Nutritional and Carb Information of Rice

Nutritional Information, Glycemic Index, Calories, Protein

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Rice is an important part of the diet of most of the world's population. Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice, in which the bran and germ have been removed, though most white rice is enriched with (at least) niacin, thiamin, and iron (in the U.S. this is required). Note: It is more accurate to say that the extra vitamins are on the rice rather than in the rice -- rinsing the rice before cooking can remove a lot of these added nutrients.

The amount that rice will raise blood sugar is partly determined by the amount of amylose in the rice. (There are two kinds of starches in our food; most of it is called amylopectin, and the rest is amylose. Amylose is more slowly/less easily digested.) In general, longer grained rice has more amylose. You can tell by the fact that this rice doesn't clump together as much. At the other end of the spectrum are the sticky ("glutinous") rice used in sushi and the arborio rice used to make creamy risottos. These rices have a very high glycemic index, whereas long-grain rices, particularly if they are brown, have a more moderate glycemic index.

Obviously, people on low-carb diets, or who are watching their carbs in general need to be careful about eating much rice.  A great (and surprisingly easy-to-make) alternative is Cauliflower Rice.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Rice

  • ½ cup of cooked medium-grain brown rice: 21 grams of effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, and 109 calories

Glycemic Index for Rice

The glycemic index of rice has been studied a lot. The glycemic index range is from 50 to 90. In general, white rice is higher than brown, and shorter-grain are higher than longer-grain, but there is a fair amount of variation.

Also, in general, the amylose content is somewhat more important glycemically than whether it is white or brown.

More Information About the Glycemic Index

Glycemic Load of Rice

  • ½ cup of cooked white rice: 17
  • ½ cup of cooked brown rice: 13

More Information About the Glycemic Load

Health Benefits of Rice

Rice is an excellent source of manganese and a very good source of magnesium. Brown rice and enriched rice are fair sources of thiamin, niacin, and Vitamin B6.

Selecting and Storing Rice

Although brown rice preferable as it is much higher in many nutrients than white rice, the oils in it are more likely to go rancid, so it's a good idea to store it in the refrigerator or freezer. 

You may have heard alarming things about arsenic in rice.  Here is the statement from the FDA about the situation.

More Information About Rice at Calorie Count.

More Carb Profiles:


Brand Miller, Janette, et al. "Rice: a High or Low Glycemic Index Food?" The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 56, 1992, pp. 1034-1036.

Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002).
USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28

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