We all know the struggle — you're standing in the Chipotle line, anxiously awaiting your overflowing burrito — but then you start to feel just a tiny bit guilty. Maybe getting brown rice will make it just a tiny bit healthier… right? That must be how it works. 

Most of us know that brown rice is considered the “prime” or healthier option when picking between white and brown, but not many of us actually know why.

Essentially, white and brown rice were once exactly the same thing — before white rice was refined, it looked and tasted exactly like brown rice. However, brown rice still contains the hull and brans that actually make it better for you to eat and are full of proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber and potassium.

White rice, on the other hand has been stripped of these nutrients during the refining process, so manufacturers actually add unnatural synthetic vitamins and iron for marketing purposes. The nutritional value of white rice is close to zero.

vegetable, salt, risotto, cereal, rice
Kristine Mahan

Studies also show that replacing white rice with brown might reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes. Research has shown that eating 2+ servings of brown rice weekly is linked with a lower risk of developing type II diabetes whereas eating 5+ servings of white rice weekly is linked with an increased risk.

Brown rice is also associated with several other health benefits, such as healthier functioning of the cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous system. The antioxidants in brown rice help work to relieve cholesterol, stress and even some mental disorders. Because it’s high in nutritional content, brown rice is effective in helping reduce the risk of health issues such as obesity, cancer, diabetes and insomnia.

risotto, meat, onion, pepper, rice, vegetable
Laura Bailey

Although brown rice won’t immediately solve all of your problems (I wish), Chipotle will. Opt out the white rice for the brown rice in your burrito and pat yourself on the back for making a choice that’ll make your diet just that much healthier.