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Is Brown Rice Good for Weight Loss? Everything You Need to Know
Weight Loss

Is Brown Rice Good for Weight Loss? Everything You Need to Know

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on July 12, 2022
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6 min
is brown rice good for weight loss

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There is a lot of advice out there if you’re starting a weight loss journey. Most people will ask you to completely give up carbs, particularly rice.

And while most people avoid rice because of the large number of calories it contains, many people discover that they can still eat this carb food in the form of brown rice.

Diet experts will also have many recommendations on the best foods to help you lose weight.

One of them is brown rice. It has many nutritional benefits that go beyond weight loss. It’s a fiber-packed food and one of the best alternatives to white rice. It comes with healthy carbs that boost metabolism and promote fat burn.

But is brown rice effective in losing weight? How does it promote fat burn? You will learn this and more.

Is Brown Rice Good for Weight Loss?

Brown rice is a great food for weight loss because it’s high in fiber and has a low glycemic index. It also contains other essential nutrients for weight management, including magnesium, manganese, and selenium.

Brown rice is rich in fiber, which helps you feel full, so you eat less. It also takes longer to digest, which means you’re likely to avoid snacking between meals and overeating at mealtime.

With this staple food, you can go for a 12-hour fasting and experience success without feeling hunger pangs while maintaining your health.

Research shows that people who consume fewer whole grains like brown rice ‌weigh more than those who consume more.

Is Brown Rice Good for You?

Brown rice is a nutritious and healthy grain. It is an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium. These essential minerals play key roles in several body functions, such as bone development, immune function, blood sugar regulation, strong bones and muscles, and a healthy heart and nervous system function.

Brown rice is high in fiber, which may help reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels in your blood vessels and preventing constipation by keeping you regular.

Brown Rice Nutrition Facts

Often associated with healthy eating, brown rice is a nutritious dietary fiber. It’s a whole food, low in calories (218 calories/cup), fiber-rich, and gluten-free, that can be used with different dishes.

According to the USDA, 1 cup (195g) of cooked brown rice contains:

  • Calories: 218
  • Fiber: 3.51g
  • Carbs: 45.8g
  • Protein: 4.52g
  • Fat: 1.62g
  • Sugars: 0.7g

What is a serving of brown rice?

A serving of brown rice is a half-cup of cooked rice, which is comparable to the size of a cupcake wrapper.

Half a cup of dry brown rice will make one cup of cooked rice, and you can get even more if you order a side of rice at your go-to eatery. It’s essential to stick to half a cup serving size to lose weight.

How to Prepare Brown Rice

You can prepare brown rice using a rice cooker or on the stove.

Rice cooker method

  1. Rinse one cup of brown rice in a strainer under cold running water until the water runs clear. This removes any dirt or debris that could contaminate your cooked food later.
  1. Put 2 cups of water into your rice cooker along with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter if desired.
  1. Cook in the rice cooker for approximately 25 minutes. The rice cooker will switch to “keep warm” mode when the rice is done cooking. Leave the rice to stand for 5 minutes with the lid closed before serving.

Stove method

  1. Rinse your brown rice under cold running water for about 2 minutes.
  1. Bring 2 cups of water or broth to boil in a saucepan over high heat.
  1. Stir in 1 cup brown rice; reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
  1. Remove from heat and let stand 5–10 minutes before fluffing with a fork before serving.

Cooked brown rice is one of the healthiest whole grains and is versatile. Incorporate brown rice into your diet by eating it with fried eggs, tofu, black beans, salsa, or avocados. Use brown rice as a base for stir-fry or curry, use it instead of white rice when making risotto, or eat it plain.

You can also fry up some tasty black bean and brown rice burgers or enjoy a brown rice porridge instead of oatmeal for breakfast.

Difference Between White Rice and Brown Rice for Weight Loss

While white rice contains folate, niacin, and thiamin, brown rice is higher in fiber and rich in nutrients such as selenium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, making it the better option for weight loss.

