Is Rice & Chicken Good for Weight Loss? (Avoid This Mistake)

Weight Loss & Diets | Written by Nathan | Updated on 24 January 2022

Many gym-goers wonder if rice and chicken is a good meal for dieting and the truth is yes, but there’s different types of rice, cuts of the chicken, and even ways to prepare them to make chicken in rice ideal for dieting. 

Due to the healthy carbs and lean protein it truly seems like the ultimate meal, but having too much of a good thing is possible as well. Nonetheless, let’s review what makes chicken and rice a good choice for weight loss and the best types to eat for best results.

Why Chicken is Good for Weight Loss

Fortunately for those following a chicken and rice diet, chicken is packed protein and can help you curb hunger, build muscle, tone up, and lose weight. Numerous studies have shown that eating a high protein diet can help those lose weight – and chicken can do just that [1]. 

Curbs Appetite

One of the main benefits of eating chicken is to help curb your appetite. If you eat a high-carb or high-fat diet, you may find that your appetite is rarely reduced – hunger pangs only 30 minutes after you eat a meal means that you are not eating the required protein intake to keep you full.

Eating a low-fat protein source is one of the best ways to obtain a “full” feeling, leaving you more satisfied and reducing snacking in between meals. Those who eat a high protein diet have sustained reduction in appetite and body weight, helping with your weight loss journey [2]. 

Increases Muscle

Building muscle and toning your body can help you have a better aesthetic and achieve the body of your dreams. Building muscle may make you weigh more, but it helps you build a more aesthetic body type with less fat. Eating chicken and other protein sources helps you build muscle, lean down, and prevent losing muscle mass while dieting [3]. 

Bone Health

Eating a high protein diet filled with low-fat chicken is a beneficial way to keep your bones healthy as you age. As women and men age, osteoporosis and other bone density issues can wreak havoc on their mobility and quality of life. Dietary protein (i.e. chicken) is an essential nutrient for bone health [4]. 

Vitamins and Minerals in Chicken

Since eating a protein-rich diet is a great way to build muscle, curb hunger, lose weight, and build bone health, those who eat a diet high in chicken can benefit from the protein, vitamins, and minerals in chicken. Chicken is packed with helpful vitamins that’ll have important roles in our body, such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12, tryptophan, choline, zinc, copper, and iron. 

  • Vitamin B6 – This vitamin is essential to boosting our immune systems and protecting against harmful infections. 
  • Vitamin B12 – This nutrient is essential for healthy brain functioning and the development of our brains, nerves, and cells. 
  • Tryptophan – Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that controls your brain chemicals, mood, and sleep. 
  • Choline – This essential nutrient boosts your metabolism and fosters healthy brain development. 
  • Zinc – Zinc is an important nutrient that boosts our immune system against infection and increases our metabolic properties. 
  • Copper – Copper is an essential nutrient that helps promote bone health, immune function, and cardiovascular health.
  • Iron – Iron is a vital nutrient that helps with gastrointestinal processes, body temperature regulation, and focus. 

Although chicken is a must-have due to its protein content, vitamins, and minerals, eating too much chicken/protein can be just as harmful as it is helpful. When calculating your daily vitamin, nutrient, and macronutrient intake, make sure you follow US government and FDA guidelines to avoid overconsumption of protein. 

Athletes and dedicated gym rats interested in building their aesthetic appeal may consume as much as 1-2g of protein per pound every day. However, limiting your protein intake within normal levels is key to avoiding unwanted weight gain, constipation, kidney damage, and dehydration

Along With choosing the right amount of protein for your body weight and exercise plan, individuals also need to learn how to healthily select, prepare, and cook chicken and rice meals. 

Which is Better, Chicken Breast or Dark Meat?

A rotisserie chicken with both white meat or chicken breast and dark meat or chicken legs.

If you are eating chicken to tone your body and lose weight, consider choosing white meat or chicken breast because it has fewer calories and more protein gram-for-gram. Dark meat cuts of the hidden, like the leg and thigh, are typically higher in fat and calories. By choosing the lighter and less-fatty cuts, rice and chicken can be good for weight loss. 

Healthiest Ways to Cook Chicken

Seared meats and those cooked at high temperatures for a long time typically form more heterocyclic amine and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, highlighting how the genotoxicity of heat-processed foods can increase the risk of cancer [5]. Baking chicken or using other low-heat methods are the healthiest ways to prepare chicken and gain health benefits without any side effects. If you love fried chicken, try to limit your serving of this fatty food to 1x per month or less. 

Why Rice is Good for Weight Loss

Eating chicken and rice on a diet works by providing ample amounts of fiber to keep you full and prevent snacking between meals. Fiber, which is found in certain carbohydrates, vegetables, and fruits, can keep you full longer and protect against potential illnesses, like diverticulosis and colon cancer. Eating complex carbohydrates from whole foods, like rice, is a great way to provide energy, burn fat, and regulate your blood sugar. Not to mention, eating foods high in fiber and protein help you get rid of  upper belly fat

Keep your belly from rumbling by eating a mixture of healthy proteins, carbs, and fiber! The recommended daily value of fiber is between 19-38 grams per day [6]. Consider adding high-fiber foods into your diet, like broccoli and green peas. 

Which is Better for Slimming Down, White or Brown Rice?

