My question.. Which is better: 1) straight out of the package white rice or 2) properly prepared (fermented) brown rice.
The conventional wisdom is that brown rice is better and that white rice is just empty calories. The Paleo-wisdom is that neither are great, but brown is worse because of its phytate content that make the additional nutrients in the rice bran unavailable. However, according to some, including Stephan Guyanet, properly prepared brown rice makes those additional nutrients bioavailable (see Stephan Guyanet's post for method and reasoning: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-way-to-soak-brown-rice.html), which should swing the pendulum back to brown rice as the more nutrient dense and therefore preferred rice. I wanted to see for myself, so I did some digging.
The chart below shows where brown rice has more of something relative to white rice. I removed nutrients that were either very low (<1% RDA) or very similar between white and brown rice (<5% difference). Also, for some reason I left out Selenium, which white is far better than brown (white: 7.5ug or 14% RDA, brown: 0ug or 0% RDA)
To me, its a toss up. However, it's also worth noting that when fermenting brown rice, the chelated nutrients locked up by the phytates are dispersed into the soaking solution, and that solution is tossed out prior to cooking (you cook in fresh water). So perhaps the nutrient content is even lower for brown rice than these numbers suggest.
I've also included the Cron-O-Meter charts to help visualize the difference:
brown rice vitamins
white rice vitamins
brown rice minerals
white rice minerals