key to reducing intestinal upset.
To give you an idea of how much a serving is, consider these measurements per whole grain:
- One-half cup cooked rice
- One small muffin weighing one ounce
- One cup of cereal
- One ounce dry pasta
Some people are sensitive to gluten products, while others can’t tolerate gluten at all. Those who can’t tolerate it are typically diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease.
If you find that gluten causes you distress, you might want to investigate your food intake. Rice in all forms is naturally gluten-free.
So, if you find that eating rice causes you to have a gluten sensitivity, it might be cross-contamination.
Some rice also has ingredient additives, so be sure to check the ingredients list carefully before purchase. Any gluten sensitivity is not from the rice, but rather a contaminant or added ingredients.
Some people worry about consuming brown rice due to arsenic. While it’s true that arsenic is naturally present in whole grains like brown rice, this shouldn’t be cause for concern.
In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put together an externally peer reviewed report on arsenic contamination in food.
What they found specific to arsenic in brown rice is that the amount is so low, it is not cause for concern. It should also not be enough to cause any adverse reactions in individuals who consume brown rice.
If you are worried about arsenic in brown rice, here are three things you can do:
- Diversify your whole grains so you are consuming less brown rice in your overall diet.
- Rinse your rice prior to cooking.
- Cook your rice in six times the amount of water recommended on the packaging. By doing this, you reduce the level of arsenic present by as much as half.
Most whole grains contain phytic acid in their raw state, including brown rice. The concern for some people is that phytic acid binds to zinc and prevents it from absorbing in the bloodstream.
On our own, we do not produce enough phytase to break down phytic acid.
However, there are ways to increase phytase in our systems. There are also things you can do to reduce phytic acid in brown rice.
Taking probiotics can increase the level of phytase in your system, helping to break down any phytic acid in brown rice. Pairing animal protein with brown rice also helps promote zinc absorption in your system.
To help remove some of the phytic acids in the brown rice, consider this before you start cooking:
- Soak uncooked brown rice in non-chlorinated water for at least 24 hours at room temperature.
- Pour out almost all of the soaking water, reserving about 10%, and add more non-chlorinated water. Soak for at least 12 more hours.
Labor-intensive? A little bit. Time-consuming? Definitely.
But there is another benefit to soaking your brown rice: softer, fluffier cooked rice. And, you will reduce the phytic acid present by as much as 96 percent.
Now that we’ve taken a close look at brown rice, let’s take a look at jasmine rice to see how it compares.
What is Jasmine Rice?
Jasmine rice is a variety of aromatic Thai rice known as Oryza sativa. It is grown predominantly in:
- Southern Vietnam
In the United States, we mainly get imported jasmine rice varieties from Thailand and some from Vietnam. Shape, texture, and aromatics differ slightly from each region.
The jasmine rice we typically eat is known as Thai Hom Mali rice. It has a slightly sweet taste and is soft and moist when cooked. It also has a somewhat sticky texture to it. Unlike brown rice, jasmine rice can be processed into three separate types of rice:
- Paddy rice – the hull remains intact (typically only eaten in Asia)
- Brown rice – the hull is removed
- White rice – the hull and some or all of the bran is removed, leaving only the endosperm
When cooked, the aromatic compound 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline evaporates and releases the familiar jasmine aroma.
The key difference between jasmine rice and brown rice is the aromatics and different growing regions. However, some would say that jasmine rice is superior to standard brown rice.
Comparing jasmine rice vs brown rice, the brown jasmine version has many of the same benefits, vitamins, and minerals. Similarly, the white jasmine rice version has the same properties as standard white rice.
Jasmine Rice: World’s Best Rice?
Each year, the World Rice Conference is held in a different location, with worldwide suppliers and growers in attendance. All sponsors and delegates are able to participate in the tasting conference, vying for the title of best-tasting rice.
During the 2016 and 2017 World Rice Conference, Thai jasmine rice won back the title of best rice. They had tied with Cambodia jasmine in 2014 and the U.S. Calrose variety won in 2015.
In 2018, the Cambodia jasmine again won the top prize for best rice. Do you think the Thai jasmine rice can win back their title in the upcoming World Rice Conference in November?
