Eating rice won't make you fat

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 29 December 2015 - 11:31 pm IST

Before assessing whether eating rice leads to weight gain, let us try to understand why do we gain weight? It’s simple mathematics. Whatever we eat, our body converts it into energy. We use this energy to carry out our daily activities. Even when not physically active, our body still uses a substantial amount to energy to function, known as the ‘Basal metabolism rate’. As long as our food input is equivalent to our energy output, there will be no change in our weight. As soon as the input starts exceeding our output, weight gain starts to occur. So it is really not fair to label certain foods as ‘fattening’ per se. It’s only when you eat such foods too often, in too much quantities, or at the wrong time that these foods cause weight gain. In accordance with these principles, we shall show you how eating rice won’t make you fat as long as you follow our cooking and eating tips

Attributes of rice

In its natural form, rice exists in the form of long, whitish grains, covered with husk which gives it a brownish appearance. When the husk is removed, the grains appear pearly white and are said to be polished. It exists in many variants all over the world; and each variant differs slightly as far as taste, texture, size, nutrition and calorie count are concerned.

Funnily enough the most feared ‘fattening food’ is made up mainly of carbohydrates, some protein and virtually no fat. 100 grams of cooked medium-grain white rice provides us with 130 calories. It also contains other nutrients such as 

B complex vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, selenium and folic acid.

Make wiser choices

Brown rice

 is basically white rice, with its husk intact. Eating the brown variant improves the overall nutrient value of rice, adds fibre and ensures a slow steady release of energy. White rice, on the other hand, leads to sudden sugar spikes. Even the grain size matters. Long grains contain lesser starch, and are thus generally healthier than short grains. So nutritionally, your best bet would be to choose long-grain brown rice.&nbsp

Choose your carbs

Since ancient times, majority of Indians are either majorly rice eating (South Indians) or majorly wheat eating (North Indians). As geographical differentiation is blurring, people are eating everything everywhere. So the rice + vegetable eating population is now including rotis too and the roti + vegetable eating population is including rice too on their plates. This becomes a problem when one’s plate gets over-loaded with different kinds of carbohydrates. For those looking to lose or maintain their weight, it is necessary to stick to 1 major source of carb for each meal. So when you eat roti /paratha, exclude rice from that meal and vice versa. 

Portion control

Controlling portion sizes is the cornerstone of 

healthy eating.

Too much of anything is bad – even oranges. A small bowl of rice is the ideal portion size. Stick to that, and you won’t get fat – even if you eat it daily. 

Time it right

Each food item can range from unhealthy to healthy depending upon the time at which we consume it. Rice is best eaten for lunch, in combination with vegetables and dal/pulses. It’s wiser to avoid it during dinner time, unless you can ensure a 

2 to 3 hour gap between your mealand your bed.

Dinners should ideally be light on the stomach since we hardly expend calories post-dinner. 

Cooking technique

Don’t douse rice in oil, ghee or rich gravies and expect it to still remain healthy. It is 

best eaten steamed or boiled, 

along with pulses, lentils or protein (chicken or cottage cheese). 

Lower the glycaemic index (GI)

The GI of a food is a value that demonstrates how quickly

blood sugar levels

 rise after consuming that food. Generally foods with a low GI stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer. On the other hand, foods with a high GI causes sudden spikes in blood sugar levels and are generally considered unhealthy. Even though rice generally tends to have a moderately high GI, eating it with pulses (dal), vegetables or curd reduces the glycaemic load; thus making it a healthy choice. Moreover the

GI of brown rice and basmati is lower

 than that of regular white rice. 

Basmati – the king of rice

Basmati is a specific species of rice that is thin, aromatic and long-grained. Indians often use basmati for special occasions because of its sweetish taste and its special aroma. It is usually more expensive than other variants. However, most of us are not aware of the fact that basmati is not only tastier, but far healthier than other variants. Even though there is not much difference in the total calorie count as compared to regular rice, the rate of release of sugar in the bloodstream is almost half of the latter variant. Thus an equivalent portion of basmati will keep you fuller for much longer that regular rice. 

Basmati has been certified as a ‘medium glycaemic index food’ by the Canadian Diabetic Association.

This is the reason why even diabetics can enjoy basmati rice, albeit in limited portions. Please

consult your diabetologist

 regarding the correct foods for you. 


Readers such as you can help creating more and more awareness in society, to rid rice of the ‘fattening’ status it currently has.All you have to do is eat it responsibly. And please do not let guilt interfere with the pleasure of eating rice. Food nourishes you; it is meant to be relished, not feared. In order to plan a balanced diet inclusive of rice, please 

consult your nutritionist.


Written and verified by a registered medical practioner.

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rohini komarappagari

  • August 23, 2016, 10:11 am


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jaya kumari

  • December 20, 2016, 1:01 pm

nice article

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