Carbohydrates in Brown, White, and Wild Rice: Good vs. Bad Carbs

Medically reviewed by Natalie Olsen, RD, LD, ACSM EP-C on June 27, 2017Written by Emily Cronkleton on June 27, 2017


There are 52 grams of carbs in one cup of long-grain cooked brown rice, while the same amount of cooked, enriched short-grain white rice has about 53 grams of carbs. On the other hand, cooked wild rice only has 35 grams of carbs, making it one of the best options if you want to reduce your carb intake.

Amount of carbs in rice

Brown rice

Total carbs: 52 grams (one cup, long-grain cooked rice)

Brown rice is the go-to rice in some health food circles since it’s considered to be more nutritious. Brown rice is a whole grain and has more fiber than white rice. It’s also a great source of magnesium and selenium. It may help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower cholesterol, and achieve an ideal body weight. Depending on the type, it may taste nutty, aromatic, or sweet.

White rice

Total carbs: 53 grams (one cup, short-grain, cooked)

White rice is the most popular type of rice and might be the one most used. The processing white rice undergoes depletes it of some of its fiber, vitamin, and minerals. But some types of white rice are enriched with additional nutrients. It’s still a popular choice across the board.

Wild rice

Total carbs: 35 grams (one cup, cooked)

Wild rice is actually the grain of four different species of grass. Though technically it’s not a rice, it’s commonly referred to as one for practical purposes. Its chewy texture has an earthy, nutty flavor that many find appealing. Wild rice is also rich in nutrients and antioxidants.

Black rice

Total carbs: 34 grams (one cup, cooked)

Black rice has a distinct texture and sometimes turns purple once cooked. It’s full of fiber and contains iron, protein, and antioxidants. It’s often used in dessert dishes since some types are slightly sweet. You can experiment using black rice in a variety of dishes.

Red rice

Total carbs: 45 grams (one cup, cooked)

Red rice is another nutritious choice that also has a lot of fiber. Many people enjoy its nutty taste and chewy texture. However, the flavor of red rice can be quite complex. You may find its color an aesthetic enhancement to certain dishes.

Good vs. bad carbs

Try to get your carbs from whole grain sources like brown or wild rice, which both contain healthy fiber. It’s also important to make sure you’re eating the correct amount of carbs daily.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that you get between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates each day. This should make up about 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories and should be eaten throughout the day. Always try to make nutritious choices when it comes to carbs, as they’re not all equal.

Low-carb rice options

Do you love the texture of rice but want to use a rice substitute with fewer carbs? You can by making rice out of cauliflower or broccoli. You can also use koniac, which is an Asian root vegetable. This is known as Shirataki rice.

While you can purchase the low-carb rice substitutes at some specialty health food stores and grocery stores, you may want to consider making some on your own. Making them is relatively simple:

  • Chop the vegetable of your choice to place in a food processor
  • Pulse in a food processor until you achieve your desired consistency
  • You can put it in the microwave for a few minutes or cook on the stove. You may want to cook it for a shorter time to retain some of the raw crunch.

The takeaway

As with most things in life, balance and moderation are key. Make it a point to pair rice with exceptionally nutritious, healthy foods. Be sure to limit your portion to one cup of rice per meal. It should only make up about a third or quarter of your meal.

Ideally rice should be paired with vegetables and lean protein. Use it as a side dish or in soups or casseroles. Brown rice can help you to feel fuller so that you aren’t craving more food too soon. Plus, it can give you the energy you need to get through your day.

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