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If you are in a cutting phase of your diet, a common question is whether the type of foods that you include in your diet are as important as the quantity of food that you eat. In particular, rice is viewed as a common food to eat amongst bodybuilders but can get a bad rep when it comes to fat loss.
So, can you eat rice while cutting? Yes, you can eat rice while cutting as long as you eat an amount that fits your daily calories. During a cut, it is key to shift the amount of food you eat, rather than the type of food. If you eat rice in a cut, it is best to eat it in combination with protein and veggies in order to reduce its effect on blood sugar.
In this article, we will discuss:
- The calories and macros for rice and why it matters
- Whether you can lose weight and still eat rice
- A step by step process on how to include rice into your diet when cutting
- The best types of rice for cutting
Rice & Weight Loss: What People are Saying
When it comes to weight loss, a common concern seen across many different internet forums is if rice is an acceptable food to eat if your goal is to lose fat.
Some common questions asked among those concerned about rice and its influence on weight loss are:
“Will eating rice stall my weight loss?”
“How much rice should I eat a day if I want to lose weight?”
“Can I lose weight if I stop eating rice?”
“Will eating rice spike my blood sugar and affect my weight loss?”
“What kind of rice should I eat while cutting?”
If you have asked yourself these same questions about eating rice while cutting, then know that you are not the only one. These are questions that are commonly asked, and throughout this article we will address each concern.
Rice Overview: Calories, Macronutrients & Micronutrients
Rice is a commonly consumed grain, and is a staple food for over half of the world’s population. Generally, rice is categorized as either white or brown, however, there are many types of rice, and each one has different qualities and health benefits.
All rice is generally categorized as a carbohydrate, since carbs make up about 80% of its calorie content. The type of micronutrients and amount of fiber that rice has is usually dependant on whether it is white or brown. Brown rice contains more fiber and nutrients because it still contains the bran and the germ, while in white rice this is removed.
While there are many different types of rice, for the purposes of this article we are going to look at the following types of rice:
- Long grain white rice
- White Jasmine rice
- White Basmati rice
- Brown rice
- Wild rice
1. Long Grain White Rice
Long grain white rice is a common staple in many people’s kitchens, and although it is a fantastic source of carbohydrate, it lacks micronutrient content in comparison to brown rice. When the bran and germ are removed from brown rice to create white rice, many of the nutrients are removed as well.
You can choose enriched white rice, but if it is not enriched with different vitamins and minerals, it will not provide much nutrition beyond being a source of carbohydrate.
The macronutrient and fiber content of 1 cup of cooked long grain white rice is:
- Calories: 160 calories
- Carbohydrates: 36 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
2. White Jasmine Rice
Similar to long grain white rice, white jasmine rice is a great source of carbohydrates, but loses some of its fiber and nutrients when it is processed.
While it contains slightly more carbs and fat, you can see that the macronutrient content in 1 cup of white jasmine rice is similar to long grain white rice, containing:
- Calories: 181 calories
- Carbohydrates: 39 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
3. White Basmati Rice
White Basmati rice contains slightly more carbs and protein in comparison to jasmine and long grain white rice but falls within a similar macronutrient range. Basmati rice contains many essential nutrients such as B vitamins, copper, folate, magnesium, iron and zinc
One cup of cooked white basmati rice contains:
- Calories: 210 calories
- Carbohydrates: 46 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Fiber: 0.7 grams
4. Brown Rice
Brown rice is often thought to be the healthiest rice to consume, due to the fact that it contains the most fiber and nutrients. Brown rice is the least processed and only has the outer shell (hull) removed, leaving the bran and the germ intact.
Since brown rice contains a higher amount of fiber, it has a lesser impact on blood sugar when you consume it, and is lower on the Glycemic Index. Its higher fiber content will also help to keep you fuller for longer, which can come in handy when you are cutting
The calorie, macronutrient and fiber content in 1 cup of cooked brown rice is:
- Calories: 216 calories
- Carbohydrates: 44 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 1.8 grams
- Fiber: 3.5 grams
5. Wild Rice
Believe it or not, wild rice is technically not even rice. It is actually an aquatic rice with an edible grain but is referred to as rice due to the fact that it looks similar to rice and cooks the same as well. Wild rice has a rich flavor and is high in the antioxidant manganese.
