Which rice is best for losing weight?

healthy rice

When it comes to weight loss, the first thing that we hear is to start avoiding rice in our daily diet. The question always keeps lingering in our thoughts – is rice making me fat? Well the answer to that question depends upon the kind of rice you opt for in your daily diet.

There are different types of rice which have different nutritional functionalities, but the rice that is essentially the most helpful in weight loss is brown rice. Either way we shall present to you the nutritional difference of the various types of rice available.

White long grained rice: The number of calories in one cup of cooked white long grained rice is 206 kcal.

  1. When boiled or steamed, white rice contains less than 0.5g fat.
  2. It also contains 4g of proteins but unlike proteins from animal products or meat, the protein of rice lacks a wholesome amount of amino acids and hence for full nutritional benefit should be eaten in combination with an animal or a plant derived protein.
  3. It contains 53g of carbohydrates which is actually 18% of our recommended* daily carbohydrate intake.
  4. The dietary fibre present in the white rice is actually less than 1g per serving.
  5. It is also full of vitamins and minerals such as folate, thiamine, niacin, iron and selenium. These play a highly important role in maintaining a healthy body.
  6. Also white rice is a sodium-free food. Sodium increases blood pressure and risk of heart diseases, hence consuming white rice will be good if you want to work on regulating your blood pressure.
  7. Another important point is that white rice has a high glycemic index .i.e. it is easily broken down into simple sugars in the body and raises the blood sugar level of the body, so if you are diabetic then try to avoid taking too much white rice in your diet.

Brown long grained rice: The number of calories in one cup of cooked brown rice is 216 kcal.

  1. When boiled or steamed, brown rice contains 1.75g fat.
  2. Its protein content is 5.03g again this protein cannot fulfil our body’s total protein requirement and hence should be had in combination with plant or animal derived protein.
  3. The carbohydrate content of brown rice is 45g (6% of our daily requirement*).
  4. The dietary fibre present in brown rice is 3.51g which helps in increasing metabolic processes and regulating bowel movements, this is the main reason why brown rice is the preferred choice for pro-weight loss diets.
  5. The other nutrients that are present in brown rice far exceed the ones in white rice. As brown rice is essentially made by removing the first layer of the grain called the hull. It contains mostly all the vitamins B, choline, folate, vitamin A, D, E, K, magnesium, chloride, calcium, iron, phosphorous, selenium., etc. In short whatever nutrients white rice contains, brown contains the same and more.
  6. Thus brown rice apart from helping in weight loss also provides a plenitude of other health benefits like regulating blood pressure, avoiding the risk of colon and breast cancer, helps in preventing gall stones, strengthening of bones, reduces risk of heart diseases.
  7. It also helps people avoid or help with type 2 diabetes as brown rice has a really low glycemic index and does not add to the rise of blood sugar levels in the body.

Although, brown rice is loaded with so many nutrients some studies show that due to the presence of a compound called phytate in brown rice, it slows down the absorption of these minerals in our body. Phytate is not present in white rice as it gets removed during further processing.

Glutinous/Sticky rice: The number of calories in one cup of cooked sticky rice is 169 kcal.

  1. Contrary to its name it does not contain any gluten; it turns opaque and sticky after cooking. It is usually eaten as a staple food in East Asian countries but it is more popularly recognized as Thai rice.
  2. One cup cooked sticky rice contains 37g of carbohydrates (5% of our daily requirement*).
  3. It contains 3.5g of protein same as brown rice.
  4. The amount of dietary fibre in sticky rice is 1g.
  5. It also contains vitamins and minerals like zinc which builds immunity of the body and helps in catalysing various enzymatic reactions of the body and iron which increases the oxygen carrying capacity on the blood.
  6. Its fat content is 0.2g.
  7. It also contains selenium which helps in providing anti-oxidative action to the body and Manganese which helps in lowering cholesterol and carrying out different metabolic reactions in the body. It is usually eaten as an East Asian preparation.
  8. This rice is extremely light on the stomach and gets digested very easily.

* all percentage requirements are based on a diet of 2000 calories.

So now generally speaking on behalf of all varieties of rice:

  • Rice is rich in carbohydrates and is good for instant energy. It has advantages and disadvantages along, but it can be made healthy with a few variations.
  • Rice is not fattening if you eat it in a small portion. In fact it is a good source of vitamins and minerals.
  • The not so healthy side of white rice in particular, is its high glycemic index that increases the blood sugar level in the body therefore not recommended for people with sugar problems.
  • Besides rice when eaten as fried rice or with other fattening food is fattening and eating excess of it will add a few pounds.

Here are a few ideas to make rice healthier :

  1. Wash the rice 2-3 times before cooking it.
  2. Boil the rice with excess water and drain the water after the rice is cooked to keep the starch levels     low.
  3. Eat steamed rice or boiled rice instead  of fried rice.
  4. Add a fibrous food along with it for faster digestion.

Healthiest way to eat Rice:

  • The most popular nutritious food called Khichdi, has rice as one of its main ingredient.
  • Rice along with mixed vegetable curd
  • Fish and Rice Soup, a complete meal in itself which is healthy for the body and is nutritious.

So don’t blacklist rice yet. Simply ensure that you eat smaller portions of rice which is true to all foods that we eat.