Rice diet plan for weight loss is a plan based on an almost all-you-can-eat diet of brown or white rice, plus protein like chicken or turkey and vegetables . Rice is a great food that probably many of us don’t eat enough. It’s healthy, affordable and simple to prepare. But the meal doesn’t come without a pitfall. Many people consume more rice than they should and as a result, they don’t make much weight loss gains. Therefore, in this article, we’re going to explain how much rice you should eat every day.
What Is The Rice Diet And How Does It Work?
The rice diet is a low-calorie, low-sodium diet created by Dr. Walter Kempner in 1939. While working as a professor at the Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, Dr. Kempner created a dietary approach to help his patients lower blood pressure, improve kidney function, and keep a check on obesity.
The reason this diet works for treating people with hypertension or obesity lies in the foods allowed for consumption. It includes foods high in complex carbs, limited dairy, and foods low in sodium.
- Complex carbs take longer to get digested, thereby reducing hunger.
- Low-sodium intake may prevent the body from storing excess water weight and reduce the pressure on the kidneys. However, more research is needed in this regard.
- A low-calorie diet (800 calories per day) is allowed initially, which is then increased up to 1200 calories per day.
In a nutshell, low-calorie, low-sodium, and high-fiber foods are the reasons behind the success of the rice diet. Now, let’s check out what foods you should consume and what to avoid.
Rice Diet for Weight Loss
Later, the Rice Diet was used to treat obesity and a host of other conditions. In a study published in 1975 in Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr. Walter Kempner’s rice and fruit protocol was used to treat 106 participants with obesity, who were also provided with an exercise prescription and received motivational support on a daily basis.
Each participant lost at least 99 pounds, and average weight loss was 141 pounds. Forty-three of the participants achieved a normal body weight. There were also significant reductions in blood pressure, blood sugar and triglycerides.
The residential Rice Diet Program in Durham, North Carolina, became a popular destination for those wanting to lose significant weight and improve their health. Under Kempner’s rigid supervision, the diet program was akin to a bootcamp for weight loss.
To keep his patients on track, Michael Greger M.D., FACLM, reports that Kempner would bully his patients into conformity, both mentally and physically. One of Kempner’s patients sued him for allegedly whipping her and other patients when they did not adhere to the diet.
The Rice Diet Center eventually split from Duke and Kempner in the early 2000s and was taken over by Robert Rosati, M.D., and Kitty Rosati, R.D. However, with the onslaught of dietary regimens, like the Paleo diet, the Rice Diet fell out of popularity, and the center eventually closed in 2013. But the following year, it was reopened under the direction of Dr. Frank Neelon under the name Rice Diet Healthcare Program.
Rice Diet Menu Plan
The Rice Diet has changed over the years and is not nearly so strict. In their book The Rice Diet Solution: The World-Famous Low-Sodium, Good-Carb, Detox Diet for Quick and Lasting Weight Loss, the Rosatis outline their version of the diet, which has three phases:
Phase one lasts one week. The basic Rice Diet menu — rice and fruit — is only eaten on the first day. For the other six days, dieters can include vegetables, whole-grain bread and cereal and some nonfat dairy or plant milk.
Phase two lasts until you reach your weight goal and focuses on creating dietary habits for lasting weight loss. Each week begins with one day of the basic Rice Diet. Then, you add in the grains, vegetables and nonfat milk for the remainder of the week. On one day of your choice, you include one protein source, such as fish, extra nonfat dairy or organic eggs. Phase two includes slightly more sodium and more calories than phase one.
Phase three is the maintenance program, which gives dieters more choices, additional protein and more flexibility with sodium.
In each phase, you eat specific portions of each food, which helps you learn proper portion sizes and keeps calorie intake in control. The Rice Diet menu is divided into starch, nonfat dairy, vegetables, fruit and protein:
- One starch is equal to 1/3 cup cooked rice or dried beans, 1/2 cup cooked grains, pasta or starchy vegetable, one slice of bread, or 1/4 to 1 cup of cereal.
- One serving of nonfat dairy equals 1 cup of nonfat cow’s or plant milk or plain yogurt.
- One vegetable serving is 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw vegetables.
- One fruit serving is one medium sized fruit or 1 cup of grapes or cut fruit.
- One serving of protein is 1 ounce of fish, skinless poultry, lean meat or 1/4 cup cooked dried beans or peas.
Dieters can eat any fruit, grain or vegetable they like as long as there is no added salt or fat. One teaspoon of maple syrup or honey is allowed each day.
Rice Diet Foods List
The rice diet is quite restrictive. On this diet, you will be consuming:
- Fresh fruits
- Low-salt beans
- Whole grains
- Lean protein
- Non-fat dairy
- Junk food
- Bottled fruit juices
- Milk chocolate
- Frozen food
- Deep-fried food
- Ready-to-eat foods
- Refined flour, refined sugar, and trans fat foods
You will need to dump all the junk food and adopt better eating and lifestyle choices. But, there’s one burning question. White rice or brown rice – what’s allowed in the rice diet? Find out in the next section.
