Basmati Rice vs Brown Rice: The Differences That Matter

Rice is one type of food that has been with human civilization since more than ten thousand years ago. So when you decide on cutting off rice to get started with the fitness goal, think again. There are thousands of cultivars of rice. They differ in color, shape, size, smell, and most importantly nutrient content. And some of them are actually healthy.

This article is concerned with Basmati rice and brown rice, both of which are very popular cultivars. Basmati rice especially is renowned for its aroma and taste which makes it such a perfect pairing with most South Asian cuisines.

Even if we leave that aside, basmati rice is one of the healthiest kinds of rice that you can eat. But there is some lack of consensus on this topic and there has been a Basmati rice vs. brown rice debate among fitness freaks and dieticians.

I am sure you too are here to gain some perspective into the debate and you are in the right place. The detailed difference between the two types of rice has been laid out in this post.

Key Takeaways

  • Basmati Rice and Brown rice are both considered healthy cultivars of rice.
  • Brown rice is a wholly unrefined grain but white basmati due to being processed loses some nutrients.
  • Brown basmati rice is a healthier alternative to its white counterpart.
  • Both plain brown rice and brown basmati rice have a lower glycemic index making it better for diabetics than white basmati rice.
  • Brown rice varieties of both kind are also considered better for aiding in weight loss regimes.

Basmati Rice vs. Brown Rice: Head-to-Head Comparison

Basmati Rice vs. Brown Rice

When making a decision between basmati rice and brown rice, several factors must be taken into consideration. Basmati rice, originating from the Indian subcontinent, is known for its delicacy in flavor and aroma and is commonly utilized in dishes like biryani and pilaf.

Brown rice, on the other hand, is an unrefined, whole-grain rice that has a nutty flavor and chewy texture, often used in salads and stir-fries.

Both types of rice possess unique characteristics, and the choice ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific dish being prepared.

Selecting the appropriate rice is vital in creating a successful culinary outcome.

Comparison Basis

Basmati Rice

Brown Rice


Long Grained

Long / Medium/ Short Grained

Guten Content



Nutritional Value

Low in Fiber and Protein

High In Fiber and Protein

Glycemic Index



Calorific Value ( 100 gram Serving)

128 (approx.)

112 (approx.)


Widely available in South Asia.

Widely available in the West.

Ease Of Cooking

Refined grain, hence white basmati rice takes very little time to cook.

Unrefined whole grain, hence takes longer to cook due to the presence of the Bran.

Suitable For

Biriyani, Pilaf, Meat Stew with Rice, etc.

Meat Jambalaya, Chutney Salad, Ginger-steak Fried Rice etc.

Rice Size




White- aromatic, soft and nutty.

Brown- Chewy, has a floral aroma and stickier.

Slightly sweet with a distinct nutty flavor that stands out in different dishes.


More expensive

More affordable

You will notice that the table states the availability of Basmati rice and brown rice as vaster in South Asia and Western countries respectively. This by no means indicates that the West has fewer sources of Basmati or that India does not source Brown Rice.

Since white rice is a primary component of any Asian diet, any cultivar of rice is more easily available in any part of South Asia than in Western countries. Although, these days chain grocery stores stock various kinds of rice no matter their location.

Another thing is that Basmati rice has a variable Glycemic Index depending on various factors, including the presence of its outer shell. Research has shown that Basmati rice with the shell intact has a lower GI than its processed, white counterpart.

Additionally, the GI of Basmati rice can vary depending on the specific variety being consumed or even the cooking method. [1]

For instance, some Basmati rice varieties have a higher GI than others. It is worth noting that brown basmati rice, which is the unrefined version of Basmati rice, retains its outer shell and is considered a healthier option due to its lower GI and higher nutrient content.

Nutrition Facts

The consumption of carbohydrates is an essential part of our daily dietary intake, and it is important to make healthy choices when it comes to the type of carbohydrates we consume.