Wild rice has a slightly lower carbohydrate content and higher protein content in comparison to other types of rice, making it a great option for anyone on a cut. The calories and macros in 1 cup of wild rise are:
- Calories: 166 calories
- Carbohydrates: 35 grams
- Protein: 6.5 grams
- Fat: 0.56 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
The one downside to wild rice is that it tends to be more expensive in comparison to other types of rice. However, if you prefer the flavor, it might be worth spending an extra few bucks.
Can You Lose Weight & Still Eat Rice? Or Is Rice Off Limits?
If your goal is to lose weight, you can have rice in your diet as long as you are following a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is going to be different for each individual, depending on how many calories they burn in a day (Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE).
It is important to keep in mind that if your calories and carbohydrate requirements are very low during your cut (i.e. if you’re in the final stages of a bodybuilding prep), it might be difficult to fit rice into your meals, since it is extremely carb dense.
When you are cutting, it is often recommended that you fill your calories with high volume foods, meaning foods that provide a lot of volume or size in your stomach, but contain a low number of calories.
If you compare 1 cup of brown rice at 210 calories and 44 grams of carbs, to 1 cup of cauliflower rice at 28 calories and 6 grams of carbohydrates, it becomes easy to see how much more of the cauliflower rice you could consume while in a deficit.
Takeaway: Eating more volume during your cut can help to keep you full between meals.
With all of this said, you are still able to consume rice in your diet while in a cutting phase, and the higher your deficit calories are, the more rice you will be able to consume.
How To Incorporate Rice Into Your Diet While Cutting
There are several factors to consider if you are planning on incorporating rice into your diet during a cut.
These factors include
- How to fit rice into your macros
- The best type of rice to consume during a cut
- What you should be eating with your rice
- Does it matter when you eat rice when you are cutting
1. How to Fit Rice into Your Macros
In order to fit rice into your cutting macros, you must determine how many carbohydrates you are able to consume per day in your cutting macros.
In order to do this you must first calculate your TDEE and maintenance calories, and subtract 250-500 calories from this amount to find your deficit.
For example, the amount of calories needed to maintain the weight of a 30 year old active male who is 5’10” , 200 pounds and active 4-5 days a week is approximately 2745 calories a day. With this information, we can determine that a 500 calorie deficit would put him at 2245 calories per day.
Once the calorie deficit has been determined, you must determine the macronutrient split of the calories. For active individuals and athletes, a general recommended macro split is about:
- 25-35% protein
- 45-55% carbs
- 20-30% fat
For this example, we will choose a macro split of 30% protein, 50% carbs, and 20% fat.
If this person wanted 50% of their calories to be from carbohydrates, that would mean that 2245 calories x 40% = 898 calories. Since each gram of carbohydrate equals 4 calories, this means that this man would need to consume 224.5 grams of carbs to reach his goal.
With the ability to consume this amount of carbohydrates, there is plenty of room for rice in this person’s diet. To put it into perspecitve, 224.5 grams of carbs would equal out to around 5 cups of brown rice.
Keep in mind, even if you have a decent amount of calories that you can fill with carbohydrates, you want to be getting these carbohydrates from a variety of different sources, not just rice.
Key Takeaway: While you don’t have to fill all of your carb macros with rice, this person could easily fit in 1-2 cups of rice throughout their day, while still being able to consume other forms of carbohydrates in the form of other grains, root vegetables, fruits and vegetables. Having a variety of these foods in your diet is what is best for optimal health and digestion.
2. The Best Type of Rice to Consume During a Cut
The best type of rice to consume while you are cutting is brown basmati rice. The reason for this is that brown basmati rice has a low Glycemic Index score and more fiber than white rice, meaning that it will not spike your blood sugar as drastically as white rice and it will keep you full for longer.
Brown basmati rice also contains high amounts of essential micronutrients that you will not find in white rice. Basmati rice is also low in arsenic, which is a heavy metal often prevalent in rice that can be harmful to your health.
The other type of rice that is ideal to consume during a cut is wild rice, due to the fact that it has the highest protein content out of all the other varieties of rice. Wild rice also has a lower GI score in comparison to white rice. Its high fiber content will ensure that you stay fuller for longer.
However, if you are someone with a sensitive or compromised digestive system, whole grains may not be the best option for you. If you struggle with digestive upset like bloating or gas, consuming a lower fiber rice such as white rice during your cut will be a better alternative for you.