Are you considering giving up on weight loss? Don’t give up just yet! By learning how to jump start weight loss and build healthy habits you can make the best choices when trying to lose weight. One of the most important nutrition facts to learn for beginners in the healthy-eating world is the differences between white and brown rice. With similarities in flavor, making the healthy switch between white and brown rice can help you burn fat and maintain muscle mass! 

For post-workout meals, white rice typically reigns king. Due to its high glycemic index, white rice gets digested quicker and takes less time to break down. White rice provides post-workout energy and can be considered part of a healthy meal when combined with other foods due to glucose homeostasis [7]. 

For all other occasions, brown rice is the healthiest choice. Research states that eating brown rice at least twice per week instead of white rice can lower your diabetes risk by as much as 16% [8]. Brown rice is lower in glycemic index, contains more fiber, reduces the risk of diabetes, improves cardiovascular health, and helps with weight control. 

If you are trying to incorporate complex carbohydrates from natural food into your diet, avoid making dishes that contain flour/gluten. Flour is a refined carbohydrate that does not contain any additional nutrients, such as fiber and bran. White rice, desserts, pasta, and dough all contain flour. 

Gluten is a nutrient typically found in most carbohydrate-laden foods, such as baked goods, pasta, cereal, chips, crackers, and processed foods. Gluten provides no necessary nutrients that we need to survive, adding empty calories and sugars to your diet. 

Now that we know brown rice is the healthiest choice in almost all meal plan scenarios for your daily life, you need to incorporate this healthy staple into your weekly meal prep. Figuring out when to eat chicken and rice is just as important as the meal itself – although this meal contains fiber, vitamins, and necessary macronutrients, eating chicken and rice every day may not be the optimal choice for consistent weight loss. 

Is Eating Chicken & Rice Everyday Okay?

Since rice and chicken is good for weight loss, is it okay to eat every day? If you are trying to balance your complex carbohydrate, fiber, and protein intake to achieve an optimal diet, then coming up with various meals throughout the day can be exhausting. If you enjoy eating chicken and rice, eating this meal every day can be okay without any negative side effects. 

However, eating this dish for every meal can cause a nutrient imbalance. Even though chicken and rice are fine for dinner almost every night, eating the same foods for every meal can lead to a nutrient imbalance, lack of specific vitamins, and lack of certain nutrients. 

Chicken contains vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, phosphorus, and zinc. Rice contains fiber, vitamins B1 and B6, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and magnesium [9]. Brown rice is also a great source of fiber [10]. However, by process of elimination from the most important vitamins and nutrients, rice and chicken lack vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, sodium, potassium, and iron [11]. Eating a balanced diet with the right balance of vitamins can help you with the process of how to lose 10-15 pounds in one month

Eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is not optimal for a healthy diet. Even if you think you’re eating leafy greens, low-fat proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, chances are you are still going to miss out on some key nutrients that are essential to overall health. 

Chicken and rice is a great meal, but it can be substituted with any type of lean protein and complex carbohydrate. You can substitute low-fat cottage cheese if you are a vegetarian or whole-wheat pasta if you are tired of the rice. If you are a meat-eater, you can substitute beef for the lean chicken and quinoa for the grain. Including variation is the key to adhering to a healthy diet and avoiding monotonous meals.

Conclusion

Eating a balanced diet is the key to being healthy and it’s easy to mistakenly eat the fattiest and tastiest part of the chicken, or skip over which type of rice might be best.

Sure, rice and chicken is good for weight loss, but choosing the right kinds and preparation methods can take you that much further on your weight loss journey. Just be sure to switch things up every now and then for optimal nutrition. 

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References

[1] Westerterp-Plantenga M. S. (2008). Protein intake and energy balance. Regulatory peptides149(1-3), 67–69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.regpep.2007.08.026

[2] Weigle, D. S., Breen, P. A., Matthys, C. C., Callahan, H. S., Meeuws, K. E., Burden, V. R., & Purnell, J. Q. (2005). A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. The American journal of clinical nutrition82(1), 41–48. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn.82.1.41

[3] Mettler, S., Mitchell, N., Tipton, KD. (2010). Increased protein intake reduces lean body mass loss during weight loss in athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42(2), 326-337. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19927027/

[4] Bonjour J. P. (2005). Dietary protein: an essential nutrient for bone health. Journal of the American College of Nutrition24(6 Suppl), 526S–36S. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2005.10719501

[5] Jägerstad, M. & Skog, K. (2005). Genotoxicity of heat-processed foods. Mutation Research, 574(1–2):156–172. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15914214/

[6] Quagliani, D., & Felt-Gunderson, P. (2016). Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap: Communication Strategies From a Food and Fiber Summit. American journal of lifestyle medicine11(1), 80–85. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827615588079

[7] Fukagawa, N. K., & Ziska, L. H. (2019). Rice: Importance for Global Nutrition. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology65(Supplement), S2–S3. https://doi.org/10.3177/jnsv.65.S2

[8] Sun, Q., Spiegelman, D., van Dam, R. M., Holmes, M. D., Malik, V. S., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2010). White rice, brown rice, and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women. Archives of internal medicine170(11), 961–969. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2010.109

[9] The Nutrition Source: Rice. Harvard T.H. Chan. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/rice/

[10] Park, Tae. (2020> Is Rice Good For You? Colorado State University. Retrieved from https://www.chhs.colostate.edu/krnc/monthly-blog/is-rice-good-for-you/

[11] Vitamins and Minerals for Older Adults. (2021). National Institute on Aging. Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/vitamins-and-minerals-older-adults

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.