Can Eating Rice Help With Weight Loss?
Eating rice can help with weight loss, but its effectiveness depends on which type of rice you choose.
Rice is a cereal grain that comes in refined or whole-grain varieties. Refined rice, such as white rice, loses most of its nutrients during processing, but can have a more pleasant flavor, texture, and longer shelf life. Whole-grain rice, such as brown rice, contains all parts of the grain, including the bran, germ, and endosperm, making it a more nutritious option.
Research shows that brown rice can help with weight management, and people who choose brown rice and whole grains have been demonstrated to weigh less than those who consume white rice.
In contrast, white rice is commonly regarded as containing “empty calories” due to its lack of essential nutrients. And while it is not harmful, it does not provide many health benefits either.
If you prefer white rice over its brown variant, you can always opt for enriched white rice, which is boosted with additional nutrients.
The contribution of rice to your weight loss journey will depend on portion size and how many total calories you consume at the end of the day. Hence, practicing portion control is crucial for a successful weight loss process.
Let’s now look at the nutritional values of some of the most common types of rice available in the market.
The nutrition facts of one cup of brown rice include:
- Energy: 123 kcal
- Protein: 2.74 g
- Total lipid (fat): 0.97 g
- Carbohydrates: 25.6 g
- Fiber: 1.6 g
- Sugar: 0.24 g
- Sodium: 4 mg
- Potassium: 86 mg
- Iron: 0.56 mg
Brown rice is also rich in Vitamins B1 and B6, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and selenium.
For comparison, the nutrition facts of 100 g of white rice include:
- Energy: 130 kcal
- Protein: 2.69 g
- Total lipid (fat): 0.28 g
- Carbohydrates: 28.2 g
- Fiber: 0.4 g
- Sugar: 0.5 g
- Sodium: 1 mg
- Potassium: 35 mg
- Iron: 0.2 mg
Studies don’t show any link between white rice and weight loss, but they show promising results with brown rice.
The nutrition facts of 100 g of black rice include:
- Energy: 130 kcal
- Protein: 2.7 g
- Total lipid (fat): 0.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 28 g
- Fiber: 0.4 g
- Sugar: 0.1 g
- Sodium: 1 mg
- Potassium: 35 mg
- Iron: 2.4 mg
Black rice is also a good source of vitamins E, B2, and B3, calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, potassium, zinc, and magnesium. This variety is also high in protein and fiber, which might aid in suppressing hunger, boosting your digestive system, and promoting weight loss.
The nutrition facts of 100 g of red rice include:
- Energy: 356 kcal
- Protein: 8.9 g
- Total lipid (fat): 3.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 76 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Sugar: 0 g
- Sodium: 67 mg
- Potassium: 156 mg
- Iron: 1.11 mg
Interestingly, red rice can have anti-diabetic properties and can help avoid obesity and insulin resistance.
As you see, whole-grain varieties have different properties and effects beyond weight management, which makes them an excellent choice for a varied, balanced diet.
and discover how much weight you can lose with DoFasting!
Effects of Different Types of Rice on Weight Management
Let’s explore the different types of rice and their suitability for weight management.
White rice is milled, resulting in a lower nutritional value than other rice varieties, as the milling process removes the bran and germ, which contain most of the vitamins.
White rice might be the most popular rice since it cooks faster, has a milder flavor, and has a softer texture, but it isn’t the best option for losing excess weight since no clear evidence shows its effectiveness for this purpose. In fact, white rice has been associated with obesity in Korean adults.
However, as mentioned above, the key thing to remember when trying to lose weight is portion control. If you still want to add white rice to your diet, make sure to eat 6 ounces or less per day.
While calculating how much rice you should add to your plate, think that carbs (like rice) should take up to a quarter of a dish, no more.
As mentioned above, you can opt for enriched white rice to avoid eating “empty calories,” as this variety has more vitamins and minerals than simple white rice.
Regardless of its calorie count, white rice has specific benefits for the body, including:
- Improved colon health — cooked white rice contains resistant starch, which can produce certain fatty acids that aid colon health.
- Quick energy boost — white rice includes plenty of carbohydrates, which can benefit athletes and those needing quick energy.
- It’s safe for people with celiac disease — white rice is gluten-free.
When talking about enriched white rice, we can add one more benefit to the list:
- Supports muscles, bones, and nerves — enriched white rice has plenty of magnesium, which is essential for many of the functions of the body.
When incorporated into a weight loss diet, white rice should be supplemented with other nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats. The ratio of calories consumed to calories burnt is also crucial to promote weight loss.
