Weight Loss

Is Rice Good for Weight Loss?

Mehak Shah

February 24, 2023

Rice is a versatile, simple-to-cook, and nutritious dish. So it is no surprise that this grain has long been a staple of many cuisines.

Three of the world’s most populous nations, China, India, and Indonesia, are rice-based societies. In India, one typically eats rice at least once a day.

There are different varieties of rice, and each has a slightly different nutrient profile. The two most important factors for weight loss are the type of rice you eat and the portion.

So, let’s dig deeper and explore the different aspects of weight loss when it comes to rice and how various rice varieties have a role to play. 

Asians And The Oh So Beloved Rice!

Nearly half of the world’s population depends on rice. Rice is the star of every Asian cookbook. We have onigiri, sushi, rice cakes, pulav, mochi, rice bowls and a lot more given the versatility of this grain. From an Asian perspective, rice is the primary source of daily calories.

Rice has a unique subtle taste and sticky texture that brings out the flavour of other side dishes eaten along with it. However, it has a high glycemic index, meaning it can raise your sugar levels quickly while getting digested. Furthermore, because it digests fast, you may get hungry again quicker and consequently consume more calories. 

The nutritional makeup of different types of rice varies depending on how the grain is processed, which also affects other variables that impact weight loss. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Weight loss is not about eating more or less of one particular food, such as rice. Instead, switching to healthier alternatives such as other rice varieties can help you to lower your calorie intake. But ultimately, you must make modifications to your overall diet and exercise routine.

Common Rice Varieties

Learning about some of the different varieties of rice is a good idea because, depending on the type and the amount you eat, rice consumption can make or break the deal for you. 

Here are some common types of rice:

White Rice

White rice is frequently the main ingredient in dishes served simply with curries and lentils. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian curries go well with white, steamed rice. White rice is a bland grain and can adjust to any flavour and preparation.

In addition, white rice has a chewiness and delicate texture that adds substance to meals and compliments different cooking styles and palates. 

Read more: White Rice – A Health & Nutrition Guide

White rice goes through a lot of processing and refining processes which results in making it the least healthy variety of rice. It is, therefore, no longer a whole grain. It has almost all of its minerals, vitamins, and fibre removed. White rice also has a lot more calories than other varieties of rice.

White rice also has a high GI value of 72. The glycemic index (GI) works as a tool to measure how quickly a food raises your blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI are rapidly absorbed and cause a sudden, significant increase in blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, foods with a low GI get absorbed more slowly and cause a slower, more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Thus, those intolerant to glucose, such as people with type 2 diabetes, should limit its consumption as much as possible. 

Preferably do pair the while rice with some lentils, whole pulses or even some grilled chicken or fish along with a bowl of freshly cut salad to balance out the meal better.

The USDA provides the nutrition information for 100 g of raw enriched, short-grain white rice:

Calories365 Kcal
Protein7.13 grams
Total Lipid0.66 g
Carbohydrates80 grams
Total fiber1.3 grams
Total sugar0.12 g
Potassium115 mg

Brown Rice

Brown rice is a dehusked and unpolished rice variant with a nutty flavour. When rice is processed, the hull, bran, and germ are lost.

In the case of brown rice, only the outer layer known as the hull of the rice kernel is removed,  retaining the bran and germ. Furthermore, the bran and germ are nutrient laden with rich fibre. As a result, brown rice retains all the nutrients, making it ahealthier option. 

This rice variety can fill you up, which could help you eat fewer calories. However, if you want to lose weight, it’s best to eat in moderation.

Research suggests that eating brown rice may help lose weight and keep obesity at bay. That is because it helps improve bowel movement, leading to an excellent intestinal environment. As a result, it helps reduce risk to obesity while keeping you healthy.

Brown rice offers around 4 g of fibre in a serving size of 158 g.  Scientific studies demonstrate that dietary fibre satiates you for a longer duration. Therefore, including fibre-rich foods may be a wiser decision for your healthy weight loss journey.

