Is Rice Good For Weight Loss & Which Type To Eat 2024

Paige Anderson, CRDH
Dr. Maggie Herrmann, PT, DPT
Rice is a major staple food throughout the world. It’s packed with important minerals and nutrients, but is rice good for weight loss 2024?
is rice good for weight loss
Can an ordinary grain of rice help you lose weight? Photo: Ba Le Ho

Weight loss is a simple question of eating less and exercising more. Right?

There’s a lot more to it than that! 

Other than exercise, effective weight management strategies include improving your sleep, staying hydrated, and managing your stress. Of course, your diet has a lot to do with how much weight you lose and how fast you see results.

You may want to try a weight loss diet that promises fast results by drastically restricting certain foods. Extremely low-carb diets have become popular recently, but is there a way to incorporate foods like rice and still lose weight?

Rice is one of the most common dietary staples[1] throughout the world. It may be an important part of your family’s beloved dishes and an enjoyable addition to many meals. Is it possible to enjoy your favorite foods and improve your health? Is rice good for weight loss?

Let’s find out!

Is Eating Rice Good For Weight Loss?

Yes! Rice can be a fulfilling part of a healthy weight loss plan.

  • Rice is a great source of many nutrients including key minerals.
  • Rice can help prevent insulin resistance and keep your blood sugar balanced.
  • Whole grain rice is full of dietary fiber and resistant starches that support weight loss and heart health.
  • Some compounds in rice help you feel full longer, helping to control appetite.
  • Rice bran and rice germ both have powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients that support weight loss.

Is Rice Good For Weight Loss?

is rice good for weight loss
Rice can be a satisfying part of a healthy diet. Photo: BearFotos/Shutterstock

In the past several years, there has been an almost overwhelming push for people to cut carbohydrates out of their diets. While reducing refined carbohydrates like sugary drinks can be an important weight-loss strategy, complex carbohydrates like grains and starches are essential to a healthy diet.

The myth that carbohydrates are unhealthy[2] or fattening has become pervasive. In reality, grains, especially whole grains, do lots of great work in your body. They’re an important source of  dietary fiber and resistant starches. Resistant prebiotic starches are indigestible, fermentable carbohydrates[3] that are not broken down in the small intestine.

Soluble and insoluble dietary fiber and resistant starches[4] regulate the digestive system, improve cardiovascular health, support a healthy gut microbiome, and reduce certain cancer risks, among other health benefits. 

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The Case For Rice As Part Of An Effective Weight Loss Diet

So is eating rice good for weight loss? It can be!

For example, there is significant evidence that the Mediterranean diet[5] has the potential for lasting weight loss and better health. Olive oil and rice are heavily factored in the diet, which may surprise some people. 

One of the reasons the diet works so well is that it’s easy to stick to long-term, helping you maintain a healthy weight rather than rebounding. Food deprivation,[6] such as extreme limitations against an essential food group like grains, leads directly to binging, cravings, and rebound weight gain. 

Incorporating rice and other complex carbohydrates into a balanced diet makes you less likely to experience these struggles, helping you maintain healthier eating habits as a lifelong change. However, you want to choose rice varieties that do not have a high glycemic index if you are looking to make rice a staple carbohydrate in your weight loss plan.

How Can A Rice Diet Help With Weight Loss?

Rice consumption has gotten a bad rap for causing blood sugar spikes and making it hard to lose weight. While some types of rice are energy-dense and lack fiber, other types have a lot to offer to support your nutrition. For example, white rice can have a high glycemic index, an indicator of how fast a food causes blood sugar to spike, thus affecting appetite control via effective blood sugar regulation.

We’ll get into specifics about the different types of rice later, but the important thing to note is that many types of rice, especially high-fiber rice, support weight loss by helping you feel fuller longer and helping to  regulate blood sugar. In fact, rice bran is so effective that it may potentially prevent and reduce symptoms of diabetes.[7] 

Blood sugar regulation and good insulin sensitivity are essential factors in how long it takes to lose weight and whether you can keep your body weight low over the course of months or years.

What’s In Rice? 

Rice has great nutritional value[8] because it’s high in many essential minerals,[9] including:

  • Copper.
  • Manganese.
  • Selenium.
  • Magnesium.
  • Zinc.

