Weight Loss and Rice - To Ditch or Not to Ditch? Here’s the Answer

Weight Loss and Rice - To Ditch or Not to Ditch? Here’s the Answer

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Editor: Kunal Mehra
Cameraperson: Sumit Badola

Who doesn’t love a steaming bowl of rice? Rice is a staple in India with about 50% of the population being fond of it. Move over basmati, India cultivates almost 6,000 other kinds of rice (Source: Asia Society)

Now, rice is eaten a lot, and I mean A LOT in several parts of the country including the North East, West Bengal and North India. Yet, when it comes to weight loss and overall fitness, what is the most common advice everyone gives? Leave rice. That’s it.
Just. Stop. Eating. Rice. Simple? Not so much because this is not entirely true.

Also Read : Stop Looking For a Perfect Weight Loss Diet ‘Cuz There Ain’t One

How good or bad rice is for you depends on:

Rice is eaten a lot across the country.
Rice is eaten a lot across the country.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Kind of Rice

  • White Long Rice: It’s sodium free which means it’s good for monitoring your blood pressure. However, it’s high glycemic index means it breaks down into simple sugars quite easily, raising your blood sugar level. This is why diabetics are asked to avoid it.
  • Brown rice: This is the healthiest of the lot. It’s more filling, keeps you full for a longer period of time and thus, helps with weight loss. It regulates blood pressure, helps fight cancer, strengthens bones, and unlike its white sibling, has a low glycemic index and thus fights type-2 diabetes
  • Sticky/Glutinous Rice: an integral part of the Assamese diet - it lowers cholesterol and is extremely light and easy to digest
Brown rice is the healthiest of the lot.
Brown rice is the healthiest of the lot.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Quantity

In terms of calories, here’s how the three perform - 1 cup (158 gms) contains:

  • White rice: 206 kcal
  • Brown rice: 216 kcal
  • Sticky rice: 169 kcal
The three kinds of rice differ in their calorie content.
The three kinds of rice differ in their calorie content.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Manner of Cooking

  • Boiling the rice in excess water and draining it keeps the starch levels low.
  • Boiled rice is definitely a better option than fried rice.
  • Mix it with dal, rajma, choley or meat with an added dose of protein.

When Should You Go For Rice?

  • Rice simply is high on carbohydrates - if you are manage to control your carb intake in the rest of the diet.
  • If you are not particularly looking to lose weight.
  • If you have a great metabolism and don’t gain any weight anyway.
  • If you simply don’t care.

When Should You Avoid/Monitor Rice?

  • If you’re diabetic
  • Struggling with weight
Just eating rice is unlikely to make you gain weight. Unfortunately, the contrary is also true.
Just eating rice is unlikely to make you gain weight. Unfortunately, the contrary is also true.
(Photo: iStockphoto)
  • If you’re diabetic
  • Struggling with weight
  • Looking to build leaner muscle
  • Are already eating a carb-heavy diet

Just eating rice is unlikely to make you gain weight. Unfortunately, the contrary is also true. Just not eating rice is not going to make you lose weight.

As long as you’re eating a balanced diet and don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions, you don’t have to worry about choosing between rice and roti. When you’re trying to lose weight, there isn’t any single magic trick that’s going to make it happen. Weight loss or being fit (or both), is a result of several small choices put together, so, the key is a balanced approach.

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