Difference Between Brown Rice and Quinoa

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: August 14, 2022


Difference Between Brown Rice and Quinoa Difference Between Brown Rice and Quinoa

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Brown rice and quinoa are both healthy whole grains, but the difference between them lies in the way they are processed, their nutritional makeup, and their taste. So which one should you choose? The answer may surprise you! Here’s everything you need to know about brown rice vs. quinoa!

Quinoa has become increasingly popular as a healthy alternative to other grains, especially for those looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. While it does have its benefits, it also comes with many more carbs than brown rice—and since carbohydrates are converted into sugar, that can mean higher blood sugar levels and insulin spikes that contribute to weight gain and poor health over time. Brown rice is still a healthier choice when trying to lose weight; not only does it have fewer calories per serving, but it also contains vitamins, minerals, and fibre that can help you feel full and keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. So while quinoa may be better for maintaining a healthy diet, if you’re trying to lose weight, stick with brown rice.

Quinoa is often referred to as a superfood because of its high protein content (it’s considered a complete protein) and high nutritional value. It’s made up of essential amino acids like lysine and arginine, which are both important in muscle growth and repair after exercise. However, quinoa isn’t necessarily better than other whole grains like oats or barley when it comes to losing weight—and some downsides make it less appealing for people who want to shed pounds quickly without sacrificing nutrition. For example, a half-cup serving of cooked quinoa contains about 222 calories, compared to about 150 calories per cup of brown rice. That may not seem like much at first glance, but over time those extra calories can add up and lead to weight gain. In addition, brown rice has more fiber than quinoa; fiber helps keep you full longer so you don’t overeat later on. Brown rice also contains B vitamins and iron, while quinoa has B vitamins but no iron.

Brown Rice vs Quinoa

Brown rice and quinoa are both healthy whole grains, but they have different nutritional values. Brown rice is a good source of protein, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like magnesium and manganese. It also contains essential amino acids that can be difficult to get from other foods. On the other hand, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids and a host of vitamins and minerals including iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin E. It also has high levels of antioxidants called phytonutrients.

Quinoa or brown rice? That depends on your goals. If you're looking for a grain that's high in protein and low in fat, then go with brown rice—it has more than twice as much protein as quinoa (6 grams per cup compared to 3 grams per cup). But if you're looking for an easy way to add more antioxidants into your diet, then go with quinoa—it has four times as many antioxidants as brown rice (0.4 milligrams per gram compared to 0.1 milligrams per gram). So which one should you choose? As always, it depends on what you're trying to achieve. Both are healthy choices, so don't worry too much about picking one over another. However, depending on your health goals, either can be a great addition to your diet. Write content relevant to each of these three categories; subcategories can be used but not required as long as they are relevant! The same topic may be used for multiple categories but must be written differently based on that category's guidelines.

Difference Between Brown Rice and Quinoa in Tabular Form

Table: Brown Rice vs Quinoa
Parameters of
Brown Rice
Brown rice is a whole grain and retains its nutrient-rich bran and germ layers.
Quinoa is a tiny, ancient grain that offers a lot of nutritional power in its small package it’s one of only two plant foods considered to be complete proteins
B Vitamins
Good for bones
Quinoa seeds are small and round, about the size of a sesame seed
Rice can vary in size, such as long-grain and short-grain.
Dicotyledon seeds
Cereal grain

What is Brown Rice?

Brown rice is a whole grain and retains its nutrient-rich bran and germ layers. This makes it healthier than refined grains such as white rice, which have been stripped of their nutrients to leave just a starchy centre (called endosperm). The colour of brown rice comes from vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants contained in these layers. As a good source of vitamin B1, thiamine, brown rice supports healthy digestion and nervous system function; two cups of cooked brown rice contain 80% of your daily requirement for B1. Brown rice also contains phytonutrients called polyphenols that help protect against disease by neutralizing free radicals produced by oxidation reactions in your body and increasing blood flow to your organs. It’s a great addition to any diet! To learn more about brown rice, check out our post on The Benefits of Eating Whole Grains.

How to Cook Brown Rice?

Brown rice has a larger, nuttier taste than white rice, so you may need to use slightly less than you do for white rice if you’re using them interchangeably in recipes. In general, 1 cup of brown rice should be cooked in 2 cups of water for about 45 minutes (white rice takes about 20 minutes). If you’re new to brown rice, it might take some time to master cooking it properly—but don’t give up! You can also look for fast-cooking varieties that cook within 15–20 minutes or opt for quinoa instead

Nutrients in Brown Rice

While there are lots of nutrients in brown rice, it's usually not considered a superfood. Brown rice contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, folate, niacin, thiamine, and iron. It does not contain a lot protein as quinoa does—but its carbs may help you feel fuller longer than quinoa can. The USDA recommends consuming six servings per day of grains (such as brown rice) for good health; each serving should contain about 16 grams of carbohydrates. By that measure, one cup contains about 34 grams—about two-thirds of your recommended daily intake in just one sitting! That said, if you're watching your carb intake or following a gluten-free diet, brown rice could be an excellent option for you. Just make sure to prepare it without any added salt or sugar to keep calories down.