Among the various types of rice available, basmati and brown rice are considered to be the healthier alternatives. While both varieties are known for their nutritional value, it is natural to question which one is the better option.

Upon closer inspection, basmati rice appears to have a slight edge in terms of calories and nutritional value compared to other rice varieties. Moreover, it is an ideal choice for diabetics who prefer foods with a low glycemic index. It is therefore justified to compare the nutritional profiles of basmati and brown rice to make an informed decision about which one is the healthier option.

For a transparent understanding of the values stated below, a serving portion of 100 grams of both types of rice (cooked) has been considered.


Basmati Rice

Brown Rice





0.3 gms

0.8 gms


1.6 mg

2 mg


35 mg

79 mg

Total Carbs

27.9 gms

23.51 gms

Dietary Fiber

4 gms

4.4 gms


0.73 mg

0.53 mg


3.52 gms

2.32 gms


1.2 mg

2.13 mg


20% of Daily Value

18% Of Daily Value


0.16 mg

0.10 mg


2.0 mg

1.53 mg

Vitamin B6

0.2 mg

0.15 mg

Basmati Rice

Basmati Rice

Basmati rice is a highly sought-after variety of rice known for its characteristic slender grains and distinct aroma. The origins of this rice can be traced back to the Indian subcontinent, but it is presently cultivated in many parts of the world, including the United States. It is commonly used in the preparation of biryani and pilaf, owing to its fluffy texture and nutty flavor.

Additionally, basmati rice is a rich source of carbohydrates and essential nutrients, such as thiamine and niacin.

In order to achieve optimal results, it is recommended to rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking and to use a ratio of one part rice to two parts water. Given its delicious taste and numerous health benefits, basmati rice is an excellent inclusion in any diet.

But as is true for all food types, basmati rice also has some positive components and drawbacks. Let us have a look.


  • Basmati rice contains only a small amount of fat, making it a perfect addition to any weight loss program.
  • It has a lower glycemic index than plain white rice varieties, which means it is digested slowly, providing a steady supply of energy to the body.
  • Basmati rice is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, niacin, and vitamin B6.
  • It contains Soluble Fiber that can help to lower blood cholesterol and sugar levels.
  • Basmati rice that is sourced from India (the largest exporter) and Pakistan has some of the lowest arsenic levels found in all kinds of rice. [8]
  • Brown basmati is a whole grain and less processed variety of its white counterpart. Whole grains have been found to have protective qualities against heart diseases, cancer, and premature death. [9]
  • Rice can contain some allergens, triggering food allergies.[10] Basmati rice is considered a low-allergenic food and a safe option for people with lots of food allergies.


  • Consuming white basmati rice may adversely affect Blood sugar levels because it is a refined grain. [11]
  • Basmati rice is also slightly higher in calories, which can be a concern for individuals seeking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Basmati rice has more carbohydrates and less fiber compared to brown rice.
  • Basmati rice is generally more expensive than other varieties of rice.
  • In some instances, Basmati rice has been shown to adversely affect people with autoimmune disorders.

Brown rice

Brown rice

Brown rice has long been regarded as a simple, yet nutritious staple food source. Compared to white non-aromatic rice, brown rice has been touted as the healthier alternative due to its less processed nature, which allows for the preservation of the bran and germ.

Despite having a similar caloric and carbohydrate content to its white counterpart, the benefits of consuming brown rice far outweigh any potential drawbacks. In this regard, a comprehensive list of the pros and cons of brown rice can be presented.


  • Exceptionally high in manganese, which is responsible for many bodily processes, bone development, wound healing, muscle contraction metabolism, nerve function, and blood sugar regulation. [2]
  • Excellent source of vitamins (Thiamin (B1 , Niacin(B3) , Pyridoxine(B6) , Pantothenic acid (B5) and Riboflavin( B2).
  • Contains antioxidants, namely phenols and flavonoids which protect the body against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with health conditions such as heart disease, some cancer types, and premature aging. [3]
  • The same antioxidants also protect against free radicals that cause inflammation and even cancer. [4]
  • Brown rice is naturally gluten-free and thus can be safely consumed by people with auto-immune diseases.
  • It is a great option for people trying to lose weight.
  • It is a better choice for diabetics who need filling food with a low glycemic index to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
  • Brown rice takes longer to digest, leading to an extended sensation of satiety.


