Health Benefits of Basmati Rice VS Brown Rice

basmati rice

There are so many types of rice on the market today, but which ones are healthiest? People who have cut out the “white foods” (white sugar, white rice, white flour, white potatoes) are well aware of the health dangers of eating ‘simple carbs,’ and the health benefits of complex carbohydrates. But why is brown rice healthier, and is basmati rice like ‘white rice’ or is it healthy? Basmati rice is in fact healthier, but here some of the reasons why…

Basmati rice is typically a long-grain rice, while brown rice an come in short-grain or long-grain varieties. Brown rice is a whole food and complex carb, meaning it is slow to digest and slow to release energy into the system, which helps curb hunger, and promotes health rather than getting a quick “sugar-like high” from the quick-release carbohydrates that white rice provides.

However, brown rice also takes much longer to cook, and has a chewier texture and consistency than does its whiter cousins. Basmati is not exactly like brown rice, nor is it exactly like white rice either, but first let me explain the problem with white rice…

White rice and the diabetes connection

White rice is hulled, meaning the skin, which has all the nutrition, is removed, leaving a high-glycemic starchy lump that acts like sugar in the body, which affects millions of people worldwide in increased hunger and spikes in blood glucose levels.

Sugar and refined/simple carbohydrates, which contribute to diabetes type 2 in the body, is becoming a health concern, such as for people in China, where 12% of their population (about 14 million) now is diabetic partially due to the vast amounts of daily white rice and white flour noodles they consume… this is the highest incidence of diabetes in the world.

Genetics and the propensity for getting diabetes also play a role. People in the United States tend to be prone to diabetes if they are of African-American origin, or Native American, for instance. However, diabetes can typically be avoided by eating a proper and healthy diet. Staying away from the white foods, like rice that has been hulled, is easy enough. So what of basmati rice?

Basmati rice is unhulled and healthy

I spoke with Jacob Demetrius from Chicago, Illinois whom is a doctor, counselor, writer, guide, instructor and coach, who promotes healthy eating at the Facebook group called “Health, Nutrition, and Natural Remedies”. I learned that basmati rice LOOKS like white rice, but it is not! It is actually a whole food (not separated/divided, or processed).

Jacob Demetrius told me, “Usually anything white in the form of rice is hulled, but the white basmati rice grows like that so it is unhulled. There is also a brown basmati rice, but the white is equal or better. The glycemic index is important as well besides the fiber. Brown rice has a glycemic index of 55, making it a low-glycemic index food. Basmati rice is 52 making it also a low-glycemic food. So it is tasty, and an aromatic rice.”

In the Vancouver, BC area you can get it at health food stores, as well as most regular grocery stores, but “your best bet might be to buy it at an Indian grocery store,” says Demetrius.

For those interested, an authoritative source on the glycemic index is here.


The author of this story is a freelance contributor to National Nutraceuticals’ online news portals, such as Amino Acid Information Center at and Vancouver Health News at  National Nutraceuticals, Inc. also owns and operates a third health news portal focusing on medicinal mushrooms at, plus our newest portal at

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