Many diets instruct you to stay away from carbohydrates, which means stay away from rice. However, rice is food staple for many Asian countries and has been for numerous generations. In general, these Asian populations do not have issues with weight and are healthy and slim. How is this so? And does this mean that rice is, in fact, NOT fattening?
Rice is a carbohydrate, which is an essential nutrient your body needs to convert to energy. However, when you eat excess carbohydrates, your body stores it as fat. White rice, the most popular form of rice, lacks dietary fiber, so consuming white rice while you’re trying to lose weight is counterproductive. When eating rice while trying to lose weight, make sure to watch your portion size and caloric intake.
The Asian population does not have issues with rice and unhealthy weight because Asians do not consume all the other unhealthy things that Western people do: fructose, lectins, etc. Asians, for the most part, do not have insulin sensitivity and engages in regular activity. The fact that Westerners eat other foods that are not great for their metabolism, have issues with insulin sensitivity and does not engage in regular exercise, increases their body’s unhealthy processing of rice.
One cup of cooked white rice contains 206 calories, compared to 216 calories for one cup of cooked brown rice. Although brown rice has more calories, it is the healthier choice due to its density in nutrients. One cup of cooked brown rice has 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, while white rice has none. This dietary fiber is difficult for your digestive system to break down, leaving you with a fuller feeling, longer. Dietary fiber has other great health benefits like preventing constipation and lowering your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
White Rice. Fat = 0.5g. Protein = 4g. Carbohydrates = 53g. Folate, thiamine, niacin, iron and selenium.
Brown Rice. Fat = 1.75g. Protein = 5.03g. Carbohydrates = 45g. All vitamin Bs, choline, folate, vitamin A, D, E, K, magnesium, chloride, calcium, iron, phosphorous, selenium, etc.
Tips for Healthy Eating with Rice
- Wash the rice 3 times before cooking it.
- Boil the rice with more than the amount of water indicated in the directions. Drain this excess water after the rice is cooked. This reduces starch levels.
- Opt for boiled or steamed rice instead of fried rice.
- Make sure to eat other foods rich in fiber to help with the digestive process.
Healthy Rice Recipes
Rice and Lentil Salad. Ingredients: 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 cups cooked brown rice, 1 15-ounce can rinsed lentils, 1 diced carrot, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley. Whisk oil, vinegar, shallot, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add rice, lentils, carrot and parsley. Mix well.
Brown Rice Salad with Spinach and Tomatoes. Ingredients: 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, salt and pepper, 2 cups cooked brown rice, 1 medium sliced cucumber, 2 cups baby spinach, 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, dill, garlic and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add rice, cucumber, spinach and tomatoes. Mix well.
Brown Rice and Edamame. Ingredients: Salt and pepper, 3/4 cup brown rice, 1 1/4 cups frozen shelled edamame, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 3 thinly sliced scallions. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups salted water to a boil. Add rice. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the edamame, cover and cook for another 20 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar oil and sugar, until sugar is dissolved. Using a fork, stir lime juice mix and scallions into the cooked rice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.