Does eating rice at night increase belly fat? If this question has popped up in your mind several times, you have reached just the right place.
In this article, I will highlight several myths about rice, such as eating rice at night can lead to weight gain, that rice is carb-rich and that you should avoid eating rice if you wish to lose weight.
You will be amazed that nutritionists and health experts suggest consuming a meal such as rice with pulses at night, even if you are on a weight loss goal.
Rice is a chief food for more than half of the world. It gives more than 20% of the world’s calorie intake since it is so frequent in Asia and Latin America.
Additionally, rice differs in type, color, and consistency, providing many ways to eat it, and it could be pocket friendly to buy. People consume white rice more than any other type of rice as it has a long shelf life and is simple to cook and eat.
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Rice’s part in nutrition is interesting because more people are looking for the best diets and searching for alternative treatments for their health conditions. Also, obesity is a worldwide health concern, directing experts to opt for a way to challenge its growth.
Although, the function rice plays in these fields is debatable.
So, what’s the share out with rice? Is it weight-loss-friendly or high in calories? This article gets into the depth of this question.
What is rice?
Rice is a cereal distributed as either a whole or refined grain. Entire grains comprise the full grain. When rice is ground, it becomes processed and deprived of vital nutrients. Still, it sometimes possesses better flavor or improved shelf life. All whole grains are formed up of three primary ingredients:
Brown and wild rice are complete whole grains that have both the bran and the germ. Hence, they’re nutritious and loaded with fiber and nutrients.
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On the other side, white rice has excluded both the bran and the nutritious germ, which ultimately cleans out the rice of its most nutritious parts. Again, this goal is to enhance its taste, extend its shelf life, and improve its cooking qualities.
Different types of rice possess different nutritional compositions that can provide various health effects. However, overall, whole grain rice is a rich source of:
Different types of rice
Brown rice is generally richer in fiber, vitamins, and minerals than white rice. Its nutrients help in improving glycemic control, which benefits those with diabetes. Dietary fiber may also help in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, which could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
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In addition, high fiber foods encourage feelings of fullness, which could support weight management and may help highlight obesity.
Red rice is a naturally pigmented rice grain recognized for its rich nutritional properties. It could also come in red yeast rice, formed after the fermentation of Monascus purpureus mold.
Red yeast rice is popular to help lower cholesterol. It is processed through the breakdown of red yeast and mainly comprises starch and protein. Anthocyanins impart the rice’s vibrant color and make this type of rice a healthier alternative than brown or white rice.
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Anthocyanins possess antioxidant properties that could help in reducing cholesterol levels. Also, red and brown rice could help decrease inflammation and maintain brain health.
White rice comprises fewer nutrients and less fiber than brown rice. Also, white rice varieties contain carbs entirely in the shape of starches and glucose.
The table here compares the estimated nutrient content of 3.6 ounces (100 grams) of white, brown, and red rice. Remember that the nutritional content may vary depending on the brand and preparation method.
|Potassium (mg)||Iron (mg)||Calcium (mg)|
Does eating rice at night increase belly fat?
You understand that eating carbs at night is a no- if you’re trying to shed weight. This is so the body burns carbohydrates first as an energy source, reserving them in the muscles and the liver for future utilization. When you don’t possess much stored in your body, the fat reserves are utilized instead.
Two essential hormones are the prime players in this method: insulin and glucagon. In simple words, insulin is responsible for carrying excess glucose from the blood and storing it in the shape of glycogen (a type of starch) in the body. In contrast, glucagon releases stored fats from fat cells so they can be burned as energy.
Although, when we consume something with carbs at night (or any time of day for that matter), it changes these processes – and not necessarily for the better.
You likely know that consuming too much sugar and unhealthy fats could cause weight gain and obesity. But you might not know that eating specific foods at specific times of day could also cause weight gain—especially if they are the form of food you prefer to overeat.
Eating carbs increases insulin levels.
A high-carb meal will lead your blood sugar to spike, activating the brain to release insulin. This is a standard method and helps to remove the excess sugar in the blood. Although, when we consume something with carbs at night changes this process – and not automatically for the better. For instance, if you’re having dinner at 8 p.m. and you consume rice as a side, insulin levels will increase as your body identifies it as a carbohydrate. This will lead your blood sugar levels to fall rapidly and far too quickly. But this isn’t the only negative impact of having too much insulin in your system.
More bad news: Insulin has a wide variety of adverse effects
When you consume a high-carb meal, the insulin levels in the blood increase. This could be fine if you’re not physically active that evening. Although, if you do some physical exercise, you definitely don’t want high levels of insulin in your system. Why? As insulin is a growth hormone, it’s in charge of fat storage.