Rice is also a source of fiber, resistant starch, and complex carbohydrates.

A grain of rice has a bulky endosperm layer inside, a thin bran layer, and an indigestible outer husk. All rice has to have the husk removed to make it edible. What happens after makes the difference in what nutrients your rice can offer.

Unprocessed rice still has the bran layer intact. Processed rice is polished to varying degrees until only the starchy white inner layer (endosperm) is left. Both processed and unprocessed rice can be included in a balanced diet, provided you practice portion control and keep track of your calorie intake if you’re trying to lose weight.

If you want to really get the most weight loss benefits from eating rice, focus on unprocessed options. 

The anti-obesity properties[10] of rice have everything to do with its bran. In addition to all the benefits of fiber and resistant starches mentioned above, rice bran has powerful compounds that further decrease inflammation and promote weight loss by inhibiting your body’s tendency to build fat.

Animal studies show rice bran extracts, a concentrated source of antioxidants and nutrients that protect against heart disease and the growth of additional fat cells, may be candidates for use in high doses as weight loss supplements.[11] Of course, more human studies are needed before we can make this recommendation.

Which Type Of Rice Is Good For Weight Loss?

is rice good for weight loss
Each variety of rice has a unique flavor and texture. Photo: sweettoiletpaper/Shutterstock

When it comes to determining which rice is good for weight loss, there are plenty of varieties to consider. In general, opt for whole-grain rice as opposed to white rice. 

Types of rice are often categorized by both the bran content and length of the grains. Long-grain long-grain rice usually cooks up light and fluffy and stays separated after being prepared. Short-grain rice is best for sticky rice, such as for sushi.

However, the length of the grains has less impact on their nutritional value than whether it’s whole grain or white rice.

Let’s look at a few of the most common types of rice and how they rank for weight loss.

Brown Rice

Brown rice refers to any whole-grain rice. There are long, medium, and short-grain varieties of rice, all of which are brown rice if they still have the bran layer intact.

If you want to get the most nutrient-dense rice, brown rice is definitely the way to go. The antioxidants, fiber, phytonutrients, and minerals are most abundant in the bran, and so eating food with brown rice is an excellent source of nutrition that can support your weight loss efforts. In fact, simply substituting brown rice[12] for white rice consumption has been proven to have significant health impacts with minimal effort.

White Rice

White loss is not as nutrient-dense as brown rice, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat white rice as part of a balanced diet.

But is white rice good for weight loss? In reasonable portions, yes! It doesn’t have as much fiber as brown rice, which means it has a higher glycemic index. It also lacks some of the fat-fighting phytonutrients found in brown rice, so try not to go overboard. But that doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself reasonable portions of your favorite white rice dishes to lose weight.

Jasmine Rice

Jasmine rice is usually white, but it’s possible to find whole-grain jasmine rice, too. It’s a type of long-grain rice very popular in Southeast Asian cuisine, specifically from Thailand. It can have an almost floral taste and cooks up nice and fluffy.

Basmati Rice

Like jasmine rice, basmati rice is frequently found as a white variety, but it’s easily available in a brown variety. This long-grain rice is native to the Himalayan region, best known for its use in Indian cuisine. It has a warm, nutty flavor and a bit more texture than some other types of rice. 

Wild Rice

Wild rice is a variety of water grass native to the Great Lakes region and Canada. Although it’s not technically a rice, it can play the same role in many dishes. It has a firm texture and higher protein than many other kinds of rice. It also has specific compounds[13] that can protect against the hardening of the arteries, making it great for cardiovascular health!

Red And Black Rice

Red rice and black rice can both refer to any number of varieties of whole grain rice with vibrant pigments in their bran that set them apart from the average brown rice. They can be long or short grain and have a variety of flavors and textures.

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How To Eat Rice For Weight Loss? 

It may surprise you that rice has the potential to improve blood sugar regulation[14] and help you lose weight. 

Many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients make rice healthy, but how it’s cooked will obviously affect how much you should eat. For example, overcooking can lead to a loss of micronutrients.

