Can Eating White Rice Help You Lose Weight?

When it comes to weight loss, eating nutrient-dense foods is the first step to boosting your health and shedding a few pounds. You also need to reduce your intake of foods high in refined carbs, which means, if you're eating white rice for weight loss, it's time to do a major overhaul on your diet.

Eating white rice daily is not going to help you lose weight. (Image: mescioglu/iStock/GettyImages)

Tip

Eating white rice daily is not going to help you lose weight. If you want to shed a few pounds, choose whole-grain carbohydrates that are high in fiber.

White Rice Calories

The calorie content in white rice is comparable to other grains. But the low fiber content makes this type of rice not as favorable as a grain with a higher fiber content. According to the USDA, 1 cup of white rice has 205 calories, with 44.5 grams coming from carbohydrates, but only 0.6 grams of those carbs are fiber. Which means, if you're eating white rice for weight loss, you might want to rethink your strategy.

The recommended fiber intake for an adult female is 25 grams, and an adult male should be eating 38 grams of fiber per day, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Foods high in fiber help you feel fuller for longer, which is essential when trying to lose weight. They can also help lower cholesterol and prevent constipation.

While the recommended amount of fiber might seem like a lot, it's actually quite easy to reach this quota if you choose your foods wisely. High fiber foods such as steel-cut oats, beans, barley, fruit, vegetables, bran flakes, brown rice and quinoa all pair well with other parts of a meal. And if you choose to eat white rice, try to pair it with a lean protein and a high fiber vegetable such as broccoli. Finally, to help support your weight loss efforts, avoid eating white rice every day.

White Rice and Blood Sugar

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half of your carbohydrates come from whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal and brown rice. Choosing whole-grain carbs allows you to eat foods that are nutrient-dense and high in fiber. Plus, whole-grains help to regulate your blood sugar, which is something you won't find if you're eating white rice for weight loss.

In addition to the low fiber content, eating white rice every day, or even a few times a week can also cause a rise in your blood sugar, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. White rice is classified as a high glycemic food, which means powerful spikes in blood sugar can happen as a result of eating it. This can lead to heart disease, an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of being overweight.

In general, choose foods that have a low to medium glycemic load, and consider limiting high glycemic foods like white rice. To accomplish this, swap white rice for brown rice, which is a medium glycemic load. Or even better, stick with black beans and kidney beans, which are both on the low glycemic list.

Weight Loss Strategies

Weight loss should be a gradual process, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and one that encourages long-term maintenance. That's why the CDC recommends a safe and sustainable weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week.

To do this, you can cut your daily caloric intake by 500 or 1,000, depending on your goal. If you reduce your daily intake by 500 calories, you can expect to lose 1 pound, whereas, a 1,000 calorie reduction should result in a 2 pound per week weight loss. And if you want to increase your chances of success, both in the short term and long-term, consider adding exercise to your daily routine.

Participating in physical activity most days of the week can help you maintain your weight over time, according to the CDC. It also boosts your overall health, reduces the risk of certain diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, increases bone health and reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as walking, cycling or swimming, five days a week, and two to three days of strength-training exercises that target the major muscle groups.

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