When it comes to diet foods, white rice isn’t the best option due to its high calorie content. Furthermore, even though it is sometimes lower in calories (depending on the type) compared to its healthier counterparts, a moderate serving size will not offer a considerable amount of protein, fiber or water, required to keep you full throughout the day.
However, if you pair a small amount of rice with healthy, high fiber and high protein foods such as lentils or green leafy vegetables, you can significantly lower your calorie intake for the meal and still consume rice on a regular basis without negatively affecting your weight.
The calories in rice vary slightly between the types of rice you choose. White rice, being the most common option, offers 205 calories per cup, cooked. Cooked brown and wild rice on the other hand offer 215 and 165 calories respectively, along with higher amounts of fiber, protein, B vitamins, magnesium, selenium and other vital vitamins and minerals. If you’re a frequent consumer of rice, portion control is important as it is easy to place more than one cup of rice on a plate, whether you cook it with other unhealthy ingredients or have it with a side dish.
When you look at the calories alone, rice won’t make you fat but rice has certain psychological affects, which may contribute to weight gain. Most people are already aware of how addictive white rice can be due to its high refined carb content.
Many rice dishes are also prepared with ingredients containing excessive calories, such as butter (102 calories/tablespoon), margarine (76 calories/tablespoon) or vegetable oil (around 120 calories/tablespoon). Fried rice may contain more than 250 calories per 1 cup serving and beef stir fried rice contains 345 calories per cup serving. When white rice is cooked with oil or ghee, expect the numbers to go above 300 calories per cup. Therefore, if you are concerned about gaining fat, consider having white rice boiled in water with a healthy side dish.
Brown rice is a whole grain which still has its natural fiber intact. When rice is polished and processed to produce white rice, its germ and bran have been removed, which means it’s not a whole grain anymore with a rich fiber content. Although white rice can be enriched with vitamins and minerals, the fiber cannot be returned to it. Brown and white rice have roughly 45 grams of total carbohydrates per cup, cooked, but brown rice consists of 3.5 grams of fiber, versus 0.6 grams of fiber in white rice – that’s 6 times more fiber!
Consuming fiber is largely underrated, especially when it comes to weight loss. Fiber makes the bulk of whole foods and since it cannot be digested, it comes with zero calories. This factor ensures that your blood sugar levels are stable, you’re full after a meal and satiated enough to avoid snacking throughout the day.
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