Now that we’ve learned more about jasmine rice and brown rice, let’s look at the nutritional comparison of both varieties.
Nutrition Comparison: Jasmine Rice vs Brown Rice
When it comes to comparing the nutritional value of jasmine rice vs brown rice, does one come out ahead? Let’s take a look and find out.
When it comes to calories jasmine rice vs brown rice doesn’t matter. They both have the same calories, so you can choose whichever one fits your preferences.
They each have 1.1 calories per gram and are both low energy-dense foods. That means you get fuller faster and the food stays with you longer.
Therefore, jasmine or brown rice are both great options for people who have to stay within a certain caloric intake to meet their goals.
Fiber and Carbohydrates
As we discussed earlier, brown rice has more fiber compared to white rice because it’s a whole grain. The actual amounts in each rice are as follows:
- One cup of cooked brown rice has 3.5 grams of fiber and 45 grams of carbohydrates.
- The same amount of brown jasmine rice has 2.9 grams of fiber and 57 grams of carbs.
- White jasmine rice has about 0.5 grams of fiber with 45 grams of carbs.
So you see the amount of fiber and carbs in each type of rice does vary.
Fat and Protein
There is about the same amount of protein in plain brown rice and both varieties of jasmine rice.
When it comes to fat, there is going to be more fat in the brown rice versions over the white jasmine rice. This is due to the whole grain nature of brown rice.
The fat content is contained in the germ layer of the brown rice.
For one cup of cooked white jasmine rice, there is less than a half gram of fat. Both brown varieties contain almost five grams of fat for the same serving size.
White Rice Preferred by Bodybuilders?
Generic white rice has some benefits to certain people, especially bodybuilders. White rice is a highly digestible carbohydrate and has been long preferred for lifters.
We’re sure you’ve heard of the “white rice and chicken diet” that some competitive lifters and athletes eat. Do you know why they prefer white rice before, during or after a strenuous workout?
White rice is slightly higher on the glycemic index than brown rice. For athletes and bodybuilders, the higher carbohydrates are a good thing.
A tough workout depletes your glycogen stores, which are needed for energy production. If you’ve ever been working out and suddenly “hit the wall,” that might mean your glycogen is too low.
Eating a carbohydrate-rich food like white rice helps keep your glycogen in check and helps promote muscle recovery.
Without enough carbohydrates, your body might resort to using your muscle proteins instead of energy. This can not only reduce muscle gains but actually reduce the muscle mass you’ve already built.
This is why, for some athletes and bodybuilders, white rice is sometimes preferable to brown rice. And since you can get jasmine rice in either brown or white variety, it might be a great option for you.
It all comes down to personal preference, your tolerance for brown rice, and your goals. Golden Era great & Old School Labs Ambassador Samir Bannout preferred white rice, while Lee Haney preferred brown rice.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to the debate of jasmine rice vs brown rice, there really isn’t a clear cut winner. This is mainly due to the fact that jasmine rice can come in a white and brown rice variety.
The aroma and taste might be preferable in either it’s white or brown form.
Eating brown rice often can cause intestinal upset, gas, and bloating. You may want to steer clear of eating it regularly and incorporate a white variety.
However, the benefits of eating more whole grains mean brown rice should remain in your recipe rotation.
If you are more sedentary, then brown rice might be more preferable due to its whole grain benefits. Watching your weight, regulating blood sugar, and preventing certain diseases are also good reasons to consider brown rice.
So really, the bottom line is this: depending on your health, goals, and preferences, either is a good option. Figure out which variety works for you and your diet.
You might find that you’ll eat brown rice one day, and jasmine white rice the next. If you prefer more aromatic rice (which lends itself well in Asian dishes) you might eat more jasmine varieties.
One thing we can all agree on though is all things in moderation. You probably won’t have rice in your diet every single day unless you are working on competition goals or bulking.
Again, this is where your goals and health limitations (if any) come into play. Do what works for you, and make changes if/when needed.
Do you have a preferred variety of rice? Or do you change up the type of rice you eat to meet your goals? Let us know in the comments below!