Rice is the most significant food source worldwide. Historians think the cultivation of rice began about 2,500 years ago in China. Rice is often included in Asian meals. Short and long grain varieties exist, as well as brown rice, which still contains the germ. Rice provides several nutritional benefits for weight loss, as long as it is not prepared with unhealthy fats.
A 1-cup serving of cooked white rice provides 205 calories, or 10 percent of the total daily calories on a standard 2,000-calorie diet. Brown rice provides 218 calories, or 11 percent of a day's calories. Quinoa and amaranth are alternative grains that provide more energy than rice -- 222 and 251 calories, respectively. Consuming fewer calories is the most effective approach to dieting.
One cup of cooked white rice provides .44 g of fat, or less than 1 percent of the daily value (DV), recommended by the FDA. Brown rice provides 1.6 g, or 2 percent of the daily value. Fat is a concentrated source of calories -- 1 gram provides 9 calories; protein and carbohydrates provide only 4 calories per gram. Including the recommended 65 g is important for cell, brain and cardiovascular health, but consuming more than the daily value contributes to obesity.
The fiber content in 1 cup of white rice is .6 g, or 3 percent of the daily value; brown rice provides 3.5 g, or 14 percent of the daily value. Fiber contributes to weight loss because it fills the stomach, satisfying hunger and preventing overeating and unnecessary snacking. It also regulates the level of glucose in the bloodstream. When glucose blood levels rise abnormally, the body responds by storing glucose as glycogen that often transforms to fat.
Protein and Carbohydrates
A 1-cup serving of white rice provides 4.25 g of protein, or 9 percent of the 50 g daily value; brown rice provides 4.5 g. The carbohydrate content is about 45 g for both white and brown rice, or 15 percent of the daily value. Protein slows the digestion of carbohydrates, a benefit for balancing blood glucose. Protein also builds muscle.
- University of California at Davis: Rice History
- USDA: Nutrient Data Laboratory; Rice, White, Long-Grain, Regular, Cooked
- MayoClinic.com; What Does Percent Daily Value Mean on Food Labels?; Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.; May 6, 2010
- ScienceDaily.com; Protecting Rice: The Planet's Most Important Food Source; March 21, 2007
- USDA: Nutrient Data Laboratory: Rice, Brown, Medium-Grain, Cooked