Consuming rice with lean proteins, vegetables, and heart-healthy fats like olive oil can be a satisfying part of your regular diet. For example, paella, rice-stuffed peppers, and Greek rice dishes are all excellent options. Minimize excess salt, highly processed foods, and unhealthy fats in your rice dishes.

When it comes to eating rice as part of a healthy diet, it’s all about finding the right portion sizes that fit with your calorie intake and macronutrient targets. A registered dietitian or physician can help you find the right resources to build an eating plan that will work for you!

If you’re trying to lose weight, be sure to incorporate a well-rounded diet[15] alongside other lifestyle changes like getting plenty of exercise. You’ll be more likely to stick with your plan if you can find foods and activities you enjoy.

In some cases, you can incorporate supplements like fat burners for women or fat burners for men to boost your body’s capacity to burn fat.


We now understand that an overly restrictive weight loss diet that eliminates food groups, including grains, can do more harm than good in the long run. These types of crash diets can lead to rebound weight gain and worse outcomes over time.

On the other hand, approaching weight loss as a gradual process of incorporating lifestyle changes you can live with will help your results last. 

It’s not so much a question of “is rice bad for weight loss”, rather “am I incorporating healthy foods I enjoy into my daily habits?” Remember, deprivation has the potential to trigger binging and feeling defeated by the idea of losing weight. 

With simple changes like choosing whole grains instead of refined grains, balancing your macros, and choosing reasonable portion sizes, you can make lasting changes that will benefit your long-term health!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I eat rice on a diet to lose weight?

Yes! The Mediterranean Diet includes rice as a major component. While whole grain rice has more nutrients and fiber, you can eat any kind of rice in reasonable portions and still lose weight.

Is rice good for losing belly fat?

It can be! Rice bran contains fiber and phytonutrients that specifically support fat burning, and rice germ,[16] which is rich in vitamins and healthy fats, may help to improve body composition. 

How much rice should I eat a day to lose weight?

If you’re eating brown rice, about one to two servings (½ to 1 cup of cooked rice) per day is a good starting point, depending on your daily goals for calorie intake and macros and how the rice is prepared.

Is it OK to eat rice every day?

Rice is a daily staple carbohydrate for most of the world! If you’re trying to stick to a low calorie diet, choose brown rice whenever possible. Adding veggies and a drizzle of olive oil can make a nutrient-packed meal.


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  2. Some Myths about Nutrition & Physical Activity (2023). [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at:,Myth,-%3A%20Grain%20products.
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  9. Bielecka, J., Markiewicz‐Żukowska, R., Nowakowski, P., Puścion-Jakubik, A., Grabia, M., Mielech, A., Jolanta Soroczyńska and Socha, K. (2021). Identifying the Food Sources of Selected Minerals for the Adult European Population among Rice and Rice Products. Foods, [online] 10(6), pp.1251–1251. doi:
  10. Bhagavathi Sundaram Sivamaruthi, Karthikeyan Alagarsamy, Subramanian Thangaleela, Muruganantham Bharathi, Periyanaina Kesika and Chaiyavat Chaiyasut (2023). Composition, Microbiota, Mechanisms, and Anti-Obesity Properties of Rice Bran. Foods, [online] 12(6), pp.1300–1300. doi:
  11. Naphatsanan Duansak, Schmid‐Schönbein, G.W. and Umarat Srisawat (2022). Anti-Obesity Effect of Rice Bran Extract on High-Fat Diet-Induced Obese Mice. Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, [online] 27(2), pp.172–179. doi:
  12. Malik, V., Vasudevan Sudha, Wedick, N.M., Mookambika RamyaBai, Parthasarathy Vijayalakshmi, Nagarajan Lakshmipriya, Rajagopal Gayathri, A Kokila, Jones, C.Y., Hong, B., Li, R., Krishnaswamy, K., Ranjit Mohan Anjana, Spiegelman, D., Willett, W.C., Hu, F.B. and Mohan, V. (2019). Substituting brown rice for white rice on diabetes risk factors in India: a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition, [online] 121(12), pp.1389–1397. doi:
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  14. Li, X., Wang, X. and Sung Kyun Park (2021). Associations between rice consumption, arsenic metabolism, and insulin resistance in adults without diabetes. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, [online] 237, pp.113834–113834. doi:
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