A bowl of rice could help battle the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and even reduce the risk of weight-related diseases, according to Dr. Walter Kempner, former Duke University medical researcher. Kempner developed the Rice Diet in 1939 as a way to successfully target high blood pressure, and weight and kidney problems, according to the Rice Diet Program. Through the former Rice Diet Program Center in Durham, N.C., dieters checked into the facilities for an intensive two- to four-week program that strictly focused on battling obesity and obesity-related diseases.
According to Kitty Rosati and Robert Rosati, authors of the book The Rice Diet Solution, the Rice Diet is a “low-sodium, good-carb, detox diet” that can help dieters lose 20 lbs. in one month in the comfort of their own home.
Basic Menu Guidelines
The Rice diet is divided into three phases. All focus heavily on starches, nonfat dairy products, fruits and vegetables. Your daily menus won’t contain anything other than these components in phase one, which lasts one week. In phases two and three, you’ll be allowed one day a week of fish, eggs or lean meat along with the diet’s basic foods. Phase two lasts as long as it takes for you to reach your weight-loss goal. Phase three, also called maintenance, is intended to be your dietary plan for the rest of your life. In all phases, you’re required to prepare and consume your meals with no added salt or fat.
Menus for Phase 1
During your week in phase one of the Rice diet, you’ll eat only grains and fruit on one day, then vegetables, whole grains and nonfat dairy for the other six days. On day one, your menu could start with a breakfast of 1 cup of oatmeal cooked with 2 tablespoons of raisins paired with an apple. Lunch could be 1/3 cup each of cooked rice and beans along with a banana, while dinner might consist of two whole-grain rolls, an apple and three prunes. Day two could feature 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa, 1 cup of soy or nonfat milk and 1 cup of chopped melon or strawberries for one of your meals.
Menus for Phase 2
Phase 2 of the Rice diet divides your weekly eating into three parts: one day on the basic diet, five days on a lacto-vegetarian version of the plan and one day on the regular diet that includes the optional addition of fish. Your basic diet’s menu is the same as phase 1 — two servings of grains and two servings of fruit. The next five days of the diet might feature a meal of cereal with milk, toast spread with sugar-free fruit preserves and fresh fruit. On the one day you’re allowed meat, dinner could consist of fish like flounder, corn, potatoes, bok choy, a salad with oil and vinegar dressing, and fresh fruit.
Menus for Phase 3
The phase 3 guidelines resemble those of phase 2 — one day on the basic grains and fruits diet, four on the lacto-vegetarian diet and two that allow proteins like lean meat, poultry or seafood for one meal a day. Dinner during phase 3 of the Rice diet might include brown rice, an apple and a cup of grapes or 2/3 cup of cooked rice, one whole-grain roll, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 2 cups of cooked vegetables, 3 ounces of salmon and 1 cup of fresh berries like blueberries for dessert, depending on what part of the diet you’re on.
Following The Rice Diet Solution will definitely result in weight loss due to the very low calories allowed, but it may also take away some of the pleasure of eating, with all the strict rules and limited food choices.
The Rice Diet: Pros and Cons
A diet that is high in fiber like the Rice Diet does have advantages, says dietitian Bonnie J. Brehm, PhD, professor in the college of nursing at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio. “Fiber has many beneficial effects such as lowering blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for intestinal health and regular bowel function. Foods that are high in fiber are bulkier and make you feel full. So when dieting, high-fiber foods can help you lose weight,” says Brehm.
Here are other pros for the Rice Diet:
- A proven plan. The Rice Diet Program is not a fad diet. It has been around for a long time and is based on proven results achieved at Duke University.
- Health benefits. Nutrition experts agree that low-salt, low-fat, and high-fiber principles on which the Rice Diet are based can improve blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
- A complete program. The Rice Diet Program includes exercise and basic education about nutrition that you will need to maintain weight loss.
How to Cook Your Rice
Some people find it tricky and time consuming to cook rice. And since you will need to eat rice every day during your rice fast or 7 day plan, it will be easier if you cook your rice in advance. For every cup of uncooked rice use 2 cups of water. Leave it soaking overnight, do not refrigerate. After that rinse, add a little more water and cook until tender.