100 g of brown rice contains:

Calories88 Kcal
Carbs18.4 g
Fibre0.8 g
Fat0.7 g
Protein1.9 g

Red Rice

Red Rice has an intense quantity of anthocyanins that imparts a red/maroon colour to its bran. Anthocyanin is an antioxidant pigment that gives the red-purple colour to fruits and vegetables.  This antioxidant also helps lower cholesterol levels as per a study

Red rice contains a lot of manganese that supports the body’s metabolism and accelerates the calorie-burning rate. It has calories, however the amount is negligible. For better weight reduction results, look for rice variants that are a darker and richer in  colour.

As per USDA, the nutritional properties of one 100 g of raw red  rice are:

Energy356 kCal
Protein8.89 g
Carbohydrate82.22 g
Total Dietary Fiber4.4 g
Iron2.4 mg
Pottasium222 g

Black Rice

Black Rice has black coloured bran. The unique anthocyanin combined with the external bran imparts a deep purple colour when you cook it. 

Read more: Is Black Rice Good For Weight Loss? Let’s Find Out.

Black rice is considered beneficial due to its less calorie and carbohydrate content. Weight loss is one of the potential benefits of eating black rice. It is rich in nutrients and loaded with antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which give it its characteristic black colour.

Studies have proven that anthocyanins, derived from plants, can positively reduce weight, prevent cardiovascular issues, and more. 

Eating black rice regularly can help you achieve a healthy weight and maintain it on a long-term basis.

In general, the darker the colour of the rice, the more antioxidants it contains. Black or wild rice is another source of micronutrients like zinc, phosphorus, folate, and niacin. 

As per USDA, the nutritional properties of one 100 g of raw black rice are:

Energy356 kCal
Protein8.89 g
Total Lipid3.33 g
Carbohydrate75.56 g
Iron2.4 mg

Read More: Is Black Rice Good For Weightloss?

Basmati Rice

Basmati in hindi means ‘full of aroma’ or ‘fragrant’. It is also known as the ‘queen of perfumed rice’. It is because cooked basmati rice emits a distinct powerful aroma.

Read more: Basmati Rice for Weight Loss: Does It Help?

Basmati rice comes in brown and white forms and is renowned for its nutty flavour and lovely scent. Basmati rice has a medium glycemic index of 50.

Furthermore, basmati rice is lower in calories and carbohydrates than other rice types. For example, one cup of cooked Basmati rice contains about 205 calories and 45 grams of carbohydrates. 

Furthermore, the carbohydrates of Basmati are complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are a healthy energy source, providing a steady release of energy over time preventing blood sugar spikes to a great extent. It can help you avoid the energy crash and cravings that come with eating refined carbohydrates. 

Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal that can impair your health and raise your risk of diabetes, heart issues, and certain cancers. Compared to other types of rice, basmati is often lower in arsenic.

Compared to different rice kinds, several studies have revealed that basmati rice from California, India, or Pakistan has among the lowest amounts of arsenic. 

Each serving typically contains many calories and carbohydrates, though the precise nutrients depend on the particular strain of basmati. According to USDA, 100g of basmati rice contains:

Calories356 kcal
Protein6.67 g
Fat1.11 g
Carbohydrate77.8 g
Fibre2.2 g
Iron0.8 mg

Which Rice Variety Is Best For Weight Loss?

Although almost all rice varieties have carbohydrates, white rice goes through the refinement process. Removing the fibre from whole grain rice also makes it less nutritious. 

Brown rice is high in fibre since it is a whole, intact grain that still contains the bran and germ. The fibre in brown rice can help digestion, reduce stomach emptying time, make you feel fuller for extended periods, and smoothen bowel movements. All of which are pivotal for weight management.

The better your digestive system is functioning, the easier it will be to maintain your weight. Moreover, brown rice requires more chewing, naturally encouraging you to consume fewer portions which translates to fewer calories. 

