Is Rice Fattening or Weight Loss Friendly?

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

We all have our biases and prejudices — but anything against rice usually is not accepted by most Indians. We are a country where rice is a staple food — and forget fattening or

not fattening. We love it! However, with growing health awareness, the consumption of rice in our diet is being questioned.

There is a debate that some rice forms — especially the polished, modern white rice is a refined, high-carb food because most of its fiber is removed. And a high intake of refined carbs has indeed been linked to obesity and chronic disease.

Earlier, native unpolished rice was consumed, which was high on fiber and nutrition. On the contrary, white rice intake tends to make you fat and increases the blood sugar levels. To lose weight, most people decide to cut down rice consumption. But is rice really fattening or is it a myth, let’s address the same!

What Is rice?

Scientifically defined, rice is a cereal grain and a staple food in many countries. Though there are many rice varieties, today white rice is the most popular, followed by brown rice. Let’s understand the compassion of this rice:

Any form of whole grain comprises of:

Bran: This is a rough, hard outer layer which offers protection to the seed. The bran comprises of fiber, minerals and antioxidants.

Germ: Germ is the n

nutrient-rich core of the grain that contains carbs, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other plant compounds.

Endosperm: The largest part of the grain comprises mostly carbs (starch) and a small amount of protein.

Brown rice nutrition facts:

Calories- 130 Grams

Carbs- 29 grams

Fiber- 0 grams

Proteins- 2 grams

Fat- 0 grams

Manganese- 19% RDI

Magnesium- 3% RDI

Phosphorous- 4% RDI

Vitamin B6- 3% RDI

Selenium- 11% RDI

White rice nutrition facts:

Calories- 112 Grams

Carbs- 24 grams

Fiber- 2 grams

Proteins- 2 grams

Fat- 1 grams

Manganese- 55% RDI

Magnesium- 11% RDI

Phosphorous- 8% RDI

Vitamin B6- 7% RDI

Selenium- 14% RDI

Research shows that individuals who eat whole grains like brown rice have more weigh less than those who don’t. These individuals are also at a reduced risk of weight gain. It could happen because of the fiber, nutrients and plant compounds found in whole grains which tend to increase feelings of fullness and help you eat fewer calories at a time. As a result, one loses weight.

As per one 12-year study on women, it was revealed that those with the highest intake of dietary fibre from whole-grain foods had almost a 50% lower risk of major weight gain than those with the lowest intake.

Studies related to white rice were a little more inconsistent. A dietary pattern high in refined grains like white rice is linked to weight gain and obesity because of fewer fibres. This may result in feeling hungrier faster.

1939 rice diet

There was a study in 1939 cantered on white rice. It had been developed to treat patients with high blood pressure and kidney disease. Called Rice Diet, this ultra low-fat diet was a tasteless, low-calorie diet. It mainly consisted of white rice, fruit, fruit juice and sugar.

However, the results of this study were surprising. It had immense health benefits for the participants, including weight loss and the relief of kidney disease symptoms. But the diet was very restrictive, low-fat, low-calorie diet. Hence, it is not really applicable to eating rice as part of a regular diet with curries, lentils, etc.

But it does show that rice can fit well into a weight loss diet if calorie intake is controlled!

The example of athletes

Did you know that athletes and weightlifters disregard any negative claims of white rice? Rather they are the ones who regularly consume white rice as an important part of their nutrition plans. The idea is that white rice supplies them with adequate amounts of macronutrients to fuel intense training and replenish severely depleted glycogen stores. It further plays a major part in this process and is considered excellent sports nutrition for these athletes.1

The carbohydrates like white rice, help fuel physical training and replenish muscle glycogen stores after extreme workouts. Another factor considers here is that white rice ranks high on the glycemic index. The index is indicative of how foods affect blood sugar and insulin levels. Improving carbohydrate availability during prolonged exercise is essential, and hence this rice consumption is good for them. And most of them are fit right. However, research also shows that individuals training fewer than 4 days per week or suffering from a metabolic disease should brown rice — which is a portion of healthy, nutrient-dense food!

While rice debate may continue, there is no doubt that the native white rice is still a healthier alternative to many forms of fast foods and packaged goods out there. Do consume white rice but ensure that you have it healthily — cooked simply rather than loading it with oil. So while rice on its own is not fattening the way you cook it — the accompaniments you consume it with make a world of difference!