Brown rice is a less processed type of rice, so it includes all the grain layers—bran, germ, and endosperm. This makes brown rice a more nutritious option than white rice.
Research shows that the consumption of whole grains leads to a reduced risk of obesity and weight gain. Moreover, brown rice can help with weight loss since it’s a good source of fiber, which can improve your digestion. It can also help to make you feel fuller with fewer calories.
Additionally, brown rice is high in nutrients and has additional health benefits aside from weight loss, including:
- Reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke — brown rice is rich in dietary fiber and magnesium, which help with improving your heart health.
- Improving your immune system — brown rice includes plenty of vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, selenium, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B9.
- Reducing the risk of diabetes — brown rice has a low glycemic index (GI), meaning it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to spike after you eat it.
Although brown rice is good for weight loss, portion size is still essential while consuming it. Overeating will not result in added benefits, as the key to weight or fat loss is to consume fewer calories than you burn.
Red rice is not the most common type in America, but it is available in supermarkets and certain stores. It owes its red color to its anthocyanin content, and it has a nutty flavor and a chewier texture due to the presence of bran and germ.
Most importantly, red rice has the highest nutritional value among other whole-grain kinds of rice, and it’s packed with antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
This type of rice can be a good choice for weight loss due to its high fiber content. Fiber is essential for digestive health and can boost feelings of fullness, which can help you stay in a calorie deficit.
Red rice can have other health-related benefits, including:
- Reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke — red rice is rich in magnesium and potassium, which can help lower blood pressure and promote heart health. Its content of antioxidants can also prevent damage to the blood vessels.
- Safe for people with celiac disease — red rice is gluten-free.
- Beneficial for people with diabetes — brown rice has a low glycemic index, which means it can help prevent rapid blood sugar spikes after eating.
- Promoting digestive health — red rice is high in fiber, which can help avoid constipation and promote overall digestive health.
- Supporting overall health — red rice is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can help support your overall health.
In short, red rice can be good for weight loss and beneficial for overall health.
Black rice can sometimes be referred to as forbidden or purple rice. It has a mild nutty flavor and a chewy texture, similar to brown rice. Furthermore, black rice contains a pigment called anthocyanin, which adds to its black color.
This is a whole kind of rice, similar to its red and brown varieties, meaning it includes the barn and germ parts that add nutritional value to your plate.
This type of rice can be suitable for weight loss since it is rich in dietary fiber and protein, making you feel full and satiated for a longer period. Some animal studies reveal that anthocyanin, present in black rice, can reduce body fat percentage and even help you lose weight.
In addition, black rice does have other benefits:
- Can protect your body against oxidative stress — black rice is rich in antioxidants, which protect your cells against free radicals.
- Has anti-inflammatory properties — anthocyanins have potent anti-inflammatory effects.
- Promotes heart health — flavonoids in black rice might help decrease the risk of heart disease.
- Safe for people with celiac disease — black rice is gluten-free.
Even though a rare choice, black rice can be good for weight loss and offer some valuable properties for your health.
Rice Can Affect Blood Sugar – Here’s Why It’s Important
The glycemic index (GI) is an essential factor to consider when selecting which type of rice to consume. Consuming foods with a high GI, including some rice varieties, can lead to blood sugar spikes and an increased risk of diabetes.
Research worldwide on individual glycemic index values shows that rice GI ranges from 64 to 93. Whole grain rice varieties, such as brown, red, and black rice, are situated at the lower end of this range, meaning they are less likely to cause significant blood sugar spikes and can help regulate insulin levels.
These low GI rice varieties are particularly beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes, as they assist in managing insulin levels.
Additionally, the glycemic index and blood sugar levels play a role in weight loss.
Following each meal, your body secretes insulin, a crucial hormone responsible for determining whether glucose or stored fat is burned for energy. High glycemic foods prompt the release of more insulin, which causes more calories to be stored as fat, leading to weight gain. Conversely, low glycemic foods result in more calories being used for energy.
In summary, to maintain stable blood sugar levels, opt for brown, red, or black rice instead of white rice.
Tips for Including Rice in Your Diet for Weight Loss
These tips will help you enjoy rice dishes and lose weight at the same time.
Choose whole-grain brown rice
As stated earlier, whole-grain rice retains all parts of the grain, leading to a chewier texture and a higher nutritional content. As a result, it offers more significant weight loss benefits.