White Rice Or Brown Rice?
It depends. If you like having white rice, go for it! And if you choose to consume brown rice, you can do it. Brown rice is considered healthier as it contains more dietary fiber. But you may compensate for that by adding extra veggies to your bowl of white rice.
Taste-wise, white rice is certainly more palatable. But you might like the chewy texture of brown rice (it takes longer to cook and needs to be soaked for at least 20 minutes).
Dr. Kempner had advised consuming white rice as, at that time, white rice was widely consumed.
Now that you know what to eat and avoid, let’s get down to the toughest part – the diet itself. In the following section, I have broken down the diet into three phases. Follow the instructions for each phase, and you will smoothly glide through it. Take a look.
The Rice Diet Plan
Phase 1 – 800 calories
|MEALS||WHAT TO EAT|
|Breakfast (8:00 a.m.)||1 medium bowl of oatmeal with banana and chia seeds|
|Lunch (12:00 p.m.)||Rice + stir-fried veggies + baked fish|
|Snack (3:30 p.m.)||300 mL freshly pressed fruit juice|
|Dinner (6:30 p.m.)||Grilled chicken and mushroom rice|
Phase 2 – 1000 calories
|MEALS||WHAT TO EAT|
|Breakfast (8:00 a.m.)||1 toast + ½ avocado + ½ small bowl of homemade ricotta cheese + 1 cup green tea|
|Lunch (12:00 p.m.)||Rice + stir-fried veggies + grilled chicken|
|Snack (3:30 p.m.)||1 cup of mixed fruits|
|Dinner (6:30 p.m.)||Vegetable and fish sushi|
Phase 3 – 1200 calories
|MEALS||WHAT TO EAT|
|Breakfast (8:00 a.m.)||A medium bowl of vegetable quinoa + 1 cup green tea|
|Lunch (12:00 p.m.)||Rice + stir-fried veggies + baked fish or fish curry|
|Snack (3:30 p.m.)||1 cup buttermilk + 10 in-shell pistachios|
|Dinner (6:30 p.m.)||Low-fat chicken and mushroom risotto|
It is a tough diet to follow. So, it’s best to follow it for not more than two weeks. The rice diet has undergone modification as the nutritional requirements, food habits, and scientific views on food and nutrition have changed. Here are the new rice diet guidelines laid by Kitty Gurkin Rosati and Dr. Robert Rosati.
Consume (per day):
- 1000 calories
- 22 g fat
- 5.5 g saturated fat
- 500-1000 mg sodium
- 0-100 mg cholesterol
Apart from changing your diet, you may do the following to improve your health.
What Else To Do To Improve Your Health?
- You must take care of your sleep pattern. Sleep deprivation is one of the causes of toxin build-up in the body. The harmful free oxygen radicals alter your DNA and cause numerous health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Meditate for at least five minutes a day. Increase the duration as you become more comfortable.
- Avoid alcohol. You may consume 30 mL of wine once a week.
- Workout regularly. You will start seeing a change in your mood and energy levels from the very first day you exercise.
- Drink at least two liters of water per day. You may add citrus fruits, mint leaves, ginger, and cucumber to make your bottle of water more palatable.
- Eat at regular intervals. Going on a hunger strike will only weaken your bones, muscles, and brain function.
It is clear that, along with diet, you must follow a healthy lifestyle to keep yourself fit and happy. But, for that, you can follow a diet that’s not so restrictive. Try intermittent fasting – it works like magic.
Who should follow the rice diet? Find out next.
Who Should Follow The Rice Diet?
You may follow this diet if:
- You have high blood pressure.
- You have diabetes.
- You have heart disease.
- You suffer from chronic renal failure.
- You have high cholesterol.
- You are gluten sensitive.
Note: Follow this diet ONLY IF your doctor gives you a green signal.
Before coming to a close, here are the benefits and side effects of the rice diet.
Benefits Of The Rice Diet
May help reduce body fat.
May help reduce cholesterol levels.
May help lower blood pressure.
May improve heart health.
May protect from diabetes type II.
Side Effects Of The Rice Diet
- May cause nutritional deficiencies.
- You may get bored of the diet and feel starved.
- You may feel irritated.
- May cause nausea.
- May lead to weakness.
Dr. Walter Kempner devised the rice diet in 1939 as a low-calorie, low-sodium diet. Foods high in complex carbohydrates, minimal dairy, and low sodium are part of this diet. Rice diet is good for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases. It is, however, an extremely restrictive diet. You can follow the rice diet only when you have a health issue that necessitates it, and no other diet would suffice. If you are looking for a diet that will help you lose weight, the rice diet might not be the best option. So, speak to your doctor before you decide to be on this diet.
Brown Rice Diet
Brown rice helps provide the foundation of a diet.
The seven-day brown rice diet, or brown rice cleanse, is built on the principles of the macrobiotic diet, which was popular in the 1970s. Although brown rice provides the foundation of the diet, it isn’t the sole component. You can also eat vegetables, fruits and some healthy fats, like olive oil.
