Weight Loss

Is Biryani Good for Weight Loss?

Parul Dube

November 30, 2023

Obesity is a global health concern that is rapidly increasing. To combat this, it is necessary to make some dietary adjustments that are both healthy and feasible. Weight loss can happen by creating a calorie deficit i.e. burning more calories than consumed. 

Experts advise concentrating on nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods. Furthermore, some suggest refraining from high-fat options such as biryani.

Considering the high carb and fat in such meals, reducing the quantity and frequency of consumption or eliminating them altogether is better. However, modern lifestyles can make it hard to avoid such items. But one can consume them in the right way to meet health-related objectives.

This article discusses one of everyone’s favourites, Biryani, and its impact on body weight. Read on to find out.

Biryani for Weight Loss – An Overview

Biryani is a popular Indian dish many enjoy. However, it contains high calories and fats. Therefore, nutritionists recommend moderate and occasional consumption. 

Veg Biryani typically contains around 250-300 calories per serving, most of which come from carbohydrates.

This dish is also rich in dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals. However, its sodium content is relatively high due to spices and condiments. Therefore, those looking to maintain a healthy weight should limit their portions and avoid adding additional fats such as ghee or oil.

Non-veg Biryani contains more protein than its veg counterpart due to the presence of meat. However, it also has more calories and fats, making it a less ideal option for those looking to manage their weight.

Moreover, a typical serving of non-veg biryani contains around 400-450 calories, which makes it higher in terms of calorific value. Therefore, one must choose leaner meats such as chicken or fish for weight loss. In addition, regulating portion sizes is also vital. One must also avoid fats such as ghee or oil.

Types of Biryani

Originating in the Indian subcontinent, biryani has become a beloved dish with varied regional styles and ingredients.

Common types of biryani include chicken, lamb, and vegetable varieties. People often serve it with raita, a yoghurt-based condiment, and it can be topped with nuts or herbs to add an extra layer of flavour.

Non-veg Biryani

There are several non-veg biryanis, each with a unique blend of spices and flavours. Some of the most popular types include the following.

  1. Chicken Biryani: A classic biryani dish, chicken biryani is made with marinated chicken, aromatic basmati rice and a mix of spices.
  2. Mutton Biryani: Mutton biryani is a sumptuous dish prepared with slow-cooked mutton, basmati rice, ginger, garlic and various spices. This dish is known for its intense flavour.
  3. Fish Biryani: A coastal speciality, fish biryani is usually made with white fish. People flavour it with a blend of spices such as turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander powder.
  4. Prawn Biryani: A seafood delicacy from the coast, prawn biryani is made with plump, juicy prawns and fragrant basmati rice, spiced with turmeric, red chilli powder and coriander powder. 
  5. Egg Biryani: Egg biryani is made with hard-boiled eggs, basmati rice, and various spices. It is popular in some regions of India. 
  6. Duck Biryani: For those looking for something different, this biryani is made with duck meat and spices, giving it a unique flavour. 

While these are some of the most popular types of non-vegetarian biryani there are many more variations depending on the regional cuisine.

Veg Biryani

There are several types of vegetarian biryani, each with its unique flavours and ingredients. Some of the most popular varieties include the following.

  1. Vegetable Biryani: This classic version of biryani contains a combination of carrots, peas, potatoes, and bell peppers, cooked with basmati rice and flavoured with cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric.
  2. Paneer Biryani: Paneer, an Indian cottage cheese, is the primary ingredient in this type of biryani, flavoured with saffron, cardamom, and cloves.
  3. Mushroom Biryani: Mushrooms are sautéed with onions and spices and then cooked with basmati rice to make this biryani, which often has coriander leaves, cashew nuts and raisins as garnishing.
  4. Dal Biryani: Lentils such as chana dal or moong dal form the base of this biryani, while cumin, coriander, and turmeric add flavour.
  5. Cauliflower Biryani: This type of biryani is made with cauliflower florets and spiced with cumin, coriander, and turmeric.
  6. Soya Chunk Biryani: Soya chunks are cooked with basmati rice and flavoured with cumin, coriander, and turmeric in this biryani.

These are some of the most popular types of vegetarian biryani, but one can make many other variations with different vegetables, lentils, and spices.

Nutritional Profile of Biryani

The nutritional profile of veg and non-veg Biryani can vary depending on the ingredients used and the preparation method. 

Veg Biryani

Veg Biryani typically has 250-300 calories per serving, mostly from carbohydrates. It provides moderate amounts of protein and a little fat.

