What is Enriched Rice?

Mary McMahon

Enriched rice is white rice which has been mixed with an assortment of vitamins and nutrients to make it more nutritious. Many companies make this product, and the packaging usually clearly indicates the level of enrichment in the grain, although those levels may vary after cooking, depending on how the rice is cooked.

Converted rice has the nutritional benefits of brown rice but the flavor and texture of white rice.
Converted rice has the nutritional benefits of brown rice but the flavor and texture of white rice.

When rice is processed into white rice, a great deal of the nutritional value is lost. The fiber and nutrient rich outer bran is stripped first, leaving behind the germ and endosperm. In many cases, the nutritious germ is lost as well during the polishing process. As a result, white rice is not terribly nutritious, naturally. Therefore, some producers add vitamins and minerals back in after the rice has been processed, or they include vitamin pellets in their sacks of rice so that their rice will provide more nutritional value.

Sushi made with enriched rice.
Sushi made with enriched rice.

Especially in developing nations, enriched rice is extremely important. Since rice is a staple food for millions of people around the world, it is important for rice to be highly nutritious. In regions with a high volume of white rice consumption, nutritional deficiencies have been noted. It is hoped that sales of enriched rice will reverse this trend, by supplementing the daily diet with more vitamins and minerals.

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Rice plants.
Rice plants.

Even after enrichment, enriched rice is not as nutritious as whole brown rice. In addition, it should not be rinsed, because the nutrient coated rice will lose value if rinsed. Many companies also recommend that enriched rice be cooked in a minimum of water, so that nutrition is not lost during the cooking process. However, enriched rice is certainly better than plain white rice, especially for people who are relying on it as a staple food.

Brown rice has more nutritional benefits than white rice, even when enriched.
Brown rice has more nutritional benefits than white rice, even when enriched.

Some companies have experimented with genetic modification of rice to make it more nutritionally valuable, so that it will not need to be enriched as part of the post-harvest processing. A well known example of genetically modified rice is golden rice, which is supposed to help prevent blindness by boosting vitamin A levels in the consumer. In most countries, heavily genetically engineered foods were not yet legal for human consumption as of the early 21st century, despite lobbying on the part of the companies which designed these foods. These companies hope that the humanitarian aims of their products will override distaste on the part of environmentalists and some food safety advocates.

A bowl of enriched rice.
A bowl of enriched rice.

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Discussion Comments


I live on a farm and grow some of my own food, but I'm not a commercial farmer. All of these attacks on commercial food production and preparation are nonsense. Try feeding 6 billion people without these systems and methods. It's impossible. There is no evil fellow twisting his mustache trying to find ways to secret poison people.

I'll just say this: try living off only food that you grow for yourself for 1 year. You will starve to death. The world would starve to death. A little synthetic vitamin A is a small trade off for not dying.


Anon40200 is correct. Enriched foods are foods that are stripped of their natural nutrients, and then synthetic "nutrients" are added. It is not total nonsense. I understand that some may see gmo as a means to ending hunger, but it creates a different dilemma in the process. Our bodies are not faring well on gmo's, or added synthetic forms of natural nutrients - hence the high rates of illness (such as cancers) that have been seen lately.


Thiamine Mononitrate is a synthetic form of thiamine that is cheaper to produce. It contains a nitrate, a kind of preservative, which isn't a gmo, but it sure isn't good for you. I learned about this because, with the help of my neurologist, I tracked 95 percent of my migraines back to this food additive. It's used in some enriched flours and shows up in a ton of stuff. Some enriched foods can be really helpful. It's when companies start toying with cheaper synthetics to replace whole ingredients (hello HFCS!) that you run into trouble.


To group genetically modified foods with enriched foods is sheer stupidity because they are complete opposites-one exists to eradicate the other.

By genetically modifying foods we can reduce the amount of pesticides and fertilizers used, thereby making the foods and the environment more natural and safe. People fear what they know nothing about, which is more dangerous than any processed food.


The note by anon40200 is nonsense. Nearly anything in excess can harm. Salt? Wine? Oxygen? Clearly he has never grown a crop ( I don't mean a carrot in the back yard), and the science he pretends to know about reveals his ignorance through his comment about "modification". Man has modified plants and animals for eons through selection. An authority with no experience or training, but a full belly.


Enriched and genetically modified foods in general do nothing but harm from the inside of your body. these "natural" modifications aren't so natural. there is a study where a series of dogs and cats were fed thiamine mononitrate which is in many enriched grains and in excess the animals offspring developed frequent convulsions, ataxia(lack of muscle movement), and mydriasis(controls dilation of the eye, which the lack of control leads to depleted eye site if not blindness). nowadays it seems to be that all grain foods are enriched or were grown in modification and we eat these not knowing the harm we are doing to oneself with these "natural" modifications. organic and naturally grown and not cured is the natural way to go.

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