Does rice make you fat?

As the great carbohydrate debate rages on, “Does rice make you fat?” is one of the most commonly asked questions. Rice is one of the most widely consumed foods across the world, it is part of every culture and an essential component of almost all cuisines. “And for good reason” says Dr. Dana Al Hamwi, Clinical Dietician at India Gate. Research indicates that the health advantages of rice include its ability to provide fast and immediate energy, control and improve bowel motions, strengthen blood glucose levels, and slow the ageing process; whilst also offering an important source of vitamin B1 to the human body. 

Does rice make you fat?

Various other advantages include its capability to improve skin health, boost metabolism, help with digestion, decrease high blood pressure levels, assist with weight reduction efforts, enhance the body’s defence mechanisms and offer protection from many diet-related preventable diseases. 

In spite of these benefits, many people believe that rice can cause overweight. This is what Dr. Dana Al Hamwi, Clinical Dietician at India Gate says about rice:

Not all types of white rice have the same calorie content

When it comes to weight loss and asking ‘does rice make you fat?‘, two things matter – the type of rice you eat and the portion size. Basmati rice, in its whole grain form is lower in calories compared to regular long grain rice, and therefore can fit into a healthy eating plan. It is therefore important to consider factors such as calories, glycemic index (GI) and the age of the rice before choosing which rice to consume.

Does rice make you fat if it is aged?!

The ageing process of basmati allows the rice to absorb more water when cooked, making it fluffier, with grains that separate easily. This makes aged basmati more filling compared to rice that is not aged, as it makes you feel more full, and you therefore consume less and are less likely to overeat. Aside from this, aged basmati rice has a beautiful aroma and taste! 

Glycemic load in rice keeps you feeling full

Rice, in general, is known to have a high glycemic index (GI), which means it is digested quickly, making you feel hungry sooner thereby leading to increased intake of unnecessary calories.

It is important to note that not all types of rice have a high glycemic index (GI). In fact, the GI score varies widely across the different types of rice. A study determined that the GI of rice ranges from 48 to 92, with an average of 64. This shows that consuming rice with a low GI score won’t make you fat because it keeps you satiated for longer, which is better for weight management.

Basmati rice has a low GI score, which not only keeps you fuller for longer but can also reduce the chances of getting type-2 diabetes. It releases energy slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more stable. Even those who suffer from this disease are encouraged to include low GI rice in their diets as they keep blood sugar levels stable.

How you cook rice plays a big role in deciding the calorie content

As mentioned above, the calorie content in rice varies by type, however, the way you cook your rice plays a big role in determining this. Rice is generally cooked in two ways – open pan and closed pan method. The closed pan method involves boiling pre-soaked rice submerged in water. The rice is cooked till the water is absorbed by the rice.

Does rice make you fat?

The open pan method involves cooking pre-Soaked rice with water too. The rice gets cooked in 6-7 mins and the excess water is drained. The open pan method reduces the Calorie content as starch gets drained with the excess water thereby reducing the calorific content of rice.

Overall, rice doesn’t deserve the title of fattening or unhealthy, which means you can enjoy your favourite food staple in moderation without worrying! Rice is part of a healthy diet, especially certain varieties like Basmati rice, which are more nutritious and have a low glycemic index.

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