Last updated on October 4th, 2022 at 06:31 pm
You’re probably wondering, “Can I Eat White Rice While Cutting?”
There are numerous foods you’ll typically have to stop eating when you’re in a cutting phase.
Now, while white rice may be viewed as a bodybuilding staple, you’ll generally hear bad things when it comes to weight loss and fat burning.
This begs the question whether you should completely avoid white rice while you’re trying to lower your body fat levels.
This is what you need to know about cutting and white rice.
Table of Contents
Can I Eat White Rice While Cutting?
You can eat white rice while cutting as long as it fits it with your daily calorie and macronutrient goals. However, you can eat white rice more often if you treat it as a side dish rather than the main part of your meal. White rice is considered a high GI food, which means it will spike blood sugar levels. This in turn increases insulin production, which is the hormone most associated with fat storage. With that being said, if you consume white rice with plenty of protein and vegetables it won’t have such an impact.
1. The Most IMPORTANT Cutting Factor
When it comes to cutting (or bulking for that matter) the number one factor that you must adhere to is the calories you’re consuming.
Basically, if you’re consuming fewer calories than you’re burning then you’ll lose weight.
However, fat loss is typically more your aim than weight loss during a cutting phase.
Therefore, it is equally important to be eating at a calorie deficit while consuming the correct split of macronutrients.
As long as you’re doing this you can pretty much eat what you like.
So yes, you definitely can eat white rice while you’re cutting.
Now, this is the most basic view of fat loss during a cutting phase.
In effect, you could eat junk food for every meal, once again, as long as you stick to the right number of calories and macronutrients.
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With that being said, you’ll generally find that junk food is high in carbohydrates and saturated fat.
So, even if you do somehow manage to eat the perfect number of calories and macronutrients you’re likely to feel devoid of any energy.
Furthermore, you’re probably not doing your vital organs much good.
Okay, let’s look at an example.
Let’s say that you’re looking to consume 2,000 calories per day with a macro split of 40/30/30 protein/carbs/fats.
This would mean that you can consume:
- Protein 800 calories or 200g
- Carbs 600 calories or 150g
- Fats 600 calories or 67g
A serving of white rice is approximately 200g and contains 56g of carbs.
So, in effect, you could eat white rice three times a day (approximately) on the above split, as long as you didn’t eat any other carbs.
This still fits in with your daily calories and macronutrient split.
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2. Control Your White Rice Portions
Okay, even though in the above example I’ve explained that you could in effect eat a “portion” of white rice 3 times a day, it’s not that simple.
Realistically, you will be consuming carbs at other times of the day anyway and this would literally eat into your 150g carb daily target.
Oh, by the way, I have only used 150g as an example, and you should calculate your macro split for yourself.
I would hazard a guess that 150g would be quite low for most people to fuel their workouts unless they were using fats for energy, e.g. keto.
Anyway, back to the point, you’re going to be consuming carbs during other meals.
In fact, even if you choose healthy meal options, such as fruits and vegetables, these all typically contain carbohydrates.
Therefore, you won’t be able to actually eat 3 portions of rice a day, but more likely just one.
This is why I personally like to treat rice as a side dish, as opposed to the main part of my meal.
I will generally add my protein source to the plate first, and this will hopefully take up nearly one-half of the plate.
I would then add two “side-servings”, one of carbs and one of vegetables.
So, rather than a 200g portion of white rice it’ll be nearer to around 70g.
This still allows me to enjoy a carb like white rice while I’m cutting, but without the worry that I’m going to go over my daily calories or macros.
3. Is GI Really That Important?
One of the main issues with white rice is that it’s a refined grain.
This will mean that it has a high glycemic index (GI).
GI is basically carbohydrates rated on a scale of 1-100.
The higher they are on the scale, the more they’re likely to elevate blood sugar levels.
This is much the same as other “white” refined carbs, e.g. bread, potatoes, pasta, etc.
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The main problem when it comes to white rice and other high GI foods is that they are easily digested and absorbed.
This in turn leads to spikes in your blood sugar levels.
A knock-on effect on this is elevated insulin levels.
Insulin helps to transport this sugar from the bloodstream to the body’s cells.
However, insulin is the hormone most commonly associated with fat storage, especially when you have increased levels of insulin in the body.
And it is for this reason that it is typically recommended that you try to avoid white rice (and other “white carbs”) when you’re trying to lose weight or lower your body fat levels.
With that being said, the GI of food is calculated if you were to consume that food on its own on a fasted state.
So, it’s highly unlikely that you would eat white rice without any accompaniments, first thing in the morning straight after getting out of bed.
This is also why it makes sense to fill your plate with protein and veggies, and then just a side-serving of white rice.
The addition of protein and vegetables will mean that it takes longer for white rice to be digested and absorbed.
And this of course can help to control your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Does the Glycemic Index Matter For Bodybuilding & Fat Loss?
4. Enjoy What You Eat
You’ll often hear that you should avoid white rice and stick to the more nutrient-dense varieties.
These include brown, black, wild, and red rice.
Basically, all these other rices have a much higher fibre content than white rice.
Therefore, they are not digested and absorbed as easily, so you won’t see that spike in blood sugar levels.
Fibre also helps to keep you fuller for longer, so you’re less likely to snack.
Furthermore, the high-fibre rice varieties typically have fewer carbs per serving.
So, in effect, you could eat more brown rice without impacting on your calories and macronutrients, plus it will help you to feel fuller.
If we’re looking solely at micronutrients, so in terms of which rice is better for you nutritionally, then there’s no contest.
You should choose brown rice, or the other non-white rices.
With that being said, I personally feel that you should always have a little of what you fancy.
I believe this helps you to stay motivated.
And this is especially true when it comes to a cutting phase.
Let’s face facts, you’ll probably be avoiding many of your favourite foods during a cutting phase.
So, it’s going to be difficult enough without having to lose one more food that you like eating.
Therefore, I see no harm in eating to enjoy yourself during a cut (within reason).
This includes eating white rice.
However, as I first mentioned, just ensure that this fits in with your daily calories and macronutrients, and you’re good to go.
It is absolutely fine to eat white rice while you’re cutting, as long as it fits in with your daily calories and macronutrients.
The best way to achieve this is to treat white rice as a side dish.
Additionally, you don’t have to overly worry about white rice being a high GI food, as you’re likely to eat it with other foods.
This will help to slow down digestion and absorption, so you can avoid spikes in blood sugar levels.
You can of course try other rice varieties, which have far more fibre and nutrients than white rice.
However, as long as you control your portion sizes, there’s no harm in eating white rice regularly while you’re cutting.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.