Will Eating Rice Make You Fat? It Depends.

Becoming fat or overweight is more an equation balanced by calories intake and calories expended, and one food group alone cannot increase a person’s weight.

This is one of the most common health based questions you will come across in India, where rice is a crucial part of a staple diet in many states, both in North India as well as South India.

Fact is; eating rice alone cannot make anyone fat.

However, rice is a high carbohydrate food group, that does have unique effects on glucose and insulin levels and that could be a person to gain weight.

Let us take a more detailed look in to the matter.

Glucose And Insulin

The Glycemic index of food explains how a certain food group will affect your blood glucose levels. The higher the glycemic index, the higher is the increase in blood glucose levels and the harder your pancreas need to work to generate enough insulin to regulate these blood glucose levels.

The glycemic index of white rice is moderately high, standing at 64.

This means that eating a large portion of white rice that has been cooked by soaking up the starch water will cause a sudden spike in blood glucose levels.

Foods are rated on the glycemic index within 0 to 100, and foods that are below 55 are termed as low glycemic index foods, those between 56 to 69 as moderately high and those between 70 and 100 as high glycemic index foods.

If you want to continue to eat rice and not put all that stress son your pancreas because you are pre-diabetic or diabetes runs in your family, switch to brown rice. It falls under the category of low glycemic index foods because it stands at 55.


White rice is high in calories. Every 100 grams offers 361 calories, which is far higher than the number you see in other carbohydrate sources like wheat, barley and oats.

Considering that each meal contains a reasonable size portion of rice, a person can consume about 800 calories every day just from eating rice in both the meal, and this is just the calories coming from the carbohydrate.

Add the dals, vegetable and chicken gravies to accompany the rice and your calorie intake can easily cross over the healthy margin.


Though rice is one of the most common carbohydrates eaten in India, it is very poor in nutrients and fiber. This makes rice less nutritious as compared to wheat, the other most common source of carbohydrate used in India.

Again, if you want to add some fiber to your meals to improve digestion, promote weight loss and gain more overall nutrition, brown rice is a much better option because it not only contains a high amount of fiber, but is also rich in nutrients like calcium, protein, thiamin and niacin.

What Do Studies Reveal?

Researchers at Harvard University did a study that reveals that reducing rice intake can make a real difference for those who have Diabetes or even Pre-Diabetes.

Each small serving of white rice can increase your risk to diabetes Type 2 by 10%. And while that means you can eat rice safely in moderate quantities if you are not prone to Diabetes, for people who are overweight the risk factor is quite high.

So, in conclusion, eating rice in moderate quantities cannot make you fat all by itself. However, if you are weight conscious, for the sake of your waistline and your health, switch to brown rice today.


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