Does Eating Brown Rice Reduce Belly Fat?

Eating doesn't reduce belly fat, even if you're eating a recognized health food like brown rice. But eating brown rice instead of a different food can change the profile of your daily caloric intake, which won't cause you to lose belly fat on its own but can support your weight loss efforts in a variety of ways.

A low-fat veggie wrap with brown rice, hummus and vegetables. (Image: EzumeImages/iStock/Getty Images)

Losing Belly Fat

The bad news is that nothing you can do will specifically help you lose belly fat. Fat comes off your body as a whole, regardless of what you do to stimulate the weight loss. The good news is that your belly fat is part of your "body as a whole." This means any successful weight loss effort will inevitably include your belly fat.

Brown vs. White Rice

Brown rice is processed less than white rice -- it's the chief difference between the two. Processed rice breaks down quickly in your digestive tract, leading to a blood glucose spike followed by a valley in your blood sugar levels. During that valley, you will experience cravings for more food. Although brown and white rice contain comparable amounts of calories, white rice may lead you to snack more often and eat more calories overall.

Brown Rice vs. Protein

What brown rice is to white rice, protein is to brown rice. Protein digests even more slowly and evenly than brown rice, leading to even more stable blood glucose levels. If you replace protein servings with brown rice, you're unlikely to lose your belly fat unless you are very good at resisting between-meal food cravings.

Brown Rice vs. Junk Food

Brown rice is a much better food choice than empty calorie foods like sweets, soda pop and fast food. As with white rice -- which almost qualifies as junk food on a calories-to-nutrition analysis -- you may lose weight and belly fat if you replace your junk food habit with servings of brown rice.

Bottom Line

Brown rice on its own may not help you lose your belly fat. The key to incorporating any food into a weight loss diet is determining what to replace with that food. With brown rice, you can help your weight loss efforts by replacing foods that are higher in calories, lower in nutrition and break down more easily.

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