  • Brown rice can be harder to chew
  • Contains high levels of Phytic acid [5], an anti-nutrient that prohibits the easy absorption of other nutrients by the body.
  • Prone to fungal growth. Both uncooked and cooked brown rice are quite vulnerable to the growth of a carcinogenic fungus called Aflatoxin.
  • Pregnant women and children may be advised to avoid brown rice due to its arsenic content [6] and unrefined nature. Although, the arsenic levels are closely related to the growing conditions of the rice cultivar. [7]

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Which Is Better For Diabetics Basmati Rice Or Brown Rice?

Brown Rice can be said to be better for Diabetes than White Basmati Rice.

Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of brown rice consumption and its potential to offer various advantages when consumed in the recommended amount. One such benefit is its lower glycemic index compared to white basmati rice, which can be particularly useful for those seeking ways to manage their diabetes levels effectively.

Furthermore, brown rice is known to be rich in fiber, which can aid in feeling fuller after consuming a smaller portion, contributing to lower blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Since maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial in preventing diabetes, incorporating brown rice into one’s diet can be a prudent way to manage type 2 diabetes.

However, if you are seeking a delectable alternative to brown rice, brown basmati rice can be a suitable substitute. While white basmati may not be ideal for diabetes, brown basmati is a healthier alternative.

So to sum up, if you are a/an:

  • Person with normal blood sugar levels – You can for white Basmati or Brown
  • Person with Diabetes- Go for brown rice or brown basmati.
  • Athlete – You can go for White Basmati or plain white rice.
  • Athletes with diabetes- Go for brown rice.

Which Is Better For Weight Loss Basmati Rice Or Brown Rice?

Brown rice is considered the optimal choice for those seeking to shed extra pounds. This is due to its high fiber content, which enhances metabolism and promotes accelerated weight loss.

Additionally, brown rice boasts lower levels of refined carbohydrates and fewer calories, while also containing a wealth of vital nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent choice for overall health and well-being.

However, as has been mentioned in the previous section, if you happen to enjoy the taste of basmati rice more than brown rice then you can consider brown basmati rice. It is a whole grain rice and thus contains more nutrients than its white counterpart.

It is infact a better idea to switch to a tasty and healthy alternative for weight loss to keep you motivated, rather than losing enthusiasm for having to eat something you are not particularly fond of.

Which is Healthier Brown Rice Or Basmati Rice?

The answer to this query needs some perspective into the goal of the individual. As what is “healthy” for one person may not be necessarily so for someone else. Allow me to present a simple example: a fit person with no ailments may consume white basmati rice with no effect on their well-being whatsoever but if a diabetic switches to white basmati, they may notice a spike in blood sugar levels.

For individuals seeking healthier alternatives, it is generally advisable to opt for brown rice or brown basmati rice.

When comparing the health benefits of brown rice and brown basmati rice, here are some additional points to consider:

  1. Fiber Content: Both brown rice and brown basmati rice are rich in dietary fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, helps maintain stable blood sugar levels, and supports heart health.
  2. Nutrient Density: Brown rice and brown basmati rice are more nutrient-dense than their white counterparts. They contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are largely stripped away during the refining process of white rice.
  3. Lower Glycemic Index: Brown rice and brown basmati rice have a lower glycemic index compared to white rice. This means they cause a slower, steadier rise in blood sugar levels, making them suitable for individuals with diabetes or those looking to manage their weight.
  4. Whole Grain Benefits: Both varieties are considered whole grains, which have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
  5. Improved Weight Management: The higher fiber content and lower glycemic index of brown rice and brown basmati rice can help with satiety and weight management, as they help you feel full for longer.
  6. Digestive Health: The fiber in these rice varieties supports a healthy digestive system by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.
  7. Nutritional Variety: While both are nutritious options, brown basmati rice has a distinct flavor and aroma that some people prefer, adding variety to their diet.

