Can You Eat Rice on A High Protein Diet?

Rice is one of the most avoided foods when it comes to a high protein diet. 

This is because in most cases people think that a high-protein diet also means a low-carb diet.   

But that isn’t true. 

So, can you eat rice on a high protein diet? You can add rice to a high-protein diet if you are careful with the serving sizes. Make sure to count the rice into your daily carb tracking, which shouldn’t exceed 40% of your total calories. Carbs are the primary energy source in the body, so even on a high protein diet, rice is essential to fuel your workouts.

If you want to add rice but don’t know how, I’ll explain how to include it without affecting your overall macros.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What is considered a high protein diet?
  • Is rice a high-protein food?
  • Tips and tricks to learn how to include rice into your high-protein diet.
  • Which rice is the highest in protein?

What Is Considered A High Protein Diet?

The basic recommended daily intake of protein is based on the National Institute of Health. It recommends having 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, in my experience as a dietitian, this is a very low intake. This amount is for someone that is lightly active and has an adequate body composition.

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, a high protein diet is considered to be 1.6-2.0 g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.

Even if your main goal is not to gain muscle mass, this is usually the range of protein I use for an active person or someone who wants to lose weight, and at the very least, preserve muscle mass.

A high-protein diet is not only good for maintaining muscle mass, but it also helps increase your metabolism (this means you burn a little more calories when digesting protein). It also increases your fullness levels. For someone cutting down calories, adding more protein prevents you from feeling hungry during the day. 

Is Rice A High Protein Food?

Nutrition content of one cup of white rice 174 grams

White rice is not a very high-protein food. One cup of white rice (174 g) has the following nutritional value:

  • Calories: 169
  • Carbs: 36.7 g
  • Protein: 3.5 g
  • Fats:  0.3 g

As you can see, rice is not very high in protein. It only has 3.5 g of protein which is the same as 0.5 oz of chicken breast.

For rice to be considered a high protein food, I would typically recommend having at least 7 g per serving size. 

The macronutrient ratio of carbs and protein need to be very similar. For example, if you are having ⅓ of a cup of rice which has approximately 15 g of carbs, try to have at least 15 g of protein. 

4 Ways You Can Eat Pasta on A High Protein Diet

4 ways you can eat pasta on a high protein diet

1. Track Your Daily Macros To Fit Rice 

In a high-protein diet, even if you should emphasize your protein intake, you can never leave out the other macronutrients. 

Carbs are essential for providing the necessary energy your body needs for daily movement. Fats are essential for absorbing vitamins (vitamin A, D, E, and K), and are vital in regulating certain hormones.

With that said, you can include rice to make up the carb portion of the day. However, make sure to weigh it or measure it and add it into your total daily macros. Additionally, plan how many carbs you will have in each meal to balance out the protein intake.

For example, a typical high protein macronutrient ratio I use is 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fats. So, if one cup of rice has 37 g of protein try to have more or less 20-30 g of protein and 5-10 g of fats. This can be achieved by adding 3-4 oz of chicken, beef, or fish, along with some healthy fats like avocado or nuts. 

Rice is on my list of cheap bulking carbs. Check out where it stands among 15 different carb sources

2. Think of Rice as the Side Dish Not the Main Dish

Rice is not a bad carb to have. However, when you make it your main ingredient in a dish, it is very high in calories and carbs.

If you start thinking of rice as a side dish and not the main dish, this helps to balance everything out. 

For example, instead of having fried rice as your dish. Order some veggie rice with a large size of protein and some salad or extra veggies on the side.

Pro-tip. If you are eating out, there is a recommendation on how your plate should look. Half your plate should be with veggies or salad. One-quarter of the plate should be the carb option (in this case rice).  And finally, include a piece of protein at least the size of your palm. 

3. Pick Low Carb Rice Options 

If rice is too high in carbs, other veggie options might be more suitable for a high-protein diet. Creating rice out of veggies decreases significantly the number of carbs the meal is going to have.

Here is a list of the most common veggie rice options you might find:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Beet
  • Mushroom
  • Cabbage

Making veggie rice is pretty easy. You cook the desired veggie and place it in a processor. Mix it for a couple of minutes until you get a shredded consistency.