The diet is meant to help you detox from processed foods and other stressors, like environmental toxins, so your body can reach balance naturally. Of course, you should always talk to your doctor or a qualified nutritionist who’s familiar with your medical history before starting a new dietary regimen, especially a strict one.
Brown Rice Diet Basics
Although the name makes it seem like you can eat only brown rice, this seven-day rice diet includes other whole foods as well. In addition to brown rice, you can eat:
- Whole vegetables
- Whole fruits
- Olive oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Wild fish
- Sea vegetables (kelp, seaweed and nori)
- Nuts and seeds
- Herbs and spices (including Celtic sea salt)
There’s not a lot of newer research on a brown rice diet, but an article published in the Permanente Journal in fall 2002 notes that the bulk of your diet (or 40 to 60 percent) should be whole grains like brown rice, while vegetables supply 20 to 30 percent. Beans provide another 10 percent, and the rest should come from sea vegetables and occasional fruit. In addition to paying attention to the types of foods you eat, you should also prioritize quality. All foods should be organic, whenever possible.
Proponents of the diet claim that many chronic illnesses, like cancer, develop as a result of eating too many processed, unhealthy foods and not enough whole foods. Instead, they say that eating a mostly vegetarian diet that’s made up of only unprocessed, whole foods can help reduce your risk of disease and boost your mood. Although the macrobiotic diet was designed to be a long-term solution, the seven-day brown rice diet serves as a cleanse for people looking for a reset.
Why Brown Rice?
Rice is a staple food for around 70 percent of the world’s population, according to a study published in Advances in Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences in July 2016. Unlike white rice, which is highly processed, brown rice is considered a whole grain. It includes the outer bran and germ portions, which provide both starch and fiber.
Because of its high fiber content, brown rice has a less dramatic effect on both blood sugar and insulin levels when compared to white rice. It’s also associated with weight loss and a reduced body fat percentage, notes an August 2013 publication of the British Journal of Nutrition.
Proponents of the brown rice diet also claim that brown rice is hypoallergenic — allowing tolerance without adverse effects or symptoms — and that it contains certain substances that can enhance detoxification and have antioxidant activity.
One of these substances are gamma-oryzanol, which is found in the rice bran, according to a November 2018 issue of Nutrients. The other is fiber, which binds to toxins, according to a report published in Advances in Nutrition in November 2016, and helps you eliminate them from your body. Fiber also helps waste move through your digestive system — another important aspect of effective detoxification.
What Does the Science Say?
One of the major concerns of any diet plan is whether it contains enough variety to supply you with all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Although this isn’t a huge concern for a brown rice cleanse that you’re on for only seven days, it’s still something you want to consider.
In the 2016 report in Advances in Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences, researchers reported that meals made according to macrobiotic principles provided not only enough calories, protein and fat, but adequate amounts of most of the vitamins and minerals required to keep you healthy, with the exception of a few.
These researchers also looked at certain compounds, like the gamma-oryzanol and tocotrienol, contained in the bran of the brown rice and found that they could improve heart health by simultaneously lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol. These compounds were also linked to a reduced risk of cancer.
Another study, published in PLOS One in June 2016, looked at the effect of a brown rice diet on people with diabetes. They compared the brown rice diet with a traditional diabetes-focused diet and found that people with diabetes who followed the brown rice diet had better glycemic control and hemoglobin a1c levels than those on the traditional diet.
It’s important to note, however, that participants in this study were on the diet for 12 weeks and that the effects weren’t measured until week four. It’s unlikely that you would see the same effects after following the diet for only seven days.
Brown Rice and Detoxification
But what about detoxification — one of the major claims of the brown rice cleanse? According to the 2016 report in Advances in Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences, brown rice also contains a compound called inositol, which appears to increase the body’s ability to detox. Researchers from the report note that inositol has a strong chelating effect. In order words, it binds to toxic heavy metals, like lead, mercury and arsenic and helps remove them from your body.
Other noted benefits of inositol include:
- Balanced blood glucose levels
- Improved metabolic syndrome markers (decreased cholesterol, decreased blood pressure and more balanced blood sugar)
- Cancer prevention
- Reduced severity of panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive behavior
- Decreased inflammation
- Improved fatty liver
A Word of Caution
Although the brown rice diet is almost nutritionally balanced, it lacks a few key nutrients, like vitamin D, vitamin B12 and calcium, according to a report that was published in Nutrition and Cancer in July 2015. If you’re following the diet for only seven days, it’s unlikely that you’ll develop nutrient deficiencies, but if you decide to stick with it longer, you’ll have to supplement with these specific nutrients to meet your needs.
Another thing important to note is that rice is a significant dietary source of arsenic, a heavy metal that has been associated with increased risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and respiratory issues, like asthma.
According to a report published in Science of the Total Environment in May 2017, eating too much rice can expose you to high levels of arsenic that increase your risk of these adverse health effects. Excess rice consumption can be especially problematic during pregnancy, since the arsenic can affect the health of the developing baby.