By contrast, white rice is what’s left behind after the grain is polished and the bran and germ are removed. This makes white rice cook faster and gives it a longer shelf life. It also means that white rice contains fewer nutrients than brown rice. But this does not mean that white rice is inherently bad for you, though it is less healthy, says Elizabeth Ryan, a researcher at Colorado State University who studies the nutrients in rice bran. “At the end of the day, eating whole grains is always going to be important,” Ryan said. Brown rice has more fiber and protein than white rice, which is good, but brown rice also has more calories, more carbs and more fat than white rice. If you’re just looking at the numbers, white rice seems slightly healthier. That said, white rice has a higher glycemic index, meaning your body breaks it down faster, creating higher levels of blood glucose and promoting higher levels of insulin response. That can be troubling for those at risk of type 2 diabetes, but not a big deal for others. Brown rice is packed with more nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, copper and potassium. But a lot of white rice is enriched, which helps close the nutrient gap between the two. All told, these two versions of the same grain are neck and neck. In fact, one 1996 study out of Portugal found there to be no “evidence that the brown rice diet is better than the diet based on white rice,” despite the higher nutrient contents of brown rice. The higher amounts of fiber in brown rice will also work to keep you fuller longer, potentially making you consume less calories over time. It also improves the good gut bacteria of your microbiome. Studies have shown that regular consumption of whole grains is associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Makes sense because brown rice is lower on the glycemic index. This study in particular shows that a group of overweight people who ate more brown rice than white were successful in reducing their glucose levels as well as their resistance to insulin. Brown rice has almost 4 times as much of the mineral magnesium compared to white, important for healthy bones and teeth and also helping regulate blood glucose levels and blood pressure.