Brown rice vs Teff: How To Choose?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between brown rice and teff, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the brown rice vs teff comparison.
Catherine Toledo, Journalist

Written by Catherine Toledo, Journalist. Updated on January 27, 2023.

Brown rice and teff 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 teff 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.


Teff (Eragrostis tef) is a small, gluten-free ancient grain that is native to Ethiopia and Eritrea.

It is a good source of iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins like niacin and thiamin. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, and essential amino acids.

Teff has been linked to various health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and weight management. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Teff can be cooked and eaten as a porridge, added to soups and stews, or ground into flour to make bread, pancakes, and other baked goods. It can also be used as a replacement for grains like quinoa, millet, or oats in recipes.

Teff is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

Brown rice vs Teff 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 teff.

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

Brown riceTeff
Energy362 kcal367 kcal
Carbs76.2 g73.13 g
Sugar0 g1.84 g
Fiber3.4 g8 g
Protein7.5 g13.3 g
Fat2.68 g2.38 g
Saturated Fat0.536 g0.449 g

Brown rice vs Teff Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing brown rice vs teff for weight loss, brown rice is slightly lower in calories, with 362 calories per 100 grams, compared to 367 calories per 100 grams of teff.

However, both brown rice and teff 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 Teff Protein

Grains and most grain products, including brown rice and teff, 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.

Teff offers around 44% more protein than brown rice.

Teff has 13.3 grams of protein per 100 grams, while brown rice has 7.5 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Brown rice vs Teff 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 teff.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 4% higher in brown rice than in teff. It has 76.2 grams per 100 grams, compared to 73.1 grams in teff.

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

That said, 100 grams of brown rice contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of teff contains 1.8 grams.

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

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

With 8 grams of fiber per 100 grams, teff is a better source of fiber than brown rice which offers 3.4 grams per 100 gram portion.

Brown rice vs Teff Fats

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

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

Total fat in brown rice and teff:

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

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

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

Brown rice vs Teff Vitamins Content

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

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 E, and vitamin K.

However, teff has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and vitamin B9 (Folate).

Brown rice and teff 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 teff contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

Brown riceTeff
Vitamin A09 IU
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.413 mg0.39 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.043 mg0.27 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)4.31 mg3.363 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.49 mg0.942 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.509 mg0.482 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)20 µg0
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.05 mg0.08 mg
Vitamin K0.9 µg1.9 µg

Brown rice vs Teff 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 teff comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Brown rice is a better source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc than teff.

Brown rice and teff contain the same amount of fluoride.

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

Brown riceTeff
Calcium33 mg180 mg
Copper0.277 mg0.81 mg
Iron1.8 mg7.63 mg
Magnesium143 mg184 mg
Manganese3.74 mg9.24 mg
Phosphorus264 mg429 mg
Potassium268 mg427 mg
Selenium2.7 µg4.4 µg
Sodium4 mg12 mg
Zinc2.02 mg3.63 mg

The Final Word

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

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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