Pro-tip. If you are not a fan of having veggie rice try mixing it up. Have half of the portion of regular rice and the other half of the veggie rice of your choice. 

Related Article: Can I Eat Rice While Cutting (5 Things To Know)

4. Ensure You’re In A Bulking Phase

Finally, if you want to add rice to your diet, make sure you are in a bulking phase. Here you have wider calories and macronutrient intake. It allows you to have a bigger carb margin than when you are in a cutting phase.

Since rice is very energy-dense, it is an excellent food to add if you are having trouble increasing your calorie intake for those gains.

However, if you are in a cutting phase, you might want to stick to veggie rice to decrease the carb intake or include traditional rice. Make sure to weigh it and count it in your total daily macros. 

Related Article: Quinoa vs. Brown Rice For Bodybuilding: Which Is Better?

What Kind of Rice is High in Protein

Kind of rice that is high in protein

There are different types of rice. Some of them are higher in protein content than others.  White rice is the lowest protein out of all. But, how does it compare to the others?

Here you can find a table comparing all of the kinds of rice in 100 g of the cooked product.

Type of RiceProtein (g)
White2.0
Wild4.0
Brown3.1
Black7.8
Basmati3.5
Red8.9

Is Wild Rice High in Protein?

Wild rice is very high in protein. It is one of the rice that has the most protein in its macronutrient composition. In 1 cup of cooked rice (164g), you find 6.4 g of protein. This is the same as having almost one medium egg.

Compared to white rice, wild rice has twice the amount of protein. Thus, if you are looking to increase your protein intake or follow a high-protein diet, it is better to have wild rice than white.

Additionally, wild rice is very high in fiber. It has almost 3 g of fiber per serving, representing 12% of the recommended daily fiber intake.

Wild rice has a nutty and earthy flavor, and it usually takes a little longer to cook than white rice. 

Is Brown Rice High in Protein?

Brown rice is high in protein. You can find that in 1 cup of cooked rice (155 g), you get 4.8 g of protein, which is the same as 0.5 oz of chicken breast.

Compared to white rice, it has 1 g more. This might seem like a little bit when following a high-protein diet; every gram counts.

It is also very high in fiber. One cup offers 2.5 g of fiber, which represents 10% of the daily recommended intake for fiber. It has more nutrients than white rice since it is less processed and it takes longer to cook. 

Is Black Rice High in Protein?

Black rice is very high in protein. Actually, compared to the other types of rice, it has the most protein content per 100 g of product. In 100 g of product, you get 7.8 g of protein, which is the same as one whole egg.

If we compare it to white rice, it has four times more protein. If you are looking to increase your protein and follow a high-protein diet, this type of rice is the way to go.

Additionally, it is very high in fiber. In 100 g of product, you get 9.8 g of fiber, representing 39% of the daily recommended intake.

Due to its color, it is very high in antioxidants (such as lutein and zeaxanthin), which gives it anti-inflammatory properties. It usually takes a similar time to cook as brown and wild rice. 

Is Basmati Rice High in Protein?

Basmati is in the mid-range of protein content for rice. In 1 cup of cooked basmati (142 g), you get 5 g of protein, similar to almost 0.5 oz of meat.

However, like white rice, it is not very high in fiber. It only has 0.9 g of fiber, which represents 3% of the recommended daily intake.

It has a similar nutritional value, flavor, and cooking method to traditional white rice. 

Is Red Rice High in Protein?

Red rice is very high in protein. In 100 g of product, you get 8.9 g of protein, the same as one large egg.  Compared to white rice, it has more than four times the protein content.

Like black rice, due to its intense color, it is very high in antioxidants. It helps remove inflammation in the body, decreasing joint pain and the risk of certain diseases (diabetes, cancer, and heart problems).

Like brown, wild, and black rice, it usually takes longer to cook than white rice.

Let’s get you in the best shape of your life. Sounds good?

What Else Should You Eat On A High Protein Diet?

Check out my other articles discussing foods that you can add to a high protein diet: 

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About The Author

Brenda Peralta

Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist.  In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.