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Is White Rice Bad for Cutting? Common Diet Myth Explained

Is white rice bad for cutting? White rice is not a bad food choice for cutting, although it is a processed option with a lower nutrient value than brown rice it still has a good nutrient value when compared with other processed carbohydrate options and is a versatile cooking option that opens up more meal choices when cutting.

When it comes to cutting you need to be quite meticulous about the food sources that you consume. This is however, not because there are foods that are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when it comes to a cut, labeling food like this will just cause a negative psychological association with food, but more so because food choices these days can have a higher macro content than what you might think.

The main aim of a cut is to eat in a caloric deficit, a key factor when it comes to controlling your calorie intake is to keep on top of your carbohydrate intake as this is what more often than not what causes people to accidentally over consume.

Tracking your macros is one thing however you also need to be aware of the way in which your body digests, processes and utilizes carbohydrates as this will be a key factor for the foods that you consume on a cut. 

I’ll cover that in a bit more detail later on but for now the focus is on specifically white rice. 

What is White Rice

Is white rice bad for cutting

White rice is a refined/processed grain that has had the hull, bran and germ removed, brown rice on the other hand is often considered the healthier option as it is less processed and has only had the hull removed.

Your carbohydrate intake is a major consideration on a cut and should be tracked rigorously, one reason for this is insulin spikes. Insulin is your blood sugar levels and is triggered through the consumption or mostly carbohydrates. 

Triggering insulin spikes around a workout means that your body will utilize the carbs for fuel and nutrient uptake in the muscle groups, outside of training however and depending on how sensitive you are to insulin this spike could instead be stored as body fat. 

It’s important to know this because different forms of carbs are absorbed at different rates and therefore impact blood sugar levels and insulin spikes differently. On a cut you want to keep spikes as low as possible. 

A key differentiator here is that with the hull, bran and germ removed from white rice the fiber content is significantly lower as a result. This means that it will be broken down in the stomach much quicker and shuttled into the bloodstream quicker, either to be used as fuel for a workout and stored as glycogen in the muscles or in the worst scenario stored as body fat.

White rice as a result has quite a high glycemic index (GI) score of 72. The glycemic index of carbohydrates is a measure of how quickly the carb is broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream.

The higher the glycemic index score the quicker the carb is absorbed. High and low GI scores are neither good nor bad, it all depends on the purpose of consumption.

Consuming high GI sources around a workout is generally good for physique development as you are more likely to absorb and utilise the carbohydrates as muscle glycogen. Low GI carbs are generally good when cutting as they take longer to digest and therefore result in less insulin spikes.

Is White Rice Bad for Cutting

Now that you have a basic understanding of the glycemic index and how carbohydrates are absorbed and utilized by the body you can then consider whether white rice is bad for cutting. 

It first needs to be noted that some people just have better genetics when it comes to building muscle or burning fat and this is down to the way they partition nutrients. Some can consume a high number of carbohydrates and have it utilized by the muscle when bulking or primarily for burning fat when cutting. 

This is just something you need to accept, not everyone is blessed with the ability to consume what they want and to have the desired effect that goes with it. For most you will need to find a balance and make some sacrifices. 

With a knowledge base to work from however it’s easier to utilize carbs the way you want without having to sacrifice too much.

The key points for white rice that you need to know when cutting are:

  • Low source of fiber meaning they are digested quicker and you will feel hungry sooner
  • Quicker digestion means it’s a high GI food source and will therefore create insulin spikes

These are the only two points that you need to be aware of when considering whether white rice is bad for cutting.

The easy answer is that as long as you are in a calorie deficit and have a high energy expenditure you will burn body fat, this is a law of thermodynamics that can’t possibly be argued. 

The more difficult answer is that white rice is not an optimal food source to have as a staple in your diet when cutting, it’s not bad on a cut by any means and if you like white rice then by all means consume it on a cut as you will still see progress but just be aware that it will make the cut slightly more difficulty.

The main reason for this is that the further into a cut that you go the more fiber you will want in order to slow down the rate of digestion. A calorie deficit means that at some point you will have periods of having an empty stomach and therefore hunger pangs. 

The easiest way to combat this is through a full stomach, consuming high fiber foods and in particular leafy green vegetables is one way to keep the calorie consumption low in terms of quantity of calories whilst keeping the volume of food high. 

This is a timeless dieting hack to make a cut more bearable. 

White rice on the other hand has a low fiber content and is therefore quickly digested and absorbed by the body. This means it’s in your stomach for less time and will increase the chances of hunger pangs throughout the day. 

From this viewpoint it’s not an ideal food choice to have on a cut but one way to combat this is of course to consume it with a high protein meal that also has plenty of fiber rich vegetables. Consuming white rice like this will slow the digestive period down slightly. 

The other is of course how rapidly white rice is absorbed into the bloodstream. The more rapid the blood sugar spikes the more this will affect mood and fat storage. I think I’ve covered this enough earlier but if you do want to consume white rice on a cut then look to do so around a workout when the chances of it being converted to muscle glycogen are much higher. 

White Rice vs Brown Rice

There are of course other types of rice that you can substitute for white rice when on a cut. Just to be clear white rice is not a bad choice when it comes to cutting however there might be those of you that want a more optimal carb source. 

This is where different types of rice should be considered. Rice is a versatile food option and you don’t need to stick to just white rice, a good alternative when on a cut is of course brown rice. 

Brown rice is higher in fiber and will take longer for the body to break down and digest which is ideal when on a cut. According to Healthline brown rice has the following nutrition facts:

Per serving (100g)

  • Calories – 111kcal
  • Carbs – 23g
  • Fiber – 1.8g 

White rice in comparison has the following nutrition facts per 100g

  • Calories – 123kcal
  • Carbs – 30g
  • Fiber – 0.9g

As you can see not only is white rice higher in calories and carbs per 100g but is lower in fiber as well. Now don’t misinterpret this to mean that brown rice is ‘healthier’, just consider that for the purpose of a cut it might be a better choice. 

As far as the white rice is bad for cutting myth goes, hopefully I’ve demonstrated that white rice is not bad for cutting. Labeling food as good or bad is only going to give you a negative psychological association with food.

Cutting is both hard mentally and physically at times so feeling like you’ve cheated by consuming white rice is something that you could do without having to worry about. 

It’s clear that white rice is not bad for cutting, it all comes down to how you choose to consume it and what the rest of your diet looks like with this included. All I will say is that it’s not optimal, I’m a big fan of optimal but even more so adherence. 

Therefore If you prefer white rice on a cut then it will not destroy your progress, if you need further advice on the cutting process then check out my article on it here

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