What’s more, insulin leads your liver to store more fat and your muscles to release glucose as an energy source. All of this explains that you’re more likely to store fat and burn muscle for energy than fat. That’s why people with very high blood sugar levels (termed hyperglycemia) are at a higher risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
So, what to do?
Consume more protein
Protein is the most satisfying macronutrient, meaning it aids in keeping you feeling full for longer. You could go for a protein-rich dinner, like fish or meat with salad. Or, if you’re not fond of salads, opt for some eggs with a glass of milk.
Eat more fiber
Fiber is yet another excellent method to keep hunger pangs in control. It’s also a great source of energy, as it burns slowly by the body and doesn’t provide sudden spikes, unlike other carbs.
Eat more vegetables
Vegetables are good in fiber and water, aiding digestion and avoiding excessive blood sugar levels from hiking.
Eat smaller portions
Although you must still try to eat healthy foods, eating smaller portions would help prevent blood sugar crashes.
Don’t eat carbs at night.
Consuming a high-carb dinner will disturb your metabolism and fat burning, enhancing your risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease. Instead, go for a protein-rich dinner and couple it with plenty of veggies to maintain your blood sugar levels stable. You could also try to prevent carbs before bed, which will help you burn fat more efficiently. Keep in mind you don’t have to give up carbs entirely if you eat them at the correct time. All you are required to do is start a few changes to your diet, and you will be able to enjoy your favorite meal without any negative impact.
Rice’s effects on weight loss are conflicting
The link between brown rice and weight management is well known. Individuals who eat whole grains such as brown rice have been highlighted to weigh less than those who don’t and to have a lesser risk of weight gain. The American Heart Association suggests selecting brown rice as:
- It’s loaded with a lot of fiber. Fiber is vital to our diet and provides many benefits, like improved digestion.
- It could help improve your cholesterol levels. When you lower your cholesterol, you too decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke, and obesity.
- It could help you feel full. Your stomach might feel complete with all the fiber and leave you satiated with fewer calories, assisting you to consume less overall, which could support weight management.
- It’s fully packed with nutrients. It includes many vitamins and minerals essential for your immune system, thyroid function, and other vital body functions.
Although, you may not be required to remove white rice just yet. Instead, you could make enriched white rice, a healthier white rice alternative.
Enrichment requires adding vitamins and other nutrients that vanished when the whole grain rice was converted into a refined grain. This recovery makes it more nutritious.
Enhancing white rice increases its content of the following vitamins and minerals :
- Folic acid
While white rice may have some health advantages, there’s no clear evidence that it’s connected directly to weight gain — whole grain rice could be best to aid weight management. White rice possesses less nutritional value than any other variety of rice. They may be termed empty calories, which do not negatively affect the body but don’t help much.
The rice diet
Amazingly, a popular weight loss diet revolves around white rice.
The diet was evolved in 1939 to cure people with high blood pressure and kidney problems. It was a bland, low-calorie diet consisting mainly of white rice, fruit, fruit juices, and sugar. Nevertheless, it had astonishing effects on health, including weight loss and the relief of kidney disease symptoms.
Although, this was a very restrictive, low-fat, low-calorie diet. Hence, the results may not apply to eating rice as part of a typical diet. However, you can include rice into a weight loss diet if you manage your calorie consumption.
White rice: Breaking famous tradition
According to nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, single-polished hand-pound rice is excellent and healthy for consumption. One can have this type of rice without worrying about weight gain. If this type of rice is not present in your area, you could opt for having the kind that is local to your location. Here are other myths about rice you must stop believing:
1. It is believed that brown rice is healthier than white rice. Uncontrollable eating brown rice on a weight loss diet is not going to be favorable. It is said that brown rice possesses excessive fiber, which could be restricted by zinc absorption. Zinc is required for the proper working of the immune system.
2. You could take white rice at dinner and not worry about gaining weight. “Rice is the easiest grain to digest.” Meals such as khichdi or dal rice dressed with a dollop of ghee have a complete amino acid profile. These meals are loaded with protein and fats necessary if you wish to lose weight. If you are eating them for dinner, ensure a gap of two hours between dinner and bedtime. Don’t forget to try portion control to prevent overeating.
3. It is a myth that rice consists of gluten. Both white rice and brown rice are gluten-free grains.
So, think again for those who have thought that eating white rice will make them fat. Staples such as rice and roti have been eaten by people in India for generations. Rather than blaming these foods for weight gain, you must probably pay attention to your eating habits. Consuming food according to the right combination, at the right time, in controlled portions is significant if you wish to maintain your health and weight.
Rice is a chief food in many countries.
