Fattening or Flattening: Is Rice Good for Weight Loss?

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Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBSGeneral Physician, 6+ Years
Published On : 27-Jun-2022Read Time : 4 minutes
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Rice has been a staple food for over half the population around the world. It is inexpensive, widely available, and easy to prepare. However, what about those looking to lose weight? Is rice good for weight loss? Keep reading to know how and which rice can be good for weight loss

Contents:
  • Nutritional Profile of Rice
  • Rice and Weight Loss: Does Rice Make You Fat?
  • Which Rice is Good for Weight Loss?
  • How Much Rice Should You Eat in a Day to Lose Weight?
  • What is the Best Time to Eat Rice to Lose Weight?
  • How to Eat Rice for Weight Loss?
  • Risks of Overconsumption of Rice
  • What are the Other Health Benefits of Rice?
  • Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • FAQs

Nutritional Profile of Rice

White rice is the most common type of rice eaten worldwide as it is easy to cook and eat, and has a long shelf life. White rice is usually compared to brown rice, which is believed to be a healthier alternative. 

Brown rice is a whole grain rice with the bran and germ layer included. Brown rice is fibre-rich, and a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, and manganese.

White rice contains only the endosperm with carbohydrates and proteins, and does not include the bran and germ layer. The milling and polishing processes for white rice remove various nutrients from the rice.

The nutritional value of 1 cup of cooked white rice and brown rice is provided below. Let’s also find out about the calories in rice. 

Nutritional Facts 1 Cup (186g) of cooked white medium-grain rice 1 Cup (195g) of cooked brown medium-grain rice
Energy 242 kcal 218 kcal
Total Fat 0.391 g 1.62 g
Dietary Fibre 0.6 g 3.51 g
Protein  4.43 g 4.52 g
Carbohydrate  53.2 g 45.8 g
Calcium  5.58 mg 19.5 mg
Magnesium 24.2 mg 85.8 mg
Iron  0.372 mg 1.03 mg

Source: USDA (Food Central)

Rice and Weight Loss: Does Rice Make You Fat?

The association between rice and weight loss varies based on the type of rice - white or brown.

White rice holds less nutritional value than brown rice. It is considered not to negatively impact the body but does not help it much either. However, there is no clear evidence to indicate that white rice is linked to weight gain. 

On the other hand, whole grain rice such as brown rice is recommended over white rice because it is full of nutrients, a good source of fibre, and can help you feel full for longer. You may eat less and thus maintain a healthy weight range.

Which Rice is Good for Weight Loss?

While white rice may not cause weight gain, it contains less fibre and nutrients than brown rice. The dietary fibre content in brown rice may help promote weight loss by making you feel fuller for longer, preventing snacking or overeating, and reducing your calorie intake.  Puffed rice, a cereal made by heating rice kernels, can also be good for weight loss.

How Much Rice Should You Eat in a Day to Lose Weight?

The best way to maintain your weight in a healthy range while eating rice is to exercise portion control. It is advisable to limit your consumption of rice to 1 cup of cooked rice per day.

What is the Best Time to Eat Rice to Lose Weight?

If your goal is to lose weight, studies suggest that lunch is the best time to eat rice. Rice contains carbohydrates, which will release energy and keep you going for the rest of the day. Besides, the calories consumed during the day can be burned off in the day’s activities and not stored as fat.

How to Eat Rice for Weight Loss?

For weight loss, boil or steam the rice instead of frying or cooking it in oil or fat. You can also pair rice with high-fibre vegetables or protein sources such as chicken or turkey. This will ensure that you stay full for longer after eating rice, and do not overeat or snack unnecessarily. 

Risks of Overconsumption of Rice

  • Eating too much brown rice may cause bloating, gas, belching, and digestive distress in some people. Its high carb content can trigger inflammation and digestive discomfort.
  • Rice can increase your blood glucose levels and put you at higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes. White rice has a glycemic index (GI) of 72 and brown rice has a GI of 50. Although brown rice is slower to affect your blood sugar levels when compared to white rice, both types have a low fibre content when compared to other whole grains and can cause sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.
  • Studies show that overconsumption of white rice may cause a higher risk of metabolic syndrome. Its risk factors can be high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, and a large waist circumference.

What are the Other Health Benefits of Rice?

White rice does not offer any additional health benefits apart from providing energy and basic nutrients. Whole grain rice such as brown rice has the following health benefits:

  • Brown rice contains several heart-healthy components such as minerals, antioxidants, lignans, and dietary fibre. Thus, it can improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, strokeType 2 Diabetes, and obesity.
  • The bran or outer layer of brown rice may be a good source of lignans and ferulic acid, which are antioxidants with multiple health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer. 

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • White rice is the most common type of rice eaten worldwide. Brown rice is whole grain rice with the bran and germ layer included. It is fibre-rich and a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, and manganese.
  • There is no clear evidence to indicate that white rice is linked to weight gain. On the other hand, brown rice, a good source of nutrients and fibre can help you feel full for longer, prevent overeating, and thus assist in weight loss. 
  • It is best to limit your consumption of rice to 1 cup of cooked rice per day. 
  • If your goal is to lose weight, studies suggest that lunch is the best time to eat rice.
  • Boil or steam the rice instead of frying or cooking it in oil or fat. Pair rice with high-fibre vegetables or protein sources to stay full for longer and prevent overeating. 
  • Eating too much rice may cause bloating, gas, belching, and digestive distress. Overconsumption of rice may also increase your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
  • White rice does not offer any additional health benefits apart from providing energy and basic nutrients. Brown rice can improve blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, and obesity. It also contains antioxidants that lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. 
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India's leading nutritionists and dieticians to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a Weight Management Program which provides 360º care. Start your weight management journey with Phable. 

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