Brown Rice Nutrition Facts Serving Size 1/2 Cup Amount Per Serving Calories 200 % Daily Value* Total Fat 0g 0% Saturated Fat 0g 0% Trans Fat Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 5mg Potassium 180mg Total Carbohydrate 45g 15% Dietary Fiber 2g 8% Sugars 1g Protein 4g Vitamin A Vitamin C Calcium Iron *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a tiny, ancient grain that offers a lot of nutritional power in its small package—it’s one of only two plant foods considered to be complete proteins. Because quinoa comes from a plant, it’s usually classified as a whole grain (like brown rice or oats), but it isn’t technically either; quinoa seeds are one of those rare plants that are considered to be pseudo cereals (similar to buckwheat and amaranth). Regardless of what you call it, though, quinoa is an excellent addition to your diet! Here's everything you need to know about the differences between brown rice and quinoa. Quinoa Nutrition Facts Serving Size 1 cup cooked with salt Per Serving % Daily Value* Calories 222 Calories from Fat 13 Total Fat 1g 2% Saturated Fat 0g 0% Polyunsaturated Fat 0g Monounsaturated Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 4mg 0% Potassium 318mg 9% Carbohydrates 47g 16% Dietary Fiber 6g 24% Sugars 1g Protein 8g Vitamin A 1% · Vitamin C 2% Calcium 3% · Iron 15% *Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

How to Cook Quinoa?

To cook quinoa, place 1 cup of dry quinoa into a fine-mesh sieve and rinse it well with cool water to remove its bitter protective coating, called saponin. Then combine 1 cup of rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water or broth in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Use a fork to fluff it before serving. Store cooked quinoa in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days; reheat gently on the stovetop before eating.

Nutrients in Quinoa

Brown rice and quinoa are both high in protein, but brown rice contains fatter than quinoa and has a higher glycaemic index, which measures how much your blood sugar levels increase after eating food containing carbohydrates. Brown rice also takes longer to digest than quinoa. But while brown rice is still a healthier choice over refined carbs such as white bread or potato chips, it’s only slightly better for you than quinoa if you eat them in equal amounts—which seems unlikely considering how delicious quinoa is! When comparing equal portions of each grain (1⁄2 cup dry) with no added ingredients—which we assume most people will do when making either food for themselves or their families—quinoa has twice as much fiber as brown rice and 40 percent more protein too.

Main Difference Between Brown Rice and Quinoa in Points

  • While both brown rice and quinoa are whole grains, Brown rice has more carbohydrates than quinoa but quinoa has more protein, iron, and fiber than brown rice.
  • Some people do not like to consume gluten as Brown rice contains gluten. So for them, it will be a good idea to replace brown rice with quinoa in their diet that provides higher protein than whole grains and also has essential amino acids that can improve immunity too.
  • The use of quinoa instead of brown rice will help you lose weight in the long run as it is a low-calorie food item that can burn fat quickly if you have excess calories consumption in your diet on daily basis or after workout by eating regular food items or snacks made from pure ingredients without adding extra oil or butter into it.
  • Quinoa is an ancient grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It was domesticated some 3,000 years ago along with other crops such as corn and beans.
  • It’s one of few crops that has been cultivated in every major region of South America—from Peru to Chile—where it’s known as the mother grain. And while it may look like a grain (it even comes in colours such as red and black), quinoa belongs to a family of plants called pseudo cereals. This distinction matters because unlike grains (which are high in starch), pseudo cereals tend to be higher in protein and nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
  • We recommend substituting quinoa for rice whenever possible. That's because quinoa is a good source of plant-based protein and fibre which helps keep blood sugar levels steady and reduces cravings.
  • It’s natural gluten-free so those who suffer from celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten can safely enjoy it without worry.
  • For those looking to cut back on carbs, swapping out brown rice for quinoa makes sense too since 1 cup of cooked quinoa only has about 222 calories versus 368 calories in 1 cup of cooked brown rice.


Brown rice is a whole grain, meaning it's 100% unprocessed, but that doesn't necessarily make it healthier than quinoa. Brown rice has roughly 190 calories per cooked cup; it’s higher in carbohydrates and has a high glycaemic index rating, which means it releases sugar into your bloodstream quickly and will spike your blood sugar levels after eating. Quinoa also has about 190 calories per cooked cup and contains 12 grams of protein—three times as much as brown rice! Both grains are rich in fibre, B vitamins, iron, and magnesium. The real difference comes down to how they're prepared. If you boil brown rice with lots of water or cook it for too long, you'll end up with something similar to white rice (which is stripped of its nutrients). Quinoa can be boiled or steamed but also works well in salads because it holds its shape well when cooked. Both grains are gluten-free and offer plenty of benefits for anyone who wants to eat healthy while still getting enough energy from their food. For example, both have fewer calories than pasta or bread, so they can help you feel full without taking up too many calories on their own.


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"Difference Between Brown Rice and Quinoa." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 20 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-brown-rice-and-quinoa-796>.

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