Rice is a chief food in many countries that, until lately, had relatively low percentages of people overweight or obese. However, obesity rates have since changed worldwide, mainly when you look at the impact of the epidemic on a global scale. White rice is the principal source of carbs in those countries. For instance, Asia contributes to an estimated 90% of the rice manufactured in the world.
In these countries, people can eat rice with almost every meal, which appears to shield them as opposed to weight gain and high blood pressure in these individuals. In older Chinese adults, a dietary style high in rice and vegetables appears to help avoid weight gain, large waist circumference, and obesity.
Although, this fashion may vary as diets in these countries become impacted by the standard Western diet. Consequently, the number of overweight or obesity has shot up in many countries over the last few years. Although, there has also been an enlarged push for substituting white rice with whole grains such as brown rice.
One research among Iranian adolescents highlighted that those with the highest rice consumption had the most significant link between obesity and being overweight. Those who consumed more white rice also had the lowest scores for nutrient consumption when measured with the suggested consumption.
This statistic showed that these adolescents could be eating rice with foods that older generations did not consume, potentially causing weight gain.
In short, rice may cause weight gain if taken with a less nutritious diet, but it can aid in weight management if taken as part of a well-balanced diet.
Some types may spike blood sugar levels.
The glycemic index(GI) calculates how rapidly food raises your glucose levels.
Foods with a high GI lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, which have been linked with weight gain and increased diabetes risk. On the other side, foods with a low GI lead to a more gradual increase in blood sugar levels and are advantageous for people with diabetes as they help manage blood sugar and insulin levels.
Frankly speaking, whole grains possess lower GI scores than refined grains and are one cause why diets high in whole grains decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Although, not all research has found a connection between refined grain intake and risk factors for type 2 diabetes. The starch structure of rice may be a critical element in explaining this. Sticky rice is considerably high in the starch amylopectin and has a high GI.
Hence, it’s quickly digested and may lead to blood sugar spikes.In contrast, non-sticky rice is rich in amylose and has a low GI, which slows down starch digestion. It could even consist of resistant starch, a form of healthy fiber.
So, whether rice is white or brown, its GI can span from relatively low to very high, depending on the type and variety. The average GI for brown rice is sixty-five, and the average for white rice is seventy-three.
If you have diabetes or are reactive to blood sugar spikes, selecting non-sticky rice high in amylose may be the best way to maintain your blood sugar levels.
Any food can cause overeating if portion sizes aren’t managed.
As with most factors in nutrition, the amount decides the impact. Nothing specifically “fattening” about rice, so its impact on weight must slow down to serving size and the general quality of your meal.
Research has repeatedly highlighted that serving food in a larger container or dish increases consumption, anyhow of the food or drink being served. This container shape has to do with the view of the serving size. Serving significant portions has significantly increased calorie consumption without people realizing it. Portion control tools are also efficient in decreasing calorie consumption.
Research that has examined the effects of serving size has highlighted that decreasing the size of the rice bowl reduces calorie consumption, body weight, and blood sugar levels. Hence, rice could be weight-loss-friendly or calorie-rich, depending on the serving size.
Should You Eat White Rice?
White rice is often unfairly judged and can work as a better substitute for brown rice in some conditions.
For example, women passing through pregnancy could benefit from the extra folate present in enriched white rice.
In addition, individuals on a low-fiber diet and adults having problems with nausea or heartburn could find that white rice is easier to digest and does not activate uncomfortable indications.
Although, brown rice is still the better alternative for most. It contains various vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and plant-based ingredients.
It also possesses a lower glycemic index, meaning its carbs are gradually transformed into glucose, making it more beneficial for people with diabetes or prediabetes.
That’s why it is said, it’s simply OK to enjoy white rice without feeling guilty.
The connection between weight gain and rice consumption is unclear. Of the multiple forms of rice, there is no question that brown and red rice are much more nutritious than white rice.
Non-sticky rice could also be better for people who are sensitive to glucose swings or have diabetes. It all appears to boil down to looking at your serving size and following an overall healthy and balanced diet.
Though white rice is more refined, it’s not necessarily bad.
Most white rice in the US is loaded with vitamins such as folate to enhance its nutritional value. In addition, its low fiber content could help with digestive problems.
Although, brown rice is eventually healthier and more nutritious. Not to address research has highlighted that brown rice is good for diabetes, heart disease, and weight regulation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is rice good for belly fat?
No, rice is not suitable for belly fat.
Can you get fat eating rice?
Rice could cause weight gain if eaten with a less nutritious diet, but it could aid in weight management if taken as part of a well-balanced diet.
Is rice good for belly fat loss?
No, rice is not suitable for belly fat loss.
Is white rice good for losing belly fat?
White rice seems to be neither detrimental nor favorable for weight loss.
What is the best time to eat rice?
Lunchtime is the best time to eat rice.