Rice vs. Chapati

Woman's hand picking uncooked rice in a small  burlap sack.
(Image: sutteerug/iStock/GettyImages)

When it comes to grains, choosing the right one can make a difference in the amount of calories, carbs, fiber and other nutrients you're eating. Both rice and chapati, which is a type of unleavened bread, are food staples in many parts of the world, particularly Southeast Asia, but they differ in their nutritional profile.

The Basics

A serving of white rice, which is equal to 1 cup, contains 242 calories, less than 1 gram of fat, 53 grams of carbs and 4.4 grams of protein. One serving of chapati, which is equal to a 68-gram piece or a bit less than 2.5 ounces, contains 202 calories, 31.5 grams of carbs and about 7.7 grams of protein. Chapati contains 5 grams of fat, of which 1.3 grams are saturated. This is a consideration because limiting your intake of saturated fat can help lower your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.

Fiber Facts

A cup of white rice contains less than 1 gram of fiber. A serving of chapati, on the other hand, supplies 3.3 grams of fiber. That's 13 percent of the 25 grams of fiber women need each day and 9 percent of the 38 grams men should have daily. Fiber can help protect you from heart disease, lower your cholesterol level and prevent constipation.

Folate and Niacin Are the Primary Vitamins

A 1-cup serving of white rice supplies 180 micrograms of folate, a B vitamin essential for DNA formation that also plays a role in the health of your hair, eyes, skin and liver. That's 45 percent of the 400 micrograms healthy adults need each day. Chapati supplies only 41 micrograms per serving. Other than folate, rice and chapati only supply niacin in impressive amounts. A cup of rice contains 3.4 milligrams of niacin. A serving of chapati supplies 4.6 milligrams, which is one-third of the 14 milligrams women need daily and 29 percent of the 16 milligrams men require each day. Niacin supports normal function of your digestive system and promotes healthy skin and nerves.

Both Have Minerals, Too

A cup of white rice supplies 2.8 milligrams of iron, which is 35 percent of the 8 milligrams men need each day and 15 percent of the 18 milligrams women should have daily. Iron helps your body produce red blood cells. A serving of chapati supplies 2 milligrams of iron. While plain rice doesn't contain any sodium, a serving of chapati contains 278 milligrams. That's 19 percent of the 1,500 milligrams the American Heart Association recommends making as your daily upper limit. Too much sodium on a regular basis can cause your blood pressure to increase, which raises your risk of heart attack and stroke.

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