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Rice good or bad for weight loss. Rice is possibly the most popular food item amongst Indians. Almost every popular dish in India has rice in it like biryani, idli, dosa, etc. This is not the case with India alone. Rice runs in veins of every Asian instead of blood. It is perhaps the most widely consumed food grain in the world. There are several types of rice in the world but the most common division for rice is mainly two- White rice and brown rice.
White rice is a refined and polished grain. All the fiber present in the rice is removed from it in the process of refinement. Brown rice is the less or not refined version of rice that has more fiber in it.
Rice regardless of its type is definitely always high on carbs. High intake of carbs has been frequently linked with several diseases and obesity. However, it is very curious that East Asian countries like Japan have low rates of the very diseases that have been linked with high carb intake.
This brings us to the question- Is rice good or bad for weight loss? To get to the bottom of this question we first need to understand rice. What is rice? What is it made of? What is its structure? It is only by understanding rice can we explain if it is good or bad for weight loss.
What is rice?
Rice is one of the most common food grains in the world and humans have been cultivating it since the start of civilization. Earliest rice cultivators were Chinese around a thousand years ago. Rice, like most food grains, is made up of three layers- Bran, germ, and Endosperm. All three of these layers together form rice.
Bran- It is the hard exterior that protects the seed inside from getting damaged. It is rich in fiber, anti-oxidants, and minerals.
Germ- This is the seed that the Bran is protecting. It is the nutrient-rich part of rice. It contains carbs, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Endosperm- This is the largest part of the grain and it is also what lies between bran and germ. It is almost completely carbohydrates and just the tiniest bit of protein.
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What is the difference between white and brown rice?
Now that you know what rice is made of you are ready to understand what is the difference between white and brown rice. Brown rice is simply the whole grain with little to no refinement. This means that it has all its nutrients intact and nothing has been lost from it. White rice is however refined so much that the germ and bran part is removed from the grain which means it is almost entirely endosperm. That means it is almost entirely carbs and it has no other nutritional value.
White rice has more calories and lesser nutrients than brown rice and it does not have any value apart from the taste.
What effect does rice have on weight loss?
While the effects of brown rice on weight loss are widely known and accepted. The effects of white rice on weight loss are completely unknown.
There have been various studies and research that have proved that people who eat whole grains, like, brown rice are more likely to lose weight than people who eat grains like white rice. The reason is believed to be the high fiber and protein content of whole grains like brown rice. The fiber fills you up without actually increasing your calorie consumption. This leads to you eating less food and gaining less weight while still maintaining a healthy nutrient intake.
Fiber is extremely effective when it comes to weight loss. It is so effective that a twelve-year-long study on women found that those who consumed more fiber than the others were at half the risk of weight gain than the others.
However, studies on white rice have not been so clear or consistent. There have been studies that have found that eating highly refined grains leads to weight gain. On the other hand, a lot of other studies have found that eating white rice is not connected to weight loss in any way. There also studies that have shown that places where white rice is staple food the risk of weight gain is lower and they also have lesser cases of morbid obesity.
A study conducted upon overweight Korean women found that women who consumed a combined meal of white and brown rice lost more weight than women who consumed only white rice.
So it looks like both of these rice help a person lose weight. However brown rice still is a better option because it is higher in fibers and nutrients. It is also heavier and lower in quality. So you get a whole lot of nutrients with the added benefit of reduced weight gain.
Rice has once been the main ingredient in a weight loss diet
A diet formulated for patients suffering from kidney disease and high blood pressure in 1939 actually emphasized the use of rice for weight loss. It was an extremely tasteless but effective diet and it worked wonders on the blood pressure and kidney disease. It was known as the ultra low-fat diet. The diet mainly had rice, fruits, and fruit juice as a regular diet.
However, worth noting that this was actually a very controlled diet with very low portion sizes and it is not wise to equate the results of this diet with rice in a regular diet in huge amounts. It still establishes that rice in controlled amounts is not a horrible thing for weight loss.
It is important to note that any food eaten in large quantities will contribute to weight loss because all food items have a certain amount of calorific value. As we have seen different studies have shown different results about Rice’s effects on weight loss. So there is nothing particularly fattening about rice itself. However the diet you eat along with it or the portion size of your meals might be contributing to your weight gain.
Rice also has different effects on different people so if you have been eating rice for a long time without any weight gain continue eating it but if you do not eat it regularly do not include it in your diet just because you want to lose weight.
However, brown rice is definitely a much better and nutritious option than white rice. Mostly because it has higher nutrient and fibre content as opposed to plain white rice which is basically just pure carbs and nothing else. Also remember to consult with your doctor or dietician before starting any diet and work with them to include or exclude stuff from your diet.