Rice is one of the world’s most prevalent staple foods. No matter where you live, you’ve undoubtedly got a bag or two of rice hiding in a kitchen cupboard.
While it is a prominent food item anywhere in the world, rice is most commonly consumed in Asia and Latin America.
Problem is, rice comes with a lot of myths and misconceptions.
While it is such a popular food item, rice (especially white rice) is associated with carbohydrates, which are often responsible for weight gain.
So, the question is, does eating rice make you gain weight? If you want to know what foods to avoid for weight loss, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s everything you need to know about rice and whether it makes you gain weight.
So, Does Rice Make You Gain Weight?
Let’s cut to the chase – eating rice won’t necessarily make you gain weight. It’s actually quite a damaging misconception to assume that rice will make you fat.
So, if you’re intending on making or attending a dinner with rice as the key ingredient in the food, eat the rice! It’s delicious!
Rice is not only tasty and filling, but it’s also one of the easiest grains to digest.
So, you shouldn’t have to worry about eating a portion of rice every now and then, because your body will digest it easily.
However, that’s not to say that the myth about rice making you gain weight is completely false.
If you were to eat nothing but rice with no exercise and a balance of other foods, then this will ultimately lead to a slight weight gain.
This is because rice, along with every other cereal, contains a certain amount of calories and carbohydrates.
There are several factors that will dictate whether eating rice has contributed to your weight gain, including the type of rice you consume and how you cook it.
Types Of Rice
White rice is probably the most common type of rice.
You can buy bags of white rice in virtually every grocery store, and it can also be processed into other foods such as rice milk, rice flour, rice syrup, and rice vinegar.
White rice is arguably the most convenient type of rice to cook as it doesn’t contain bran or germ, which is why it only takes about 10 minutes to cook.
Bran is the hard outer layer of a whole grain responsible for protecting the interior, and is known for being high in antioxidants and fiber.
Germ is another feature of whole grains, responsible for containing carbs, proteins, fat, antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients.
Without the bran and germ, the highly processed white rice doesn’t actually have many nutritional benefits other than proteins and carbohydrates.
So, while white rice won’t exactly contribute to weight gain, it won’t necessarily be helpful for weight loss, either.
Brown rice is the second most popular type of rice in the world, but unlike its white counterpart, brown rice doesn’t undergo nearly as much processing.
Brown rice contains both germ and bran, making it the healthier option in terms of nutrients and vitamins.
People who are trying to lose weight will typically opt for brown rice over white rice because of its low glycemic index, meaning it has a slower impact on blood sugar and is therefore less fattening than white rice.
Even though white rice itself isn’t responsible for weight gain, brown rice is ultimately the healthier whole grain.
People will often feel more full after eating brown rice, and this is because of manganese, a mineral that is responsible for boosting metabolism.
This mineral also works as a powerful antioxidant, which aids the immune system.
Pros And Cons Of Rice
While brown rice is ultimately healthier for you than white rice, both types of rice still come with a plethora of pros.
White rice contains a soluble fiber called resistant starch, which is fermented in the gut to reduce inflammation and improve the function of the gut barrier.
This is also why white rice is great for digestion. However, the key with white rice is to not overdo it.
If you were to consume excessive amounts of white rice, this can lead to eventual weight gain – or at the very least, it can hinder weight loss.
This is also because white rice has high glycemic levels, which can increase your blood sugar levels after consumption, which is why white rice is avoided by diabetics.
While brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice, it is ultimately the healthier option for those looking to lose weight.
Not only does brown rice boost metabolism, but it also contains compounds to promote a healthy heart and is filled with fiber to prevent diabetes and colon cancer.
Healthiest Way To Cook Rice
The way you cook and consume rice will also contribute to whether it leads to weight gain.
If you were to eat a bowl of fried white rice every day without exercise, this will undoubtedly make you gain weight.
Instead, you can still enjoy the occasional portion of rice, but if you wish to lose weight, you need to cook it properly.
The best way to cook rice to lose weight is simply by boiling it.
To do this, soak the rice in cold water for several minutes before putting it in the saucepan to strain excess starch.
Then, add the rice to a saucepan and fill it with water (the general rule is half a cup of rice to a cup of water).
Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and then reduce the heat to a simmer for between 10-20 minutes depending on the type of rice.
Finally, allow the rice to steam for a minute or two before serving it. What you eat alongside the rice will also determine how healthy the dish is.
So, you can’t really say rice is inherently fattening if you eat it alongside fattening foods.
So, there you have it! While white rice isn’t exactly great for weight loss, it’s not always the reason for weight gain, either.