Whole-grain rice not only prevents blood sugar spikes, but it also keeps you satiated for more extended periods and delivers various health benefits.
Prepare your grains before you cook them
Grains are rich in fiber and carbohydrates, as well as various vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium, that contribute to overall health.
However, some compounds in grains, such as complex carbohydrates, can be challenging to digest, while minerals may be difficult to absorb. This can lead to discomfort, bloating, and digestive issues.
Soaking grains in water overnight can enhance mineral absorption and activate the phytase enzyme, which breaks down phytic acid. Phytic acid binds to minerals like zinc, iron, and calcium, making them less bioavailable.
Furthermore, soaking whole grains can improve their digestibility. This occurs due to the activation of the amylase enzyme, which breaks down complex carbohydrates into simpler, more easily digestible forms.
Combine rice with protein foods to avoid blood sugar spikes
Carbohydrates are digested more quickly than proteins. Consequently, pairing rice with protein-rich dishes can slow down digestion and moderate the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream. This contributes to maintaining stable blood sugar levels and reducing blood sugar spikes.
Preventing blood sugar spikes can help curb cravings and hunger, aiding in weight loss since you’re less likely to overeat. Additionally, consistently elevated blood sugar levels can result in insulin resistance, which makes fat burning more challenging.
Some examples of high-protein foods you can add to your rice dishes include:
- Lean meats
- Dairy products
- Legumes and beans
When possible, cool your rice before eating
Some studies suggest that cooling rice before consumption may help lower blood sugar levels. Cooling high-starch foods converts digestible starch into resistant starch, which is more beneficial for your body and assists in managing blood sugar levels.
Resistant starch digests more slowly, allowing your body to absorb more carbohydrates while maintaining blood sugar balance. Moreover, resistant starch has been found to decrease hunger and enhance feelings of fullness after meals. This, in turn, can contribute to weight loss.
Choose low-calorie cooking techniques
To reduce calorie intake, consider using low-calorie cooking techniques instead of frying rice in oil or butter. Frying your rice and adding red meat can raise the calorie count, making weight loss more challenging.
Rice can be prepared in various healthier ways, such as boiling it in water or broth, cooking it in a slow cooker, or steaming it in a bamboo steamer or a steamer insert. Additionally, incorporating vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and onions into your dishes can increase the fiber, mineral, and vitamin content while making the rice dish less calorie-dense.
Sample Brown Rice Recipe for a Healthy Diet
You can start adding some brown rice to your diet today with this healthy and nutritious recipe from the DoFasting app.
Brown rice with vegetables
- Broccoli — 2.6 oz
- Asparagus — 2.6 oz
- Bell pepper — 2 oz
- Brown rice — 2 oz
- Carrot — 1.8 oz
- Onion — 1.1 oz
- Spinach — 1.1 oz
- Green peas, frozen — 1.1 oz
- Sweet corn, canned — 0.7 oz
- Soy sauce — 0.5 oz
- Olive oil — 0.3 oz
- Fresh ginger root — 0.1 oz
- Sesame oil — 0.1 oz
- Garlic — 0.1 oz
- Red pepper flakes, crushed
Step by step:
Cook rice according to package instructions. In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. Heat half of the olive oil in a skillet. Add chopped bell pepper, broccoli, and asparagus. Sauté, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender but still crunchy. Set aside.
Heat the rest of the olive oil in a skillet. When hot, add onion, ginger, and garlic.
Fry until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the cooked rice and sweet corn. Cook, occasionally, stirring until the rice starts turning golden on the edges, for about 8-10 min.
Return vegetables to the pan, add spinach, and stir to combine.
When everything is heated through and the spinach is wilted, remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes (optional).
The DoFasting app has over 5000 different well-balanced meal recipes. Choose your favorites, prepare them, and log them into your daily calorie tracker to monitor your intake while trying to lose weight.
and discover how much weight you can lose with DoFasting!
Is Rice Good for Weight Loss? Key Takeaways
Rice is a staple food for numerous people across the globe. It comes in various varieties, including white, brown, red, and black rice. White rice is milled, while brown, red, and black rice are whole-grain.
Whole-grain rice is more advantageous for weight loss and overall health than white rice. White rice is often considered “empty calories” because it provides limited health benefits but does not cause significant harm.
When adding rice to your meals, always remember to limit your portions and mix it with veggies for extra flavor and nutritional value.
This is an evidence-based article that includes scientific citations. DoFasting’s professional writers and editors prepared the content, which a team of medical experts verified to be accurate.