Can you eat rice and still lose weight?

If you ask to take a peek inside any body builder’s food bag, you are likely to see endless boring tupperware containers filled with rice, broccoli and chicken. Rice forms a staple part of their diet and allows them to get into stage-ready shape, but is it a magical cure for fat loss?

Basmati, long grain, short, arborio, thai, jasmine, brown, and wholegrain are just a few of the 40,000 different varieties of rice grown worldwide. Rice is grown on every continent apart from antarctica (where they only have ice). It’s not surprising that every nation has its own infamous rice dish, whether it be paella in Spain, risotto in Italy, biriyani in India, jambalaya in the USA or pudding in the UK, we all seem to eat this relatively inexpensive carbohydrate in some form or another. But will this abundant food get me into that size 10 dress or lose those love handles?

Why I recommend rice to my weight loss clients

1. Speed and convenience: Rice is good eaten hot or cold, and for this reason it can be considered as a kind of fast food. Takeaway sushi for a quick low fat snack. There are also many kinds of par-boiled rice, which have very short cooking times, which are readily available so a quick tea can be knocked up in no time.

2. Gut friendly: the resistant starch promotes beneficial gut bacteria, which helps digestion

3. Filling: Great post work out to replenish energy stores

4. Versatile: a substantial addition to a meal, accompanied by a lean protein and portion of vegetables or salad. It can also be used to make a low fat rice pudding.

Rice: the facts

• The Chinese word for rice is the same as their word for food

• Rice is the main food for half the people in the world

• Rice is a symbol of life and fertility, which is why it was a tradition to throw it at weddings

• There are over 29,000 grains of rice in one pound of long grain rice

• The average person in the UK eats approximately 4.4kg of rice each year which seems a lot, however in Myanmar the average person consumes about 500 pounds of rice a year

• On cooking, rice swells to at least three times its original weight

How will this help you lose weight?

Rice is a whole grain and a number of studies have shown many positive outcomes for including it in diets.

“Published whole grain feeding studies report improvements in biomarkers with whole grain consumption, such as weight loss, blood-lipid improvement, and antioxidant protection. Although it is difficult to separate the protective properties of whole grains from dietary fibre and other components, the disease protection seen from whole grains in prospective epidemiological studies far exceeds the protection from isolated nutrients and phytochemicals in whole grains.”

[Could do with a one liner to emphasise your view point on rice and how you include it in your diet/how your clients find it – underlying the point that not all carbs are evil. From what i remember, rice can be fairly high GI, which would put some people off – so perhaps you can briefly touch on that in the context of a macronutrient diet and how rice can be easily included]


  • Nutrition Research Reviews, Volume 17, Issue 1, June 2004, pp. 99-110, Whole grains and human health, Joanne Slavin (a1)  DOI:

Rice doesn’t have to be a boring part of a meal! Here is one of my favourite rice recipes. Enjoy!

Recipe: Vegetable Rice

40g per person basmati rice

1 Stock cube

1/2 tsp mild curry powder (optional)

1 onion finely sliced

1 clove garlic (crushed)

2 peppers (choice of colours)

10 button mushrooms

2 grated courgette

100g frozen peas

1kcal spray

Salt and pepper to taste

400 Kcal


65g Carbs

3.1g Fat

9.0g Protein

15g fibre

Boil rice as per instructions with stock cube and curry powder (optional). In a large wok spray with 1Kcal and heat. When wok is hot add onion and garlic. When onions are translucent, add the rest of the vegetables and cook till soft. Remove from heat and wait till rice is cooked. Add rice to wok and quickly mix through with stir fried vegetables. Serve with a side salad and a portion of protein of your choice.