The carbohydrates come from the rice and vegetables used, while the proteins come from lentils and vegetables. Additionally, it is an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

Non-veg Biryani

Compared to veg biryani, non-veg biryani has higher amounts of protein and fat since it contains meat. A single serving of non-veg biryani typically has around 400-450 calories.

That is because protein comes from meat, whereas fat comes from the oil and ghee used to make the dish. Additionally, non-veg biryani offers a moderate amount of carbohydrates and fibres and is rich in vitamins and minerals.

If you’re looking to lose weight but still want to enjoy biryani, it’s best to consume it in moderation and tweak the ingredients to make a healthier version.

Since veg and non-veg biryani have relatively high sodium content due to spices and condiments, it’s essential to adjust the recipe to reduce overall sodium intake. 

Below are some tips on how to prepare a healthier version of biryani as a low-calorie dietary choice.

Can The Delicious Biryani Help With Weight Loss?

Biryani is not an ideal food choice for individuals looking to lose weight since it contains many calories and fat. In addition, the combination of rice, meat, and spices in biryani add many calories and saturated fat, while ghee or oil used for cooking further contributes to the calorie and fat content.

A nutritional analysis of meat biryani in one study revealed that it had an energy content of 434.656 ± 13.76 Kcal per 100 g, 18.30 ± 2.90 g of fat, and 16.54 ± 3.93 g of protein. The percentages of saturated, unsaturated, and trans fat were 37.08 ± 9.44%, 61.64 ± 9.61%, and 1.28 ± 0.35%, respectively.

If you want to enjoy biryani while adhering to a weight-loss diet, try reducing your portion size. In addition, limit the amount of added oils and fats and incorport more vegetables into the dish.

Certain types of biryani are more calorie and fat conscious than others; for example, chicken and vegetable biryani are typically healthier options than lamb biryani.

Vegetable biryani can be an excellent option for those trying to lose weight. It can be made with minimal oil and no meat, making it a low-calorie meal. Additionally, this version of biryani can be high in fibre and nutrients from the vegetables used to make it, providing further health benefits.

To get the healthiest out of this dish, it is best to opt for brown rice instead of white. Research shows that whole grains aid in losing weight due to their higher fibre and nutrient content.

Health Benefits of Briyani

Incorporating biryani into a weight-loss diet can offer potential benefits. However, one should prepare it with lean protein and veggies and eat small portions. Otherwise, its high calorie and fat content make it an unsuitable choice. Nevertheless, with careful planning, biryani can be a healthy part of a weight loss regimen, including the following.

  • Biryani can be nutritious and satisfying, offering protein from meat or vegetables.
  • The spices used in biryani, such as turmeric and cumin, have anti-inflammatory properties that may speed up weight loss. 
  • Including vegetables in your biryani dish is an excellent option as they are low in calories yet high in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Eating more vegetables can help you feel fuller for longer and provide you with the essential nutrients you need.

It is important to note that biryani can be high in calories and fat when made with traditional methods like deep frying or heavy cream, which can be detrimental to weight loss goals. Furthermore, one must regulate portion sizes to avoid weight gain.

Adverse Effects of Biryani While Losing Weight

If you overindulge in biryani, a dish made with rice and various spices, you may experience weight gain. After all, it is high in calories, carbohydrates, and fat. So overconsumption can lead to an abundance of calories consumed and blood sugar spikes due to the carbohydrates in the rice, which could promote insulin resistance.

Biryani when prepared in a traditional way, has layers and toppings of deep fried onions (this adds to the overall fat and sugar content).

The accompaniments for biryani are generally a brinjal salan made with excess oil . Furthermore, commercially prepared biryani may contain high levels of saturated fat and sodium, which can impede weight loss. Furthermore, if the biryani is cooked with ghee or oil, its saturated fat content may negatively impact cardiovascular health.

It is essential to eat biryani in moderation to maintain a healthy weight while avoiding adverse effects. Additionally, it is wise to make healthier decisions, such as using less oil or ghee and selecting leaner meats.

Healthier Version of Biryani for Weight Loss

If you’re attempting to lose weight, remember that eating biryani can lead to weight gain if consumed regularly or in large amounts. Eating a lot of biryani can also cause an increase in blood sugar levels and potentially contribute to obesity and diabetes. 

To help keep your diet on track, try this healthier version of biryani for weight loss: a recipe made with brown rice, lean protein sources such as chicken or tofu, and plenty of vegetables.


