Rice is one of the most abundant foods in the world and is a staple in many dishes around the world, for good reason. It’s versatile, economical and provides a great way to create variety and volume in your meals. But, it’s also a high carb food.
Several kinds of rice are readily available at your local grocery store, and they aren’t all made equal. All rice is a grain, and although whole grains such as in brown rice have health benefits, they won’t help your body reach or maintain a state of ketosis.
Most types of rice hover around 45 grams of carbohydrates per cup. Some types, such as white rice, are classified as a refined carbohydrate. The carbs in white rice are considered “bad carbs” because the grains are processed, removing most of their dietary fiber and nutritious components, and should be avoided.
Brown rice is considered one of the most nutritious whole grains, but it’s not a good idea if you want to reach your goals on a ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is based on consuming low carb foods and keeping your net carbs low, so eating rice should be the exception rather than the rule.
The Benefits of Rice
While the carbs in rice are higher than recommended for a ketogenic diet, rice does have some notable health benefits, including:
- High manganese levels
- High magnesium levels
- Improves cholesterol levels
- Reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes
The Health Benefits of Manganese
Brown rice contains over 85 percent of the recommended daily amount of manganese. Manganese plays a key role in many functions such as antioxidant and enzyme function, which helps metabolize the food you eat. It also aids in improving cognitive function, reducing the risk factors and symptoms of diabetes and can help encourage weight loss.
Manganese plays a vital role in the health of your bones, liver, pancreas and kidneys. Since the enzymes in manganese help your body form healthy connective tissue, it assists in building strong bones. This mineral also regulates blood-clotting factors and can reduce the effects of premenstrual syndrome.
Why Magnesium Matters
Magnesium is required for your body to produce energy. It is a mineral found naturally in many foods such as green leafy vegetables, fiber-rich foods and whole grains, such as those found in brown rice.
Magnesium improves nerve function and helps regulate your blood glucose levels. It aids in protein synthesis, bone and muscle development and maintaining healthy blood pressure. Proper magnesium levels can help optimize your sleep cycle, reduce insomnia and anxiety, aid in digestion and regulate your calcium, potassium and sodium levels.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels
The fiber and bran found in some types of rice can help lower your cholesterol levels. Having a healthy cholesterol level can help lower the risk of heart disease. Whole grain rice includes fiber-rich bran — the outer layer of the grain, which is removed in refined grains.
For example, the fiber in brown rice lowers cholesterol levels by attaching to waste in your digestive tract and removing it from your body. Research indicates that fiber can also help prevent small blood clots, reducing risk factors for heart attack or stroke[*].
Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes
Whole grain rice boasts a much lower glycemic index than refined grains. The glycemic index is a measure of any particular food’s potential to raise your blood glucose levels.
Generally, the lower total carbohydrate level in a food, the lower the food’s glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index help to prevent spikes in your blood sugar. Maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels is key to diabetes prevention.
Can I Have Any Rice on a Low Carb Diet?
Your best bet is to stay away from rice for at least the first few weeks of the ketogenic diet.
If you are starting a ketogenic diet and are trying to achieve ketosis, you’ll want to avoid rice. Unlike other diets, getting into ketosis alters your metabolism. When you eat high carb foods, you can get kicked out of ketosis and your body will struggle to find a fuel source.
The high amount of carbs in rice can cause your insulin levels to spike, disrupting the progress you’ve made towards reaching ketosis. If you have too many carbs, your body will resort back to using carbohydrates for energy. When you’re in ketosis, your body burns fat by using your fat stores for energy. Carbohydrate stores in your body prevent this from happening.
Some people who have been following a ketogenic diet for some time adopt a cyclical keto diet (CKD). The CKD diet can help athletes such as bodybuilders reach intense athletic goals. If you find you need more carbs to stick to your diet, brown rice is allowed on carb loading days.
Consider Low Carb Alternatives to Rice
While whole grain rice is a healthy food, you should avoid it for the most part on a low carb, ketogenic diet. Rice is only an acceptable addition to your diet if you:
- Are following the cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD).
- Have had no carbs for the day. You can have up to 1/2 cup of brown rice (about 22.5 grams of carbs).
There are plenty of keto-friendly, delicious alternatives to rice! Stay on track and reach your weight loss and health goals with low carb rice replacements.
Try incorporating cauliflower rice, miracle rice, butternut squash rice or cabbage rice into your diet. They have far fewer calories than rice. In fact, miracle rice has zero calories.
Try a few of Perfect Keto’s favorite recipes:
- Crispy Skin Salmon with Pesto Cauliflower Rice
- Shrimp Stir Fry with Baked Cauliflower Rice
- Spicy Tuna Keto Sushi Roll
Need more ideas for keto recipes? Eat fewer carbs and follow a meal plan to set yourself up for success. Visit Perfect Keto online to download our keto recipe book, browse our extensive recipe library and shop for products for your body needs on a ketogenic diet.