Many people wonder if the rice diet is a legitimate weight loss program or just a fad diet. But despite the name, it is not solely about rice. It has been around since the year 1939 and acquired a new level of popularity when “The Rice Diet Solution” was published.
In a nutshell, it is losing weight by slashing calories, fat, sodium, protein, and sugar. The plan says the diet cleanses and detoxifies the body, without making one feel hungry. The diet consists of fruits, vegetables, non-fat dairy products, whole grains, beans, and olive oil along with rice. One may also add some lean meat and seafood to the diet.
The Origin of the Rice Diet
The diet was originally designed by Doctor Walter Kempner of Duke Hospital in 1939. Doctor Kempner joined the Duke University’s Department of Medicine as a researcher. But because of the onset of World War II, he had to work as a doctor and treat injured and sick people. It was during the time of his practice when he discovered the Rice Diet while he was attending to a woman suffering from high blood pressure.
He prescribed a diet that consisted only of fruits and rice. His advice was followed for two months and the woman returned to have a check-up. It was found out that her bodily functions tremendously improved and she achieved remarkable weight loss. Since then, the diet has been used to treat obesity. It was based on Dr. Kempner’s observation that those who eat rice as their main source of food are unlikely to have issues with diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and hypertension.
Different types of diet plans are available these days like the paleo diet or banana diet, but the principle behind the rice diet is the reduction of salt to as low as 500 mg daily to induce loss of water weight. But when the equilibrium of the volume of water in the system is maintained, the appetite is regulated. Thus, the diet provides lasting effects on weight loss.
The 3 Phases of the Rice Diet
- Phase One: Limits dieters to daily intake of only 800-1,000 calories and this should include rice, non-fat dairy food, fruits and vegetables.
- Phase Two: Dieters can add fish to their menu and their caloric intake is 800-1,200 calories every day.
- Phase Three: This is the maintenance plan. Dieters should only have 1,200 calories for their daily intake.
The Pros and Cons
A diet rich in fiber like the Rice diet provides numerous advantages according to Bonnie J. Brehm, PhD, a professor at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. She also added that fiber offers beneficial effects like lowering the risk of heart diseases and blood cholesterol. Food which is rich in fiber is bulkier and makes one feel full for longer.
The Rice Diet is not a fad diet and for a long time, it has great proven results. It also offers many health benefits. In fact, nutrition experts agree that the low-fat, low-salt, and high-fiber principles behind the diet can prevent diabetes and heart disease while improving blood pressure.
On a negative note, the Rice Diet may not provide enough calories for active people. A person might be feeling hungry most of the time. In addition, protein in this diet is restricted to only 16-20 grams, which is not enough, especially when compared to a typical diet with 46-56 grams of protein. This condition may result to muscle loss.
The Rice Diet has promising health benefits, but it also comes with its share of disadvantages. There are various things that should be considered before you decide to put this into practice. It will help a lot if you consult with your doctor and see if this diet will do you more good than harm.
Benjamin Tong blogs about health, fitness and good nutrition at vitaminclass.com – A FISAF qualified fitness instructor and produce business owner for 4 years