Diet, health and fitness tips for average women. Site created and maintained by Ann Chihak Poff.

Brown vs. white


A few items in my kitchen: wheat bread; brown rice; and whole wheat pasta.

Years ago I switched from eating white rice, pasta and bread to eating brown rice, pasta and bread. My reason: more nutrients. And on the old Weight Watchers plan whole wheat pasta was lower in Points. On the “newer” plan the Points are the same. But (healthy) habits are hard to break.

And I love carbs and will NEVER give them up. Yum!

When I went to do my research on brown vs. white rice and pasta the Google search also listed brown vs. white eggs … sugar. I also looked up bread.

According to The Hungry Mouse, the only major difference between brown and white eggs is the color of the shell.

According to a New York Times article, the two varieties of (brown and white) sugar are similar nutritionally.

I have been eating whole wheat (brown) bread for years. According to a Livestrong article, whole wheat brown bread has a “nutritional advantage” over white bread, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is because brown breads made from whole wheat usually contain more fiber than white bread, as well as greater amounts of important nutrients such as vitamins B-6 and E, magnesium, folic acid, copper, zinc and manganese.

According to a WebMD article, replacing white rice with brown rice can reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. According to a Livestrong article, the process of refining white rice strips away the bran and the germ, removing most of the fiber and vitamins. … Brown rice provides more nutrients and fiber than white rice, making it a better nutritional choice.

According to another Livestrong article, both white and wheat pasta are made with wheat grain, but white pasta is made with processed wheat flour, whereas whole-wheat pasta is made with unprocessed whole-wheat flour. Make sure you see the word “whole” before wheat on the ingredient list.

From the research I have done it seems that to make a grain white you have to strip away nutrients. This is what a Livestrong article says: In relation to foods made with grain, the whole-grain version is always healthier than the white, or refined, one.

For some I know it is hard to switch to brown rice or pasta or even bread. But once you switch it will be better for you. For me personally I don’t miss the texture of white pasta or rice.

4 Responses to “Brown vs. white”

  1. Jen Says:

    I was surprised to see recently on my Weight Watchers app that white rice was the same points as brown for some servings! For taste and texture, I do prefer white rice, but I have also gotten used to choosing (and liking) brown rice. My WW buddy and I were recently out to Thai dinner, and he was surprised to see me order white rice. It’s a nice treat once in a while, but not worth losing the nutrients to make that decision regularly (for me).

  2. Ann Says:

    Jen, you and I sound like we are on the same page. White rice is a nice treat. But I am so used to brown rice that I don’t even really miss white rice. I guess the only time I eat white rice is with my sushi.

  3. Nicole Says:

    Interesting! I prefer brown rice on taste alone. I’m not very familiar with WW, but your post makes me wonder about their point system…what is it based on? Calories alone? And on the sugar article, I didn’t understand from the article whether they were discussing “brown sugar” or “unrefined sugar” (brownish in color) vs refined sugar. If it’s the latter, I think there’s other sources out there that would give the edge to unrefined sugar, vs refined sugar. In the world of veganism, “they say” that refined sugar can sometimes be processed w/ animal by-products, but for myself, that’s beyond what I track.

  4. Ann Says:

    The WW Points used to be based on calories, fat and fiber. They revamped the program a couple of years ago and now the Points are based on fat, carbohydrates, fiber and protein.
    Interesting observation on the sugar article. I am not sure either. I wonder how many vegetarians know about the processing via animal by-products. In general you have to do a lot of research on food. But to be a vegetarian or vegan you really gotta research everything.