Rice is one of the world’s oldest cultivated crops, dating all the way back to 5,000 B.C. These days, more types of rice are available than ever before thanks to the popularity of ethnic cuisine - but is it healthy and good for your waistline? Find out more about this popular grain and how many calories are in rice.
The Calories in Rice: Is Rice a High Calorie Food?
Calories in rice – does it matter what type? Brown rice has a reputation for being “healthier” than white rice. This is because brown rice is unprocessed so its vitamins and fiber haven’t been stripped away like white rice. Even though brown rice has nutritional benefits over its processed cousin, the calorie-count of both forms of rice is roughly similar. A cup of cooked, long-grain white rice has 194 calories, while a similar cup of long-grain brown rice has 215 calories.
The calories in rice aren’t notably high, but some diets particularly low-carb ones discourage its followers from eating white rice. This is because white rice is high-glycemic, meaning it raises blood sugar levels rapidly and triggers more insulin production than a similar amount of brown rice. This is undesirable since insulin promotes fat storage. The fiber in brown rice causes it to be less rapidly absorbed, so it has less of an effect on insulin levels – and won’t go straight to your waistline.
Calories in Rice and Weight Gain
According to some diet disciples, white rice is more likely to cause weight gain because of its effects on insulin levels, despite the fact that it’s only slightly lower in calories than brown rice. White rice moves quickly through the digestive tract, which makes it less filling than brown rice with its higher fiber content. Brown rice has almost four times the fiber of white rice, which makes it more heart-healthy and better for the digestive tract.
If You Eat Rice
If you’re concerned about the carbs and calories in rice but still enjoy eating it, switch over to brown rice to get the extra vitamins and fiber. When you do, you’ll feel more satisfied eating less of it. Eating rice with protein and other high-fiber foods also reduces the insulin surge that comes from eating processed white rice. This won’t lower the calories in rice, but it may help to reduce weight gain if you’re a rice lover.
Cooking rice for a shorter period of time so it’s firmer when you serve it helps to reduce its effect on insulin levels too, which may work in your favor if you’re trying to shed a few pounds.
The Bottom Line?
The calories in rice are roughly similar whether it’s brown or white rice, but brown rice offers additional fiber and is a naturally good source of vitamins and minerals. Choose brown rice whenever possible, and eat white rice only in moderation.