Rice is a type of grain that many people worldwide eat as a primary food. There are many different kinds of rice, like long-grain and short-grain, and they can be white or brown. People categorise rice based on how big the grains are, how much they've been processed, and how much starch they have.
Sometimes, when someone wants to lose weight, they think that giving up foods with carbohydrates like rice might help. But does eating rice make you gain weight? Let's learn more about different types of rice, their nutrition, and how they might affect your weight.
Nowadays, you can find many different types of rice in the stores. This means you have many choices when making a burrito bowl, plant-based soup, or stir-fry. Rice is a food that has lots of nutrients packed into it. It contains things like carbohydrates (which are called starches), proteins, magnesium, zinc, iron, and phosphorus. But the great thing is, it has very little fat. Also, depending on the type of rice you choose, some kinds have more fibre, vitamins, and minerals than others.
In 2019, a group of experts looked at 25 studies about food and weight gain. They found that there wasn't much evidence to show that any specific type of food makes you gain weight. This means we can't say that one particular food, like rice, will make you gain weight.
However, it's important to remember that you can gain weight if you eat more calories than your body burns. This applies to any food, whether rice, protein, or fat. So, it's not just about rice alone.
If you want to learn more about the different types of rice that you might have in your pantry, keep reading!
Brown rice is a healthier kind of rice compared to white rice because it's a whole grain. A whole grain has three parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm. All of these parts have good stuff like fibre and antioxidants. A study in 2022 looked at 13 tests where some people ate brown rice, and others ate white rice. They found that people who ate brown rice lost more weight. That might be because brown rice has more fibre. Also, brown rice has unique stuff that can help with insulin resistance, glucose tolerance, and keeping our gut healthy.
White rice differs from brown rice because it goes through a process where some parts of the rice, called bran and germ, are removed. This makes white rice have less fibre, vitamins, and minerals. So, white rice is not considered a whole grain but a refined grain. Some people prefer white rice when eating or cooking at home because it's not as chewy, softer and cooks faster than brown rice.
While some people like the taste and texture of white rice, it's essential to know that our bodies digest it differently than brown rice. White rice is a type of food that quickly raises blood sugar levels because it has a high glycemic index. This leads to our bodies producing more insulin. Some studies suggest that too much insulin might be connected to weight gain, but it hasn't been proven that high-glycemic foods directly cause weight gain. So, does eating white rice make you gain weight? White rice has slightly more calories and carbohydrates than brown rice, so eating too many calories over a long time could contribute to weight gain. However, white rice alone doesn't make you gain weight and can be part of a healthy diet.
White rice doesn't have as much fibre as brown rice, an essential nutrient for managing weight. The lower fibre content means that white rice might not make you feel as complete as whole-grain brown rice, so you might end up eating more calories or feeling hungry again sooner after eating.
All rice has a covering called a husk, but it's not good to eat. When rice is processed, the husk is taken off. Before that happens, parboiled rice goes through a unique steaming process. This makes it firmer, chewier, and more yellow than white rice. Parboiled rice contains resistant starches, which are particular nutrients that help keep our guts healthy. It also has lots of protein, which is essential for our bodies. The resistant starches in parboiled rice can also help us maintain steady blood sugar levels, which is good for our overall health. When our blood sugar levels are balanced, it can help us with our metabolism and manage a healthy weight. Parboiled rice is also packed with more nutrients than regular white rice. It has more protein, iron, fibre, folate, phosphorus, and other good things our bodies need.
Basmati rice is a type of long-grain rice that is often used in Middle Eastern dishes like pilaf and curry. Unlike other types of rice, basmati rice grains don't stick together and clump up as much. You can find basmati rice in two versions: white and brown. Brown basmati rice is healthier because it has more fibre, iron, and calcium. A study from 2018 found that brown rice is better for controlling blood sugar levels because it has a lower glycemic index.
Jasmine rice is another long-grain rice, but it's popular in Thai and Vietnamese dishes. It has a pleasant smell and a soft, fluffy texture that people enjoy. Jasmine rice has similar nutrition to other types of rice, but the brown version is even healthier because it has more fibre, iron, and B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for giving us energy and helping us maintain a healthy weight.
Black rice is a type of whole grain popular in Asian countries. It has a deep purple colour, which makes it look fabulous in different dishes. The purple colour comes from particular nutrients called anthocyanins, which also have health benefits and help fight inflammation. You can find anthocyanins in other dark foods like purple potatoes and blueberries. Black rice is often called a "superfood" because it has as many anthocyanins as blueberries. Also, a small amount of uncooked black rice gives you 4 grams of protein, which is essential for weight management. Protein helps keep your blood sugar levels steady and makes you feel full and satisfied.
Some people may think eating rice will make them gain belly fat, but that's not true. Rice has a lot of good things about it. It doesn't have gluten, so it's good for people who can't eat gluten. Rice is also versatile, which means you can use it in many different dishes, and it's affordable too. Also, rice is nutritious and has essential vitamins and minerals. If you want to lose weight, you don't have to stop eating rice altogether. Like any other grain, rice can be part of a healthy diet. Here are a few ways to include rice in a balanced and healthy diet.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) from 2020 to 2025 say that eating whole grains is good for your health. They suggest that half of the grains you eat should be whole grains. To follow this guideline and have a healthy diet, try choosing brown rice about half the time instead of white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain and can help you meet the DGAs recommendations for better nutrition and overall health.
A healthy attitude towards food is essential when you want to lose weight. It starts with having the right mindset. Thinking of rice as a bad food can make you feel bad when you eat it. But the truth is all foods can be part of a healthy diet. It's essential to make peace with all foods, including rice. By accepting and enjoying all kinds of food, you'll do your body and brain a favour. So, remember that rice can be part of a healthy diet, and there's no need to label it as bad food.
The Plate method is a helpful way to create balanced meals and make sure you're getting different nutrients. According to this method, you divide your plate into sections. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, like broccoli or carrots. Then, fill a quarter of your plate with lean protein, such as chicken or fish. Finally, fill the remaining quarter with whole grain or starchy vegetables, like brown rice. This way, you're not just eating one type of food but also including various foods in your meal. It helps you feel full and gives you the nutrients your body needs.
To get good nutrition, it's essential to have a balance of different types of foods in your meals. Rice is a flexible food that you can use as a base to add more vegetables. Except for black rice, which is dark, rice is usually plain in colour and taste. But you can make it more delicious and exciting by cooking it with kale, beets, and sweet potatoes. This adds flavour, makes your meal look colourful, and adds different textures. Plus, it boosts the nutritional value of your meal, which is good for your body.
Moving your body more can help you with your weight and health goals. Exercise is like a special gift for your body and mind. It can help you manage stress, lose weight, and sleep better. Starting a new exercise routine might seem challenging initially, but you can make it easier by beginning with exercises designed for beginners. This way, you can gradually add more movement to your daily routine in a practical and manageable way.
Does rice contribute to weight gain? The truth is that rice alone does not directly lead to an increase in weight. Rice is a fundamental component of numerous diets and offers a range of benefits, so there's no need to avoid it, even if you're aiming to shed pounds. All types of rice can be incorporated into a healthy eating plan, including white, brown, long-grain, or short-grain varieties. Brown rice can be a wiser choice as it is rich in fibre, folate, magnesium, and other vital nutrients that promote overall well-being and may assist in weight management.