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Does Brown Rice Help You Lose Fat?

By Pam Murphy ; Updated July 18, 2017

Brown rice makes a tasty side dish and adds texture and nutty flavor to vegetable dishes, soups and casseroles. While its powers are basically limited to taste and nutrition, consuming brown rice is a simply way to incorporate wholesome foods into your diet. If you consume whole grains, such as brown rice, as part of a balanced diet and don't lose fat, your total calorie consumption is the culprit.

Nutrition

Brown rices provides 1.6 g of fiber per 1/2-cup serving, in addition to 2.5 g protein and only 0.9 g of fat. Brown rice has no saturated fat. As part of a balanced, reduced-calorie diet, brown rice can be a healthy feature of your weight-loss strategy. But simply adding brown rice to your diet -- or eating more brown rice than usual -- is not the key to losing body fat.

Burning Body Fat

Regardless of which foods you get your calories from, if you take in more calories than you burn, your body stores those extra calories as fat. Adding one or more servings of brown rice to your diet without reducing your overall caloric intake could cause you to gain fat. To burn 1 lb. of body fat, you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume.

Brown Rice in Your Diet

If you meet a disproportionate number of your calorie needs with grains such as brown rice, you may miss out on important nutrients from other food groups. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults consume four to eight servings of grains daily, based on daily calorie targets ranging from 1,200 to 2,400 calories. Because whole grains are not refined -- and therefore maintain their original nutritive value -- consuming whole grains is the preferable way to meet grain recommendations.

Considerations

While brown rice isn't the key to burning fat, it can help you meet dietary fiber needs as part of a balanced eating plan. If you trim your portion sizes, replace refined grains with whole grains more often, and limit saturated fat and sugar, you may be able to lose weight without counting calories. If not, setting a calorie target of 250 to 500 calories less than your weight-maintenance target may make your efforts more effective. Regular exercise sessions of 30 minutes or more per day also boost your fat-burning potential. Check with your doctor before starting a weight-loss plan if you have a history of heart or diet-related health problems.

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