Rice Intake and Obesity: What is the Link?


Obesity is on the rise and if there is anything that people are worried about consuming in the Western part of the world, it’s rice.

In Western parts of the world, obesity affects 1 in 3 people. In Australia, at least 25% of the population is at risk of obesity.

However, in Asia, it is not the same. One would think that Asian countries, whose staple is rice, have a higher obesity rate. But data shows otherwise.

The Link Between Rice and Obesity

There are many diets which suggest that carbohydrates should be avoided if one wants to lose weight. This means that reducing the cups of rice one consumes in a day will be helpful to avoid obesity and overweight problems.

But research presented in the European Congress on Obesity in 2019 showed that countries that have a higher rice intake are less prone to be obese.

This data astounded a lot of people at the Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts, so they held a research with data from 136 countries.

The studies show that those who consume an average of 150 grams of rice per day have a lower chance of becoming obese as opposed to those who eat less than average.

This study also took into account the smoking rates, calorie consumption, and other factors that affect the obesity rate.

So how is this possible? Rice is rich in fiber. Depending on the kind of rice, the amount of fiber it has also differs. So the more fiber the rice has, the better it can promote weight loss.

Fiber is a plant-based nutrient that helps in improving the digestive system. The more fiber a person has in his or her system, the better their bowel movement is.

But other than fiber, rice aids in lowering the blood glucose level. Because it can naturally ease hunger, your food intake will also decrease. This will help you control your blood sugar levels more easily.

Brown Rice than White Rice

While research shows a promising future for rice in terms of dietary needs, people should still be wary of the kind of rice they consume. As mentioned earlier, the amount of fiber differs depending on the type of rice you eat.

White rice is a staple in a lot of Asian countries. But a closer look at white rice shows that it has fewer fiber and antioxidants compared to brown rice.

This is because white rice no longer has the bran and nutritious germ. These two parts are the ones that contain a lot of fiber and other nutrients. This makes white rice full of carbs and sugar.

On the other hand, brown rice has both the bran and the germ. This makes it the ideal type of rice to be consumed by anyone who wants to maintain their weight.

So, when researchers refer to rice being helpful in weight loss, they are usually referring to brown rice. This is also because white rice’s connection with weight loss and a healthier body has not yet been established.