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Is Rice Good If You Are on a Low-fat Diet?

by
author image Diane Lynn
Diane Lynn began writing in 1998 as a guest columnist for the "Tallahassee Democrat." After losing 158 pounds, she wrote her own weight-loss curriculum and now teaches classes on diet and fitness. Lynn also writes for The Oz Blog and her own blog, Fit to the Finish. She has a Bachelor of Science in finance from Florida State University.
Is Rice Good If You Are on a Low-fat Diet?
A bowl of cooked rice and chopsticks on a wooden table. Photo Credit sutlafk/iStock/Getty Images

Rice is a staple in the diets of people around the world. Basmati, jasmine, wild rice, white rice and brown rice are a few of the over 120,000 varieties of rice grown in the world, according to the USA Rice Federation. Eating rice as part of your healthy, low-fat diet may help you keep your fat and calories within the ranges recommended by your doctor.

Benefits

A low-fat diet requires you to eat foods low in fat, such as rice, keeping your overall fat intake at below 30 percent. If you eat 1,500, 1,800 or 2,000 calories while eating a low-fat diet, limit your fat calories to 450, 540 and 600, respectively. A low-fat diet may help you if you suffer from heart disease, obesity or Type 2 diabetes, as evidenced by a February 2005 study published in the “Seminars in Vascular Medicine” journal. Foods such as rice, grains, vegetables, fruits, fat-free dairy and some meats are low in fat.

Nutritional Information

Brown rice is one of the healthier types of rice to eat, as it is a whole grain. The fiber content in brown rice is 3.5 grams per cup, while white rice contains just 0.6 grams per cup. The higher fiber content in brown rice keeps you full longer. All rice contains complex carbohydrates, which gives your body energy. A cup of cooked white or brown rice has an average of 45 grams of carbohydrates, 18 percentage of your daily intake if you eat a 2,000 calorie diet. A cup of brown rice has 1.75 grams of fat, about one-third from saturated fat and the other two-thirds from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. White rice has a trace of fat, with just 0.12 grams coming from saturated fat. A cup of rice averages about 210 calories.

Expert Insight

If you eat at least one-half a serving of rice a day, you may consume fewer calories from sugar, total fat and unhealthy saturated fats, according to a July 2005 study published by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. The filling nature of rice may make it easier for you to avoid filling up on fatty foods such as chips or candy. Include rice as part of your healthy, low-fat meal by adding fresh or steamed vegetables and low-fat poultry or fish.

Strategies

When you eat rice without adding fats during or after cooking, the rice is almost fat-free. If you are monitoring your calorie intake, measure the cooked rice carefully to ensure you do not eat too many calories from rice. Use rice and beans as a main dish; eat wild rice alongside skinless, baked chicken; or use cooked rice as part of a low-fat rice pudding dessert. Avoid fried rice or packaged, flavored rice, as the sodium content and calories may be excessive, even if the fat content is low. A cup of fried rice in a restaurant has 955 calories and 554 milligrams of sodium, but just 3.18 grams of fat.

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