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Brown rice vs Spelt: How Are They Different?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between brown rice and spelt, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the brown rice vs spelt comparison.
Esther Bumpus, Health Writer

Written by Esther Bumpus, Health Writer. Updated on January 27, 2023.

Brown rice and spelt belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.

However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.

This article will thoroughly compare brown rice and spelt and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

Brown rice

Brown rice (Oryza sativa) is a whole-grain rice that is minimally processed, retaining its nutrient-rich bran and germ layers.

It is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is particularly high in vitamins B3, B1, B6, and B9 and minerals like manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. The high fiber content of brown rice has been linked to improved digestion, weight management, and lower cholesterol levels.

Brown rice is a staple food in many cultures and is often used as a side dish, in soups and stews, and as an ingredient in salads, sushi, and other dishes. It is also considered a functional food, as it has been shown to positively impact health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet.

Brown rice is a gluten-free alternative to wheat-based products, making it a good option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Brown rice is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine).

It also contains Vitamin B9 (Folate) in a small amount.


Spelt (Triticum spelta) is an ancient type of wheat that is believed to have originated in the Near East.

It is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. It is also rich in antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.

Spelt is commonly used in baking, particularly in traditional dishes such as bread and pasta. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor and can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in most recipes. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Spelt is considered a functional food, as it has been shown to have a positive impact on health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet. It is also a sustainable crop, as it can be grown in poor soil conditions and is resistant to pests and diseases.

Spelt is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin E.

Brown rice vs Spelt Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing brown rice vs spelt.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of brown rice and spelt and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

Brown riceSpelt
Energy362 kcal338 kcal
Carbs76.2 g70.2 g
Sugar0 g6.82 g
Fiber3.4 g10.7 g
Protein7.5 g14.6 g
Fat2.68 g2.43 g
Saturated Fat0.536 g0.406 g

Brown rice vs Spelt Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing spelt vs brown rice for weight loss, spelt is slightly lower in calories, with 338 calories per 100 grams, compared to 362 calories per 100 grams of brown rice.

However, both brown rice and spelt can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Brown rice vs Spelt Protein

Grains and most grain products, including brown rice and spelt, are important sources of plant-based protein.

However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.

That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.

Spelt offers around 49% more protein than brown rice.

Spelt has 14.6 grams of protein per 100 grams, while brown rice has 7.5 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Brown rice vs Spelt Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in brown rice and spelt.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 8% higher in brown rice than in spelt. It has 76.2 grams per 100 grams, compared to 70.2 grams in spelt.

There’s less sugar in brown rice than in spelt, 100% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of brown rice contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of spelt contains 6.8 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in brown rice and spelt.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 10.7 grams of fiber per 100 grams, spelt is a better source of fiber than brown rice which offers 3.4 grams per 100 gram portion.

Brown rice vs Spelt Fats

Like most other grains, brown rice and spelt are low in fat.

Fats in brown rice and spelt are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in brown rice and spelt:

  • Brown rice: 2.7 grams per 100 grams
  • Spelt: 2.4 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, spelt is 20% lower in saturated fats.

Spelt and brown rice contain 0.4 grams and 0.5 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Brown rice vs Spelt Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of brown rice and spelt.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Brown rice has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

However, spelt has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine).

Brown rice and spelt contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins brown rice and spelt contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

Brown riceSpelt
Vitamin A010 IU
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.413 mg0.364 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.043 mg0.113 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)4.31 mg6.84 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.49 mg1.07 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.509 mg0.23 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)20 µg45 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.05 mg0.79 mg
Vitamin K0.9 µg3.6 µg

Brown rice vs Spelt Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the brown rice and spelt comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Brown rice is a better source of copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc than spelt.

On the other hand, spelt is a higher amount of calcium, magnesium, and manganese.

Brown rice and spelt contain the same amount of fluoride.

Check out the table below to learn how brown rice and spelt compare when it comes to mineral content.

Brown riceSpelt
Calcium33 mg27 mg
Copper0.277 mg0.511 mg
Iron1.8 mg4.44 mg
Magnesium143 mg136 mg
Manganese3.74 mg2.98 mg
Phosphorus264 mg401 mg
Potassium268 mg388 mg
Selenium2.7 µg11.7 µg
Sodium4 mg8 mg
Zinc2.02 mg3.28 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between brown rice and spelt.

Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.

Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.

They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.


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