Here’s how it stacks up:

#1 Calories

When you’re on a weight loss journey, your results are determined by how many calories you consume versus how many calories you burn, and quality calories will give you the best results. Losing weight occurs when you eat fewer calories than you burn. Although brown rice is slightly higher in calories than white rice, it can be a nutritious addition to a calorie-controlled diet.

#2 Fiber

Brown rice contains 1.8g of fiber per 100g, while white rice has 0.4g of fiber per 100g. Fiber helps your body feel fuller by slowing down the rate of food moving through your digestive system, so you’ll want to eat less while still feeling satisfied.

This may make it easier to reduce your body weight by reducing your appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods.

#3 Minerals and vitamins

Whole grains contain valuable minerals such as manganese, selenium, and phosphorus that help synthesize body fat and prevent obesity.

Selenium is also great for your thyroid. The thyroid controls many bodily functions, including metabolism. If you have thyroid problems, you may find it difficult to lose weight.

You can combat these issues by increasing your intake of whole foods, including whole-grain brown rice.

Benefits of Brown Rice

This healthy food has numerous health benefits. From prevention of developing heart disease to controlling blood sugar levels and boosting the immune system. Here are several of them:

#1 Better heart health

Brown rice contains essential nutrients, which are good at keeping your heart healthy.

It’s rich in magnesium and proanthocyanidin, which may help reduce many cardiovascular issues such as heart attacks, clogged arteries, strokes, and an overworked heart.

#2 Source of flavonoids

Flavonoids are antioxidants found in whole grains that help fight free radicals – the harmful byproducts of metabolism.

Free radicals can damage cells in your body, increasing your risk for heart disease, premature aging, and certain types of cancer. Antioxidants found in brown rice help prevent cell injury caused by the free radicals and reduce inflammation in the body.

#3 Reduces the risk of diabetes

The fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in brown rice may help control blood sugar levels and lower diabetes risk.

Research proves that consuming 2–3 servings per day of whole foods can lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 32%.

Other studies show that brown rice has phytic acid, fiber, and essential polyphenols, which can help in the slower release of sugars.

FAQs

Is brown rice a whole grain?

Yes, it contains all parts of the grain, including the nutritious germ, the fibrous bran, and the carb-rich endosperm.

Is brown rice fattening?

Brown rice won’t make you fat. It’s higher in fiber content and has more trace minerals and vitamins than white rice. Fiber may help you feel full longer, reducing the urge to snack, while minerals and vitamins will help in weight management.

Is brown rice a complex carb?

Brown rice is a whole-grain complex carb that contains fiber. Its entire grain kernel is intact.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Brown rice is a great weight-loss food when eaten in moderation, as it has various nutrients found in the original seed.

It’s rich in fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer by steadily keeping food moving through your digestive tract. This will prevent you from snacking and binge eating.

The fiber in brown rice also helps lower cholesterol levels by binding to fatty acids in the digestive tract so they can’t be absorbed into the bloodstream. This may help lower your risk of heart disease.

Brown rice is a low-glycemic food that won’t spike your blood sugar, making it an ideal choice for people with diabetes, insulin resistance, or other blood sugar concerns.

It’s a great source of vitamins and minerals, including manganese, magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus, which promote weight loss.

Conclusion

Is brown rice good for weight loss? It is a great substitute for white rice; however, you should still eat it in moderation.

Brown rice is a healthy meal that can be an important part of a balanced diet. Whole grains are higher in fiber, and fiber helps you feel full longer so that you may eat less.

Unlike white rice, which is fortified, brown rice is higher in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, selenium, and B vitamins, which are nutrients that promote weight loss.

It may also help you lose weight because it has fewer calories per serving.

Overall, brown rice is a healthy and versatile whole-grain food that anyone can consume at any time of the day for a healthy meal. Add brown rice to your weight loss plan and enjoy the health benefits that come with it.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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