Red and black rice too are whole grains and possess the same benefits as brown rice. However, the presence of antioxidants makes them nutritionally rich as well. Furthermore, brown rice is a medium GI food with a GI index of 68 while red rice and black rice rank low on the GI index with a score of 55 and 42 respectively. 

What’s important to remember is that the rice variety you choose should be unrefined, long-grained and unpolished. Unrefined rice means that it has its germ and bran attached and thus retains its nutritional value. Long-grained rice takes longer to get digested which causes a slow and steady release of starch in the body. This not only prevents unwanted spikes in blood sugar levels but even assists in weight loss. 

It is crucial to assess the optimal amount of calories your body needs to determine your calorie intake and burn for weight loss. Optimum calorie consumption is  a subjective matter depending on various factors like gender, height, weight, activity level, medical status and genetics.

The Calorie Tracker of HealthifyPro, has completely revolutionised how we count our calories. Simply click a picture of your food and Tracker does the job for you. Furthermore, CGM, included as a part HealthifyPro along with Smart scales and the guidance of certified nutritionists, helps you measure glucose levels real time. This helps you decide which foods to consume and when to burn your calories.

However, It must be noted that even brown rice when eaten in large quantities can cause weight gain  and white rice when consumed in moderation with enough fibre and other nutrients can help lose weight. Portion has the most important role to play when it comes to weight management. 

How To Include Rice In Your Diet?

Rice is a versatile food grain. You can eat it at any time of the day and incorporate it into a wide range of recipes. It pairs well with multiple ingredients. Here are a few easy ways to include rice in your healthy diet.

  • You can have rice porridge for your breakfast.
  • Make a sumptuous meal with rice and lots of different vegetables.
  • Include brown rice in your soup.
  • Make black beans and brown rice for a plant-based dinner or lunch.
  • Use unrefined, unpolished rice flour to make desserts and puddings.
  • You can also use rice in your curry recipes.
  • Try a healthy and nutritious version of risotto with /red/balck/brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Replace refined floured pasta with unrefined rice pasta.

The Rice Diet 

Can you imagine a weight loss diet that revolves around rice? Yes, you read it right. 

In the year 1939, a research scientist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina created the rice diet to treat people with high blood pressure and kidney disease.

It was an ultra-low fat, low-calorie diet consisting mainly of white rice, fruit, fruit juice, and sugar. It includes foods high in complex carbs, limited dairy, and foods low in sodium. 

Rice Recipes to Try for Weight Loss

Long Grain Unrefined Rice Pudding

  • Serves: 6 servings (Each serving is 1 cup)
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes


  • Water: 4 cups
  • Long grain rice: 2 cups (500 g)
  • Almond milk: 1½ cups (375 ml)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vanilla: ½ tsp (2 pinches of powder or two drops of essence)
  • Cinnamon: 1 stick

Method of Preparation

  • Bring water to a boil and add rice. Stir occasionally and cook for roughly 25 minutes.
  • Add milk and other ingredients. Simmer for another 5 minutes while stirring continuously.
  • The rice pudding should become thick.
  • You can eat the pudding warm or put it in the refrigerator to cool down, depending on your preference. 

Vegetable Rice Soup

  • Serves 1
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes


  • Olive oil: ½ tbsp
  • Onion, diced: 1 medium (50 g)
  • Carrot, chopped: 1 (30 g)
  • Celery chopped: 2 stalks (25 g)
  • Chicken broth: 1 cup (250 ml)
  • Water: 1 cup (250 ml)
  • Rice: ½ cup (125 g)
  • Dried parsley: 1 tbsp

Method of Preparation

  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onion, carrots, and celery. 
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir occasionally until translucent.
  • Add water and chicken broth, and bring to a boil.
  • Add the rice and parsley. 
  • Cover and cook for 15 minutes on medium heat. 
  • Serve hot. 

