Black Rice vs White Rice – The Differences & Nutritional Comparison

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black rice vs white rice

Wondering what the difference is between black rice and white rice? You’re in the right place. In this article, we will explore: 

  • The main differences between black and white rice.
  • The nutritional differences between black rice and white rice.
  • How each affects your sugar levels.
  • How preparing white rice and black rice differs.

What’s the Difference Between Black Rice and White Rice?

Anthocyanins

Though both are members of the Oryza sativa (Asian Rice) family, black rice and white rice are almost entirely different by the time they reach your table. Black rice is a whole grain that is un-milled or sometimes semi-milled. White rice is always heavily milled. 

The milling process removes the bran (outer husk) of the rice and its underlying fatty layer. These strata are where most of the rice’s fiber, protein, and nutritional value are stored. When they are removed, there is little left but a lump of starch. 

Beyond the added nutritional value that black rice adds, its color comes from a family of compounds called Anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are potent antioxidants. This group of flavonoids fights free radicals and helps boost your immunity.

One other major difference between white rice and black is that black rice is more fragrant and flavorful. If you have never tried it, it is like going from drinking water to wine.

So to summarize, black rice:

  • Is much tastier.
  • Is more nutritious.
  • Is higher in fiber.
  • Is higher in protein.
  • Is lower in calories.
  • Has added health benefits.

Nutrition Table

Per 100g Cooked White Rice Cooked Black Rice
Calories 130 (7% DV) 145 (7% DV)
Fat 0.3g 0g
Carbohydrates 33.3g 28.2g
Protein 2.7g 2.9g
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Fiber 0.4g 0
Sugar 0.1g 0g
Iron 1.2mg 0mg
Vitamin B1 0.2mg 0mg
Vitamin B5 0.4mg 0mg
Folate 0μg 58μg

What’s More Nutritious?

Black rice is more nutritious, hands down. It is minimally processed, which means all of the goodness that nature has packed into its tiny grains is still there. On the other hand, white rice is heavily milled, stripping away most of the fiber and many of the healthy fatty acids and vitamins that it once contained. 

It also must be remembered that black rice’s color comes from an exceedingly high Anthocyanins content. Anthocyanins are the same immunity-building flavonoid antioxidants that make dark grapes, blueberries, purple sweet potatoes, and red cabbage healthy.

Moreover, Black rice contains high levels of arabinoxylan and beta-glucan, which are essential for maintaining a healthy stomach. They promote the growth of the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacteria which are necessary for proper digestion and the absorption of nutrients from everything you eat.

Glycemic Index 

The glycemic index is a scale used to rate how foods affect your blood sugar (glucose) levels. The higher and faster the spike caused by a portion of food, the higher it will rank on the scale. The glycemic index is used to aid in the management of weight loss, diabetes, and cholesterol. 

As a general rule, foods that fall lower on the glycemic index are considered healthier. They cause less of an insulin spike. Insulin spikes have been found to cause damage to blood vessels, organs, and nerves. 

Due to its more complex nature and slower digestion rate, black rice falls much lower on the glycemic index than white rice.

Black Rice

Black rice has an average glycemic index of 43 which is considered low (below 55). This places it in the same category as other healthy foods like yogurt, lentils, apricots, bananas, and apples.

White Rice

Harvard Health Publishing reports that white rice has an average glycemic index of 73 but can rate as high as an astounding 96 depending on variety, grain size, and milling method. This places it very close to refined white sugar. White sugar is at the top of the scale at 100.

Cooking Time

Black rice is un-milled or semi-milled at worst. This means the fiber and vitamin-rich outer layer (bran) and its nutritious underlying fatty layer are still attached. White rice has these layers removed during the milling process leaving the pleasingly white grain. 

Black Rice

Because it is more complex black rice can take almost twice as long as white rice to cook. Black rice comes in many varieties and can be cooked several different ways, including the:

  • Absorption method.
  • Pasta method.
  • Pilaf method.
  • In rice cookers.

Depending on the particular black rice’s kernel size, the cooking method, and the volume to be prepared, it can take from 20 to 50 minutes to cook. It is best to experiment with small batches till you get used to cooking black rice.

White Rice

White rice is much less complicated than black rice. Once milled, it is basically a grain of starch. Because the protective bran has been removed, it absorbs moisture much faster and cooks quicker. It can be prepared in any way black rice can but will only take two-thirds to half the time. Depending on the grain size and cooking method, you can make white rice, in family-sized amounts, in as little as 10 minutes. Larger quantities naturally take longer to cook. 

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