For many Pinoys, a meal doesn’t feel like a meal without rice. We can’t blame you—we basically grew up eating it, and it’s a cheap way to feel full fast.
Unfortunately, that’s bad news for many weight-loss warriors. Because we tend to consume a lot of it, refined, white rice, with its massive glycemic load, can lead to spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, overeating, and ever-widening waist sizes.
Even Men’s Health’s strength and conditioning columnist Julio Veloso, M.Ex.S.Sc., acknowledges that we eat too much grains—and that’s one reason we find it so hard to lose our belly fat.
Shunning glorious sinaing can net you some weight loss. “Of course it will! Because you will take in less calories,” says nutritionist Luz Callanta, R.N.D., M.S.N.
But many make the mistake of substituting rice with pasta, noodles, or crackers—which aren't exactly better options. “In the end, you eat more calories with pasta, or pancit that comes with sauce, or crackers with some spread,” adds Luz.
Instead of giving up rice altogether, Luz says you should switch to its whole grain varieties. A Korean study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that whole grain varieties of rice (black or brown) are effective with weight control.
After dividing two groups to eat white rice and a mix of black and brown for six weeks, researchers discovered that those who ate the whole grain varieties showed more significant reduction in weight, body fat, and body mass index. They also saw an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol and antioxidant activity levels as well.
Aside from these benefits, brown rice is high in fiber, which easily induces satiation—you won’t consume it by the mountain load like you would white rice. So even if they’re slightly more expensive, you’ll end up feeling full more, and eating less.
You should also try reducing the portion sizes. Half-rice is where it’s at. Susan Kleiner, PhD, one-time nutritionist to Dwyane Wade, points out the “cute cups” that we use to serve rice. “Use only half of that. And don’t go back for seconds!”
This article originally appeared on Menshealth.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.