3. What You Should Be Eating with Your Rice
If you are looking to lose fat, you want to ensure you are not consuming carbs that are high on the Glycemic Index on their own, since this can cause massive spikes in your blood sugar. When your blood sugar spikes too high on a consistent basis, this can cause what is known as insulin resistance, which can result in weight gain.
The best thing that you can do to reduce the blood sugar spike from a food rich in carbohydrates like rice, is to eat it alongside a protein and a vegetable. When you eat carbs alongside protein and veggies, you slow the rate at which that carbohydrate digests, which will ultimately slow down the insulin response in your body.
A great example of a well balanced meal that won’t drastically spike your blood sugar would be eating a serving of chicken breast or chicken thigh, a serving of rice, and a side of cooked broccoli. This will have a much more positive effect on your body as opposed to if you were to eat rice on its own.
4. Does It Matter When You Eat Rice When You Are Cutting
When it comes to fat loss during your cutting phase, the number one importance is to adhere to your calorie deficit. This matters much more than what time of the day you consume your calories
With that said, there are definitely optimal times of the day to be consuming carbohydrates such as rice when you are on a cut.
Since rice is such a quick and efficient form of energy, it is best to consume it when you are going to expend the most amount of energy, such as right before or right after a workout.
In contrast to this, eating a large serving of rice in the evening when you have been sedentary for hours, and plan on going to sleep shortly after, is not as ideal.
This is because all of the carbohydrates from the rice don’t have a chance to be used as energy at this time of the day, and have a greater chance to be stored as fat.
Best Types of Rice for Cutting
When you are in a cutting phase, there are certain types of rice that are going to be superior to others. These types of rice will have higher amounts of fiber, protein, and micronutrients, and have less of an impact on blood sugar.
My favorite brands of rice that I recommend during a cutting phase are:
1. Lundberg Wild Blend Gourmet Rice
This brand of rice contains a combination of long grain brown rice and brown wild rice. It is high in fiber and because it has not been refined, it has many of its minerals and nutrients intact. Wild rice has the highest amount of protein compared to any other rice, making it a great choice during a cutting phase.
2. Organic Brown Basmati Rice
Basmati rice is great during a cutting phase when looking to lose weight, due to the fact that it has a lower score on the Glycemic Index. This means that it will have less of an effect on your blood sugar compared to white rice. This particular brand is also organic, which means that it is not sprayed with pesticides and herbicides that can be harmful for your health.
3. White Basmati Rice
If you decide to eat white rice instead of brown or wild rice, white basmati rice is the best choice because it still has a lower GI score in comparison to other forms of white rice. This brand of rice on Amazon is also organic, which makes it a superior choice compared to those brands that might contain harmful pesticides.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is White Rice Good to Eat While Cutting?
While brown rice is superior to white rice in terms of micronutrient content, white rice can still have a place in your diet while cutting. Although the Glycemic Index of white rice is very high which can cause a spike in blood sugar, if it is consumed alongside protein and vegetables, it will decrease the GI of the rice significantly.
In addition to this, consuming white rice while on a cut instead of brown rice may be easier on your digestion, due to the fact that white rice contains more fiber. If you have a sensitive digestive system, you may be better off with white rice while cutting
How Much Rice Should You Eat When Cutting?
The amount of rice that you should eat when you are on a cut will be dependent on how many calories and carbohydrates you are eating on your calorie deficit. If your carbs are lower during your cut, you won’t be able to fit as much rice into your diet. This is true in particular for those who are on a low carbohydrate diet of under 100 grams per day.
Can Rice Make You Fat?
The only way that you can put on fat and gain weight is if you are eating more calories than you are expanding on a consistent basis. In other words, you have to be in a caloric surplus for an extended period of time. If you are eating too much rice, it is possible that you could experience weight gain. However, as long as you are eating within your calorie and macronutrient requirements, rice will not make you fat.
Eating Other Foods While Cutting
- Can I Eat Whole Eggs While Cutting?
- Can I Eat Peanut Butter While Cutting?
- Can I Eat Bread While Cutting?
- Can I Eat Chocolate While Cutting?
- Can I Eat Pasta While Cutting?
- Can I Eat Fruit While Cutting?
About The Author
Colby Roy is a holistic health and nutrition coach. She is certified through Precision Nutrition and has a passion for all things nutrition and healing the body. More specifically, Colby likes to work with clients who want to optimize their gut health and energy levels.