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Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: March 2, 2021
If you’re anything like me, you love rice, or any white food for that matter! Whether it is rice, flour or pasta, I’m sure you can agree that its quite delicious. Unfortunately, these foods are high in carbohydrates and can cause your blood sugar levels to drastically rise and drop, thus causing a cycle of craving. Rice in particular is also high in calories where only 1 cup of white rice is approximately 200 calories. So, when you have a high calorie food that encourages cravings so that you eat even more, you’d probably find yourself with a weight problem. Thankfully, there are many ways to address this issue and we will now dive further into the question of whether you can continue to eat rice and lose your dreaded excess fat.
Can You Eat Rice And Still Lose Weight?
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To put it simply, yes you can lose weight if you stop eating rice, due to a drastic reduction in caloric intake. After all, if you normally eat 2 cups of rice per day and stop eating it, then this means that you’ll naturally consume 400 less calories on a daily basis which would cause weight loss.
Rice is one of the most popular grains that is consumed around the world by billions of people, every day. It is what is known as a staple food and there are actually many different types and varieties. In order to understand the nutritional profile of rice, you’ll need to know its constitution. The rice grain itself is made up of the germ, endosperm and bran. The germ is the innermost layer that is rich in nutrients, vitamins and anti-oxidants. The endosperm is the middle layer and it consists of proteins and carbohydrates. The outer layer is the bran and its purpose is to protect the grain and it contains minerals and B vitamins.
As mentioned previously, there are different types of rice and the two most widely known are white and brown rice. White rice is where each grain of the rice’s germ and bran has been removed. These parts are the most nutritious and the resulting white rice grain is made up of mainly starch or carbohydrates. Brown rice on the other hand is where the germ, bran and endosperm is intact which means that it is a lot more nutritious and healthy for you.
There are studies that indicate that consuming brown rice is actually good for weight loss due to the fact that it contains high amounts of fiber and nutrients. White rice on the other hand has inconclusive results since some studies have linked it to obesity whereas in the countries where it is a staple, such as in Asia, it is linked to a lower risk of gaining fat.
So, even though you may definitely want to reduce or cut out white rice from your diet, brown rice is still a very nutritious food that you may want to keep in your diet in controlled amounts.
As mentioned above, the type of rice you consume is important as well as the quantity is important when it comes to weight loss. Rice, just like any other food would cause weight gain once you don’t control your portion sizes. Due to the fact that rice is very calorie dense, it is very easy to eat too much rice.
Unfortunately, most people don’t measure how much food or rice that they consume which easily leads to over eating. So, it is highly advisable that if you truly enjoy eating rice and you want to lose weight that you start weighing your rice and only eating limited amounts. Since a cup of white rice is approximately 200 calories and a cup of brown rice is 216 calories, you should strive to eat only a cup or less per day of either rice. However, you should definitely opt for brown rice.
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Consider Swapping Rice For Greens
If you’ve made up your mind to stop eating rice in order to consume less calories, then this is definitely the path to faster weight loss. So, instead of adding rice to your plate you can swap it for greens. There are lots of delicious greens that you can enjoy with your meals instead of rice. For example, you can easily use lettuce, spinach, kale, watercress, cabbage, collard greens and more. If you’re not sure about which greens you prefer, simply try different types with different meals and see which ones you prefer. For example, you can make easy tuna tacos with tuna and vegetables wrapped in lettuce leaves. This is a much healthier alternative to eating tuna, vegetables and rice.
Kale is a particularly versatile leafy green that you can eat raw, steam or even make kale chips! It is the perfect substitute for rice since it is a very hearty green that will definitely fill you up. If you’re tired of the usual greens, you can switch things up by using Asian greens. These can be easily sauteed and added to any type of meat you enjoy.
Best Rice Alternatives
If you want to eat rice without actually eating rice, then you may want to consider a couple of vegetarian-based rice alternatives. Yes, you can enjoy rice-like foods that make you feel as though you’re eating rice without all of the added calories and carbohydrates. This is particularly helpful if you’re following a low carb diet or whole 30 diet plan. These diets are both very effective for weight loss and rice alternatives can definitely help you to stick to them.
- Cauliflower Rice
One delicious rice alternative that you need to try is cauliflower rice. Since cauliflower is similar in color and texture to rice, you may even forget that you’re actually eating a vegetable! To start, you’ll need a large cauliflower and cut it into chunks and grate. Then, squeeze out all of the moisture from the grated cauliflower by squeezing in a clean towel or paper towel. Next, you can cook the cauliflower rice in different ways but the most effective would either be steaming it lightly for a few minutes or sautee it with some oil and vegetables for a mixed rice dish.
- Broccoli Rice
Another alternative is to make broccoli rice. This rice is prepared in a similar fashion to cauliflower rice where you grate the broccoli and then cook in oil or steam. This is a very nutritious rice substitute that has lots of fiber, vitamin C etc.
- Shirataki Rice
Shirataki rice is a great rice alternative that is also low calorie and low carb. You can easily buy this in most supermarkets and the great thing about it is that it has less than 5 calories per serving. This rice is made out of Konjac root which has numerous health benefits. You can easily prepare it by rinsing it, boiling for only a minute or two and then heating it until it is completely dried. Even if you can’t find this particular rice in your local supermarkets, you can purchase it online.
To wrap things up, we have just covered if you’d be able to lose weight by eliminating rice from your diet, the importance of measuring how much rice you eat and rice alternatives. The truth is, you don’t absolutely need to eliminate any food from your diet once you practice moderation and ensure that you consume fewer calories than you burn every day. However, if you do want to drastically speed up your weight loss then eliminating rice from your diet would help significantly.