  • Brown basmati rice: 1 cup
  • Water: 2 cups 
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces: 1 cup
  • Onion, chopped: 1
  • Garlic, minced: 2 cloves 
  • Ginger, minced: 1 inch 
  • Cumin powder: 1 tsp 
  • Coriander powder: 1 tsp 
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp 
  • Red pepper flakes (optional): 1/4 tsp 
  • Frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, bell peppers): 1 cup 
  • Tomato puree: 1 cup 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Rinse the rice in a fine mesh strainer under running water for about 2 minutes until the water runs clear.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a pot and add the rice. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked thoroughly.
  3. In a pan, sauté chicken over medium-high heat until browned and cooked. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add a little oil and sauté onions, garlic, and ginger until softened.
  5. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes, and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  6. Add frozen vegetables and tomato puree, and stir to combine.
  7. Add the cooked chicken and stir to combine.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. To serve, fluff the cooked rice with a fork and spoon the chicken and vegetable mixture over it. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
  10. Enjoy your healthy and tasty biryani.


Biryani can be high in calories, fat and sodium due to oils, butter, and meat. Additionally, it often includes added sugars and refined carbohydrates.

Consuming these types of foods in large quantities can contribute to weight gain. However, it can be part of a weight loss plan if you ensure portion control and make healthier ingredient substitutions.

For example, lean meats, reducing the amount of oil used, and adding more vegetables can make biryani healthier. It is also essential to consider the overall balance of your diet and ensure you are getting enough physical activity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can you lose weight by eating biryani?

A. Although biryani does not aid in weight loss, one can include biryani in a weight loss diet with conscious efforts. Yne must consume it occasionally and in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Biryani is often high in calories, so it is essential to watch portions and balance them with other nutrient-dense foods.

Q. Is biryani high in calories?

A. Biryani is a dish that can vary in calorie content depending on the recipe and ingredients used. Generally, it is considered a high-calorie dish due to its combination of rice, meat, and spices. Adding ghee (clarified butter) and oil can also contribute to the calorie content. Additionally, cooking methods such as deep-frying can also increase the calorie content. Therefore, it’s best to check the nutritional information or ask the vendor for the calorific content of the biryani you are consuming.

Q. Is biryani healthy or unhealthy?

A. The traditional biryani-making process is not as healthy. However, it is possible to make biryani healthier for weight loss. For example, using lean protein sources such as chicken or fish, reducing the amount of oil used in cooking, and increasing the proportion of vegetables can help lower the calorie content. You can also consider using brown rice instead of white rice. Additionally, paying attention to portion size when trying to lose weight is essential. Eating smaller portions of biryani or pairing it with a side of vegetables helps keep calorie intake in check.

Q. Can we eat biryani while at the gym?

A. Eating biryani at the gym is not ideal, as it typically contains a high amount of carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, it can be detrimental to your workout goals—eating a balanced meal with lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains before and after your workout is best.

Q. Is biryani high in fat?

A. Biryani can be high in fat, depending on the recipe and ingredients used. Traditional biryani recipes often use ghee, a type of clarified butter, and meats such as chicken or lamb, both of which are high in fat. Additionally, many biryani recipes include nuts and dried fruits, which can add to the overall fat content of the dish. However, making a biryani dish lower in fat is possible by using lean meats, reducing the amount of ghee or oil used, and leaving out high-fat ingredients such as nuts and dried fruits.

Q. What happens if I eat biryani daily?

A. Regular biryani consumption can negatively affect your health if the dish contains calories, fat, and sodium. Consuming too many calories can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. High sodium levels can also increase blood pressure, putting extra strain on the heart and blood vessels. Therefore, one must follow a balanced diet and vary food choices to ensure one gets all the nutrients the body needs.

Q. What is the best time to eat biryani?

A. No specific time is considered the ‘best’ time to eat biryani. Ultimately, it depends on personal preference and appetite. Biryani is a popular dish that people eat at any time. However, people often serve it as a main course during lunch or dinner.

The Research Sources

1. Aparna, Kuna & Sreedhar, M & Jagan, Ch & Sharanya, D & Bhagyamma, M & Sandhya, V. (2020). Nutritional Evaluation of Meat Biryani – A Popular and Most Consumed Delicacy. Journal of Meat Science. 14. 10.5958/2581-6616.2019.00006.9. 


2. Wu WC, Inui A, Chen CY. Weight loss induced by a whole grain-rich diet is through a gut microbiota-independent mechanism. World J Diabetes. 2020 Feb 15;11(2):26-32. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v11.i2.26. PMID: 32064033; PMCID: PMC6969707.


About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

Related Articles


Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your health is our priority. Talk to one of our experts and get the best plan for you today.
Chat With Us