In summary, both brown rice and brown basmati rice are excellent choices for those seeking healthier options. They offer numerous health benefits compared to white rice and white Basmati rice due to their higher fiber and nutrient content, lower glycemic index, and potential contributions to better weight management and digestive health.

The choice between them often comes down to personal taste and culinary preferences.

But if a person wants to lose weight through means of intense exercising, they can safely consume white basmati rice because the difference in calories is honestly not that much and it will be lost easily with exercise.

Bodybuilders and athletes prefer white rice, be it plain or basmati. Because of the processed nature of this rice, it is easier to digest and gives athletes an instant boost of energy from carb consumption.

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Final Word

When considering which type of rice to consume, personal preference plays a significant role. Factors such as taste, texture, and cost should be taken into account.

However, it is highly recommended to opt for a rice type with a lower glycemic index to regulate blood sugar levels.

Ultimately, the most suitable type of rice to consume is the one that supports an individual’s overall health, physical, and performance goals.

It is advised to thoroughly wash and cook rice with ample water to reduce heavy metal content. Incorporating these practices into one’s diet can promote optimal health and well-being.


  1. Gunathilaka, M.D., & Ekanayake, S. (2015). Effect of different cooking methods on glycaemic index of Indian and Pakistani basmati rice varieties. The Ceylon medical journal, 60 2, 57-61 .
  2. Bowman, A. B., Kwakye, G. F., Hernández, E. H., & Aschner, M. (2011). Role of manganese in neurodegenerative diseases. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 25(4), 191-203.
  3. Ichiishi, E., Li, X. K., & Iorio, E. L. (2016). Oxidative Stress and Diseases: Clinical Trials and Approaches. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2016, 3458276.
  4. Pérez-Cano, F. J., & Castell, M. (2016). Flavonoids, Inflammation, and Immune System. Nutrients, 8(10), 659.
  5. Albarracín, M., González, R. J., & Drago, S. R. (2013). Effect of soaking process on nutrient bio-accessibility and phytic acid content of brown rice cultivar. LWT-food Science and Technology, 53(1), 76-80.
  6. Halder, D., Bhowmick, S., Biswas, A., Mandal, U., Nriagu, J., Guha Mazumdar, D. N., … & Bhattacharya, P. (2012). Consumption of brown rice: a potential pathway for arsenic exposure in rural Bengal. Environmental science & technology, 46(7), 4142-4148.
  7. Fu, Y., Chen, M., Bi, X., He, Y., Ren, L., Xiang, W., Qiao, S., Yan, S., Li, Z., & Ma, Z. (2011). Occurrence of arsenic in brown rice and its relationship to soil properties from Hainan Island, China. Environmental Pollution, 159(7), 1757-1762.
  8. Lai, P. Y., Cottingham, K. L., Steinmaus, C., Karagas, M. R., & Miller, M. D. (2015). Arsenic and Rice: Translating Research to Address Health Care Providers’ Needs. The Journal of pediatrics, 167(4), 797–803.
  9. Aune, D., Keum, N., Giovannucci, E., Fadnes, L. T., Boffetta, P., Greenwood, D. C., Tonstad, S., Vatten, L. J., Riboli, E., & Norat, T. (2016). Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 353, i2716.
  10. Jeon, Y. H., Oh, S. J., Yang, H. J., Lee, S. Y., & Pyun, B. Y. (2011). Identification of major rice allergen and their clinical significance in children. Korean journal of pediatrics, 54(10), 414–421.
  11. Musa-Veloso, K., Poon, T., Harkness, L. S., O’Shea, M., & Chu, Y. (2018). The effects of whole-grain compared with refined wheat, rice, and rye on the postprandial blood glucose response: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 108(4), 759–774.