Rice Pulao

  • Serves: 1
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes


  • Long grain, unrefined rice: ½ cup
  • Boiled peas: 2 tbsp
  • Chopped onion: 50 g
  • Chopped tomato: 75 g
  • Chopped French beans: 50 g
  • Chopped carrot: 30 g
  • Chopped coriander leaves: 15 g
  • Coriander seed powder: ¼ tsp
  • Red chilly powder: ¼ tsp
  • Turmeric powder: ⅛ tsp
  • Cumin seeds: ¼ tsp
  • Star Anise: 1
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Salt: ⅛ tsp
  • Olive oil: 1 tsp
  • Water as required

Method of Preparation

  • Soak and cook the rice
  • Add olive oil, star anise, bay leaf, jeera, chopped onion, chopped french beans, boiled peas, chopped carrot, salt, coriander seed powder, turmeric powder, and chilly powder and saute well.
  • Now add chopped tomato and cooked rice.
  • Mix well to combine all the ingredients, and add chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with raita.


The answer to the question of whether rice is fattening or not depends on the type and quantity of rice consumed.

A balanced diet should contain all kinds of nutrients and carbs in rice is one of them. If we include such macronutrients as protein, carbs, and fat, the meal can be well-balanced, and we need not completely avoid rice.

You can add plenty of different kinds of veggies, lean meats, and healthy fats to enhance the flavour. Always remember that overeating any food group will impact your weight loss efforts.

  1. Effects of Brown Rice on Obesity – https://jobesitydiseases.com/2018/04/20/effects-of-brown-rice-on-obesity-genki-study-i-cross-sectional-epidemiological-study/
  2. Effects of dietary fibre on subjective appetite, energy intake and body weight: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21676152/
  3. Anthocyanins in Whole Grain Cereals and Their Potential Effect on Health – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7598678/
  4. Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5613902/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which rice is lowest in carbs?

Wild rice has the lowest carbohydrates of around 35 calories in 1 cup or 250 ml of cooked rice. The next option is a cup of long-grain cooked brown rice with 52 grams of carbs. The same amount of short-grain white rice has 53 grams of carbs.

Which is better: quinoa or brown rice?

Quinoa has a better nutrient value than brown rice. It has three to four times more nutrients than brown rice. In addition, it also has higher calcium, potassium, and selenium levels than brown rice.

Can kidney patients have brown rice? 

Brown rice is high in phosphorus and potassium, which you should restrict on the renal diet. When the kidneys are affected,  phosphorus may accumulate in the blood, resulting in calcium depletion from your bones, leading to weak and brittle bones. 

Which rice is best for diabetes patients?

Long-grain, unrefined rice is best for those suffering from diabetes. Unrefined rice has its germ and bran attached and thus retains its nutritional value. Long grains take longer to digest and ensure that there is a slow and steady release of sugar into the body. 

What type of rice lowers blood sugar?

Long-grain, unrefined rice is good for you if you are troubled by high blood sugar levels. Unrefined rice has its germ and bran attached and thus retains its nutritional value. Long grains take longer to digest and ensure that there is a slow and steady release of sugar into the body. 

 What are the benefits of eating rice?

Eating rice may assist with keeping a good weight, safeguarding against ongoing infections, upholding energy, and re-establish glycogen levels after a workout.

Is brown rice good for a flat stomach?

Yes, regular intake of brown rice may eliminate belly fat. A study suggests that switching to brown rice can help eliminate the excess visceral fat that builds up in your abdomen. In addition, brown rice contains high fibre. As a result, it keeps you satiated and avoids snacking and bingeing on unhealthy snacks, which aids in weight loss.

About the Author

Mehak holds masters in foods and nutrition from Amity university, Noida. She has a keen interest in public health and nutrition and has been in charge of various projects with milestone NGO. She has worked with people over the globe to bring out the changes in their lives and has always been working towards lifestyle modifications via good dietary practices. According to her a healthy lifestyle is not about the destination but all about the journey.

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