Brown rice is not only the better choice nutritionally but it is also better for the environment. Rice goes through several processes after harvest before its ready to be cooked. After harvest, the seeds are milled to remove the outer grain husks leaving the brown rice. To get the white rice, the brown rice has the germ and the inner husk or bran removed. The grain is then polished with glucose (a simple sugar) or talc. The extra processes remove a lot of the rice’s nutrients which are then reinfused synthetically and called fortified white rice!! This is a similar process to brown and white bread.
The nutrient loss is substantial in the white rice vs. the brown rice as well as the dietary fibre. Some estimates suggest that the dietary fibre in white rice is only a quarter of that found in the brown.
The environmental benefit happens in the energy savings with brown rice because you don’t have the extra processing as well as the extra costs involved in chemically re-infusing the very nutrients you have just removed!! Brown rice, however, does take longer to cook so some energy is lost there but this can be mitigated by pre-soaking the rice and by using less water with the pot lid on to keep the steam in. The steam also helps speed up the cooking process and save more energy.