Diet Tips

The Rice Diet – How It Works, What To Eat, And Benefits

Reviewed By Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and certified Personal Trainer Alexandra Dusenberry, MS, RDN
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
The Rice Diet – How It Works, What To Eat, And Benefits Hyderabd040-395603080 July 23, 2019

Do you have hypertension? Then, try the rice diet! This diet can lower high body fat and high blood pressure. The rice diet may also reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

In 2006, Kitty Gurkin Rosati, MS, RD, LDN, and Dr. Robert Rosati published a highly successful book on this diet – The Rice Diet Solution. What is it about this diet that makes it so widely followed? Read on to find out everything you need to know about this diet that promises to work. Let’s begin!

Table Of Contents

What Is The Rice Diet And How Does It Work?

What Is The Rice Diet And How Does It Work Pinit


The rice diet is a low-calorie, low-sodium diet created by Dr. Walter Kempner in 1939. While working as a professor at the Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, Dr. Kempner created a dietary approach to help his patients lower blood pressure, improve kidney function, and keep a check on obesity.

The reason this diet works for treating people with hypertension or obesity lies in the foods allowed for consumption. It includes foods high in complex carbs, limited dairy, and foods low in sodium.

  • Complex carbs take longer to get digested, thereby reducing hunger.
  • Low-sodium intake prevents the body from storing excess water weight and reduces the pressure on the kidneys.
  • A low-calorie diet (800 calories per day) is allowed initially, which is then increased up to 1200 calories per day.

In a nutshell, low-calorie, low-sodium, and high-fiber foods are the reasons behind the success of the rice diet. Now, let’s check out what foods you should consume and what to avoid.

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Rice Diet Foods List

Rice Diet Foods List Pinit


To Consume

The rice diet is quite restrictive. On this diet, you will be consuming:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Low-salt beans
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein
  • Non-fat dairy

To Avoid

  • Junk food
  • Soda
  • Bottled fruit juices
  • Candies
  • Milk chocolate
  • Frozen food
  • Deep-fried food
  • Ready-to-eat foods
  • Refined flour, refined sugar, and trans fat foods

You will need to dump all the junk food and adopt better eating and lifestyle choices. But, there’s one burning question. White rice or brown rice – what’s allowed in the rice diet? Find out in the next section.

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White Rice Or Brown Rice?

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It depends. If you like having white rice, go for it! And if you choose to consume brown rice, you can do it. Brown rice is considered healthier as it contains more dietary fiber. But you may compensate for that by adding extra veggies to your bowl of white rice.

[ Read : Brown Rice Vs. White Rice ]

Taste-wise, white rice is certainly more palatable. But you might like the chewy texture of brown rice (takes longer to cook and needs to be soaked for at least 20 minutes).

Dr. Kempner had advised consuming white rice as, at that time, white rice was widely consumed.

Now that you know what to eat and avoid, let’s get down to the toughest part – the diet itself. In the following section, I have broken down the diet into three phases. Follow the instructions for each phase, and you will smoothly glide through it. Take a look.

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The Rice Diet Plan

Phase 1 – 800 calories

MealsWhat To Eat
Breakfast (8:00 a.m.)1 medium bowl of oatmeal with banana and chia seeds
Lunch (12:00 p.m.)Rice + stir-fried veggies + baked fish
Snack (3:30 p.m.)300 mL freshly pressed fruit juice
Dinner (6:30 p.m.)Grilled chicken and mushroom rice

Phase 2 – 1000 calories

MealsWhat To Eat
Breakfast (8:00 a.m.)1 toast + ½ avocado + ½ small bowl of homemade ricotta cheese + 1 cup green tea
Lunch (12:00 p.m.)Rice + stir-fried veggies + grilled chicken
Snack (3:30 p.m.)1 cup of mixed fruits
Dinner (6:30 p.m.)Vegetable and fish sushi

Phase 3 – 1200 calories

MealsWhat To Eat
Breakfast (8:00 a.m.)A medium bowl of vegetable quinoa + 1 cup green tea
Lunch (12:00 p.m.)Rice + stir-fried veggies + baked fish or fish curry
Snack (3:30 p.m.)1 cup buttermilk + 10 in-shell pistachios
Dinner (6:30 p.m.)Low-fat chicken and mushroom risotto

It is a tough diet to follow. So, it’s best to follow it for not more than two weeks. The rice diet has undergone modification as the nutritional requirements, food habits, and scientific view on food and nutrition have changed. Here are the new rice diet guidelines laid by Kitty Gurkin Rosati and Dr. Robert Rosati.

Consume (per day):

  • 1000 calories
  • 22 g fat
  • 5.5 g saturated fat
  • 500-1000 mg sodium
  • 0-100 mg cholesterol

Apart from changing your diet, you may do the following to improve your health.

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What Else To Do To Improve Your Health?

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  • You must take care of your sleep pattern. Sleep deprivation is one of the causes of toxin build-up in the body. The harmful free oxygen radicals alter your DNA and cause numerous health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Meditate for at least five minutes a day. Increase the duration as you become more comfortable.
  • Avoid alcohol. You may consume 30 mL of wine once a week.
  • Workout regularly. You will start seeing a change in your mood and energy levels from the very first day you exercise.
  • Drink at least two liters of water per day. You may add citrus fruits, mint leaves, ginger, and cucumber to make your bottle of water more palatable.
  • Eat at regular intervals. Going on a hunger strike will only weaken your bones, muscles, and brain function.

It is clear that, along with diet, you must follow a healthy lifestyle to keep yourself fit and happy. But, for that, you can follow a diet that’s not so restrictive. Try intermittent fasting – it works like magic.

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Who should follow the rice diet? Find out next.

Who Should Follow The Rice Diet?

You may follow this diet if:

  • You have high blood pressure.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You have heart disease.
  • You suffer from chronic renal failure.
  • You have high cholesterol.
  • You are gluten sensitive.

Note: Follow this diet ONLY IF your doctor gives you a green signal.

Before coming to a close, here are the benefits and side effects of the rice diet.

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Benefits Of The Rice Diet

Benefits Of The Rice Diet Pinit


  • May help reduce body fat.
  • May help reduce cholesterol levels.
  • May help lower blood pressure.
  • May improve heart health.
  • May protect from diabetes type II.

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Side Effects Of The Rice Diet

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  • May cause nutritional deficiencies.
  • You may get bored of the diet and feel starved.
  • You may feel irritated.
  • May cause nausea.
  • May lead to weakness.

The rice diet is an effective diet. But, it is also a very, very restrictive diet. Unless you have a health condition that requires you to be on this diet, and no other diet will work, you may follow the rice diet. If you are looking for a weight loss diet, the rice diet might not be the ultimate diet plan. Talk to your doctor today and get expert opinion before you decide to be on this diet.

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Take care!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Can you survive on rice alone?

No, you cannot.

Does eating rice make you gain weight?

No. It is the lack of vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and regular exercise that makes you gain weight.

Is rice a bad carb?

No, rice is complex carb, which takes longer to break down when compared to refined sugar and flour. Include a lot of veggies with rice to balance the glycemic index of the rice.

Does rice help lose belly fat?

There is no scientific evidence that consuming rice will help lose belly fat. Adding 5 different veggies, a source of protein, healthy fats, and a mix of cardio and strength training will surely help you lose belly fat.

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.