White Rice for Weight Loss
White Rice for Weight Loss
Although white rice isn’t especially low in calories or rich in nutrients, it is a prime energy source for your body and it can serve as part of a successful weight loss diet. For the best results, eat rice in small or moderate portion sizes and include a variety of other nutritious items as accompaniments.
White rice is high in starch and simple carbohydrates, both of which can give you a quick boost of energy and stave off hunger in the short term. Although some weight loss diets promote a low-carbohydrate and high-protein eating plan, the Weight Control Information Network calls the notion that high-starch foods cause weight gain a myth and notes that most such foods are only high in calories when you eat them in large amounts.
White rice isn’t an optimal weight loss food because of its relatively high energy density level. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, low energy-dense foods, which are rich in fiber and water and low in calories and fat, are the best items to eat when you’re trying to lose weight. Whereas some fruits and vegetables are more than 90 percent water, the USDA reports that cooked white rice is only about 68 percent water.
One cup of cooked, medium-grain white rice has approximately 240 calories, 4.5 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, 53 grams of carbohydrates and 0.5 grams of dietary fiber. Keep in mind that those values are for plain rice made with water, so if you cook your rice in milk or broth, you’ll add calories and fat or sodium. Topping rice with cheese or butter will also alter the nutrition facts of what you eat and make the rice a “heavier” option.
When your objective is to lose weight, you can exercise choice and restraint in what you eat. Although whole grain varieties of rice are only slightly lower in calories than white rice, they offer more beneficial nutrients per serving and provide a greater amount of complex carbohydrates and fiber, which may help keep you fuller for longer periods of time. The USDA states that a cup of cooked brown rice, for example, has 220 calories and 4.5 grams of protein, 46 grams of carbohydrates and 3.5 grams of fiber. Wild rice is an even healthier choice, with just 165 calories, 6.5 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber per 1-cup serving.
The amount of weight you lose depends on how many more calories you burn than you eat. In addition to having occasional small servings of white rice, focus on low-calorie fruits and vegetables and get regular exercise to burn extra calories. Before beginning any new diet or weight loss plan, get approval from your doctor or talk with a registered dietitian.