Rice Diet: A Healthy Weight Loss Approach Or A Harmful Fad?

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Rice is one of the most widespread foods in the world. In Southeast Asia, where a lot of its population is usually slim, rice is a key staple used in a huge variety of dishes. Accordingly, it is not surprising that people in the West have begun to look closely at rice as a possible weight-loss tool. But can the rice diet help you shed those extra pounds, or is it just another fad? All the nuances of the rice diet are considered in this article.

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Rice Diet: The Basics

The rice diet is not a new invention, but its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. It is a low-fat, low-sodium, low-protein, and low-calorie diet that also requires regular exercise and meditation. On a rice diet, you need to consume no more than 800 calories per day during the first phase, and 1000-1200 calories per day thereafter until you reach your desired weight. These are very small numbers, especially given the need for training. This can create some of the inconveniences described below.

What Can and Cannot Be Eaten on a Rice Diet?

The rice diet is relatively restrictive. You can consume high-fiber vegetables and grains, which are considered the core of this diet. Unprocessed or minimally processed beans are allowed as well as low-fat or no-fat dairy products like cottage cheese. At the later stages, you may include lean meat and fish in your diet. This restrictiveness leads to the first consequence because it is quite low in Vitamin D, so you’ll need to use supplements.

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The restrictions, on the other hand, are commonsensical: no salty, processed, greasy, or fatty products. Alcohol, sweets, desserts, and sugary drinks are also banned. That all is fine. However, the small energy limit combined with a lack of fish and meat makes it necessary to note that you need to consult with your doctor before sticking to a rice diet.

Is Rice Healthy?

Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of rice. The two most popular groups of rice are white and brown. White rice is very high in carbohydrates. In fact, dry rice is 80% carbohydrate. During the cooking process, rice absorbs a lot of water, so cooked rice is 70% water. Here is the nutritional value of a cup of cooked white rice (205 g): 

  • Calories – 266 kcal
  • Fats – 0.389 g
  • Carbs – 58.9 g
  • Protein – 4.84 g
  • Water – 140 g

Brown rice has more fiber, protein, and fat. It also contains more nutrients like manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium. In general, brown rice is considered healthier than white rice.

You can also eat bread and pasta as part of your diet but in small amounts.

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Benefits of the Rice Diet

The rice diet has various benefits for your health, but also some disadvantages. Let’s start with the benefits.

Weight loss

You need to reduce your calorie intake and increase calorie burn to successfully lose weight. Since this diet has a very low energy limit, you will likely be able to lose the targeted amount of weight. Plus, research shows that eating rice instead of bread before exercise reduces deposited fat. This means that you can get rid of not only water weight but unnecessary fat as well.

Kidney health

Since the rice diet is about a drastic reduction of salt intake, it is good for your kidneys. One of the key functions of your kidneys is maintaining a healthy balance of water, salt, and minerals in your body. Regularly consuming too much salt overloads your kidneys, which eventually leads to kidney disease. It is worth noting that, for the most part, you are consuming excessive amounts of salt from processed foods, and your salt intake is reduced by eliminating them.

Lower blood pressure

Excessive salt intake leads to high blood pressure. That’s why controlling salt intake has long been considered a way to normalize blood pressure. Due to its low salt content, a rice diet can improve your blood pressure.

Disadvantages of the Rice Diet

Many diets have some drawbacks, and the rice diet is no exception. Here are the most important ones.

Nutrient deficiencies

Due to its harsh limitations, following a rice diet for long periods without consuming supplements can lead to nutrient deficiencies. So, it is necessary to consider how you’re going to ensure the consumption of all the vitamins and minerals you need. 

Difficult to follow

It is difficult to stay on a rice diet for long due to the extremely low energy limit, and you may feel tired and experience hunger cravings. All this is further exacerbated by the fact that the diet requires regular exercise. You may simply not have enough energy to exercise, and this is a problem of the diet, not your body.

Not recommended for long-term use

Because of all these, the rice diet is not recommended for long-term use. While it can help you shed excess pounds quickly, it is not a sustainable, permanent dietary plan. Following this diet for too long can undermine your health.

Final Thought

To sum up, the rice diet may be effective for short-term quick weight loss, but it has significant disadvantages that may discourage you from sticking to it. If you still want to try this diet out, you absolutely need to consult your doctor, as it may entail certain health risks. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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