The Rice Diet: Is It Safe, Effective, And Good for You?

The Rice Diet is once again in the news and touted as being safe and effective. Is it really safe? What exactly is the rice diet?

rice diet


The Rice Diet Promise

The Rice Diet was developed and introduced in 1939. It got its start as an inpatient way for clinics to help treat diabetes and hypertension. Despite its name, this diet is not only about rice. It became extremely popular when The Rice Diet Solution was first published.

You lose weight by cutting calories, sodium, fat, sugar, and protein. Moreover, the diet promises to “detox” you by limiting salt and sodium. As far as actual weight loss, the diet makes no promises, but during the first month, women lose 20 pounds and men lose 30 pounds, according to the book.

In addition to weight loss, the diet requires that you exercise, keep a food journal, and meditate daily to achieve balance and manage stress. Indeed, the goal is to improve your physical, emotional, and spiritual well being.

What Can You Eat

You can eat  fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-salt beans, and  lean protein. In addition, you can supplement with some starch and nonfat dairy.  This diet has three phases, with the first phase starting at 800 calories and thereafter increasing to 1200 calories per day by phase three.

You can not drink alcohol, ever.

Diet Effort Level

The Rice Diet effort level is very high and requires lots of will power. You’re going to cut way down on calories, salt, fat, and sugar, all at once and from the beginning.

Portion sizes are kept small. The high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains will fill you up.

A big fail of this diet is that you do not get enough calcium and Vitamin D.   You will have to take vitamin supplements.  Most important, the diet provides much less protein than you actually need. Therefore, if you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before starting this diet.

Cooking and shopping

If you love to cook and spend lots of time in the kitchen, this diet is for you. Recipes do take time to cook and prep. The recommended foods aren’t costly and are available at any grocery store.

Packaged foods or meals

No. Absolutely no! You cook everything that you eat.

In-person meetings

No. You are on your own.


A must to do. Very recommended.

Any Dietary Restrictions?

Vegetarians and vegans

The Rice Diet could work for you, since beans and eggs are acceptable sources of lean protein. If you’re vegan, you can substitute soy-based products for dairy.


Rice doesn’t have gluten in it, so you’re fine there. But gluten is in many products that you might not know it’s in, so if you’re going gluten-free, you’ll need to read food labels very carefully.

Low-salt diet

Mandatory on this diet plan.

Low-fat diet

This plan is low-fat, since all the dairy is low- or no-fat, and all the protein is super-lean.



The Rice Diet is a very restrictive diet and demands considerable will power and effort to maintain long-term weight loss. Moreover, you will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen preparing these foods. In addition, this diet is dangerously low on calcium and Vitamin D, so you will need to take daily supplements.

Good Luck.