4 Types Of Brown Rice & Its 4 Common Associated Dangers

Different variations of brown rice such as short grain brown rice, medium grain brown rice, long grain brown rice and light brown rice are popular these days, but not many know that all these types of brown rice are prone to contamination by allergens and harmful microorganisms.

A better understanding of the foods we eat is intrinsic to our health and wellbeing. Some foods may be touted as healthy alternatives to other foods; however, it is still possible to be exposed to allergens or toxins by eating these foods. Among the many food types that are widely touted for being healthy foods is brown rice; and this article aims to take a closer look at brown rice; its different types and some dangers associated with brown rice.

Brown rice can be distinguished from the even more common white rice owing to its color. However, the color of brown rice comes from the milling process wherein the husk is removed to make this form of rice edible; whereas, white rice is extensively processed and polished. There are quite a few variations of brown rice and all that you need to know about these variations are as detailed below. It is of a degree of importance to know more about brown rice types before we move on to the dangers of different brown rice variations. For the sake of safety and wellbeing; it is only prudent that you read further.

4 Types Of Brown Rice

4 Types of Brown Rice

The different variations of brown rice can be easily distinguished owing to size of the grains and the color of the grains. The primary variations of brown rice are as listed below.

  1. Long Grain Brown Rice: Long grain brown rice is easy to identify as it has distinctively long and thin kernels. This type of brown rice has a longer cooking time at around 45 minutes and has a nutty flavor, chewy consistency and golden brown color; which is just perfect for rice pilafs and stir fry rice dishes.
  2. Medium Grain Brown Rice: Medium grain brown rice is defined by rice kernels that are distinctively longer and plumper than short grain rice. This type of brown rice needs to be soaked for up to 4 hours; before being cooked in 2 parts of water with added salt. Cooking time generally clocks in at 15 to 20 minutes. Medium grain brown rice has a soft and moist consistency that is just perfect for soups and salads.
  3. Short Grain Brown Rice: Short grain brown rice is characterized by smaller kernels and this variation of rice has a sticky consistency when cooked. This stickiness makes short grain brown rice perfect for the preparation of risotto and puddings. Short grain brown rice is generally soaked overnight before being cooked to perfection in about 25 minutes.
  4. Light Brown Rice: Light brown rice has a conspicuously lighter brown color than the usual variations of brown rice. This is because 50% of the bran content is removed during the milling process. This type of brown rice does have a shorter cooking time at 20 minutes; however, light brown rice lacks the fiber content of other variations of brown rice.

4 Common Associated Dangers with Brown Rice

With an understanding of the different types of brown rice; we can move onto the different dangers in the form of allergens and toxins associated with brown rice. Read further to know more.

  1. Cross Contamination: Brown rice is often packaged and processed alongside other foods such as peanuts, soy and gluten rich foods. This can result in cross contamination, which can be harmful for individuals with food allergies.
  2. Alpha-Picolinic Acid: Cooked brown rice cannot be stored for eating at a later stage for more than 4 to 7 days. Cooked brown rice can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and mold that can result in food poisoning. Tryptophan which is present in brown rice is converted by certain microorganism into a harmful compound called Alpha-picolinic acid. This compound is known to cause apoptosis and rice hypersensitivity; conditions that result in an accelerated rate of cell demise and damage to tissues.
  3. Arsenic in Brown Rice: Brown rice that has been farmed and processed in the US is known to have the highest concentrations of arsenic. Over time; eating brown rice and consuming arsenic can lead to adverse health impacts. Lowering your brown rice consumption or opting for organic brown rice is a nifty solution for this issue.
  4. Aspergillus Section Flavi: As stated before; various molds and fungus are known to grow on brown rice. The most toxic among these are the fungi known as Aspergillus Section Flavi; commonly known as aflatoxin. This toxin is known to cause cancer with prolonged consumption and this fungus is able to form on both cooked and uncooked rice. To avoid ingesting aflatoxin; brown rice must be cooked properly and eaten right away.


As is evident brown rice has its fair share of dangers even though it is touted as the healthier alternative to white rice. However, it does not mean that you should stop or avoid eating brown rice. The solution here is proper preparation of brown rice and emphasis on avoiding eating brown rice that has been refrigerated or stored for too long.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 3, 2019

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