Is Rice Keto Friendly?
Two questions we hear often – Is rice keto-friendly? Are rice cakes keto?
You are asking whether you can eat rice or rice cakes on a ketogenic diet?
The answer is also no for all colors, lengths, and types of rice like brown, wild, Basmati, and Jasmine.
It is also a definitive no for all processed products like rice flour, cakes, crackers, puffed (or popped), instant, and canned rice.
If you are asking about rice starch it is still no.
The simple answer is that rice is a grain and the carbohydrates are too high!
This goes for white and brown rice and all processed rice products.
The whole idea of following a ketogenic diet is to burn fat for fuel and not sugar or carbs.
So, if you want to stay in ketosis, you will not be able to eat it.
Let's have a look at the total and net carbs and you'll see why...
Total and Net Carbs
Total carbs 44.2 grams of carbohydrates per cup or 22.1 per ½ a cup.
You may be surprised that the fiber component of rice is really low, leaving it with 43,6 grams of net carbs per cup and 21.8 per ½ a cup.
Total carbs 44.2 grams of carbohydrates per cup or 22.1 per ½ a cup.
There is about 3.5 grams of fiber per cup of brown rice leaving it with 40.7 grams of net carbs per cup.
As a general rule, there are fewer carbohydrates in long grain rice than that in the short grain variants.
However, this difference is small.
There is some debate about the exact total and net number of carbs in the various types of rice.
But, from a keto point of view, the answer is simple.
The net carbs are too high!
In conclusion, no matter the type - there is approximately 44 grams of carbohydrates in a cup of rice and less than 10 percent are fiber.
So, a cup has at least 40 grams of net carbs no matter the type or color.
Rice cakes and crackers
When I search for the net carbs of rice crackers, I get varying answers.
This is dependent on the brand, how refined the product is and probably the manufacturing process.
The approximate number of carbs per cake is 8 grams with 1 gram of fiber. (This may still vary depending on the size of the cake.)
If you decide to eat them, always do you own research and add the size and brand name into your own carb tracker to get the most accurate answer.
Based on the various sources that we checked, the net carbs are 12 to 13 grams per cup. This is the total and net number as the fiber is very low.
You can check the net carbs of any product in your favorite carb counter. Or go here to check it with My Fitness Pal.
Glycaemic Index (GI)
Another reason not to eat rice when you follow a keto diet is that the Glycaemic Index (GI) and Glycaemic Load (GL) is high.
In a nutshell this means that rice will raise blood glucose levels.
If you want to know more about GI and GL and the different types of carbohydrates, read our discussion about Keto and Carbs.
The GI is as follows:
- Cooked white rice is above 70
- Cooked brown rice - 68 (Slightly lower than white varieties)
- Rice crackers - Above 80
- Puffed rice - Above 80
Conventional nutrition advice suggests that brown rice is healthier than white rice.
This is because the GI is lower. However even on this scale the GI level is still high.
Processing grains increase the GI, so it makes sense that the GI for puffs and crackers will be higher.
The impact of eating too many carbs is that it will be hard to remain in ketosis.
Additionally, the problem is that no matter which type you want to eat, the GI remains high and is very likely to spike blood sugar and insulin.
This will result in hunger and potentially cause cravings.
Thus, undoing two of the biggest benefits of a ketogenic diet.
- Not always being hungry, and
- Getting rid of cravings.
I only have a small portion or am training for an event and need to carbo load.
If you are following a low carb diet (let’s say about 100 grams of carbs per day) and are not focused on burning fat as fuel, then maybe a small portion can be worked into your daily macro allocation.
Even then you want to focus on natural whole foods that are not highly processed.
If you are training and following a CKD diet and adding higher GI foods into your diet, then yes.
But even then, you may want to experiment and see if training on a stricter keto diet could work for you.
All is not lost if you are looking for a “rice” to enjoy with your curry. Or when you need comfort food. These are our favorite substitutes…
Low Carb Rice Alternatives
The easiest and most popular alternative is cauliflower rice.
I get that it is an acquired taste. But it is a real option if you crave carbs or miss your traditional favorite meals like curry and rice.
It has about 5 total grams of carbohydrates per raw cup of cauliflower and 2 grams of that is fiber. So only 3 net carbs per raw cup!
Add to this a GI of less than 15 and you can understand why cauliflower is so popular on the keto diet.
You can make it yourself or buy it frozen.
I always have a pack of frozen cauli rice in the fridge, especially for those days that I really need a "carby snack" or a light cauliflower stir fry lunch that feels like a higher carb meal than what it really is.
Another option I like is -
You may be more familiar with the konjac noodles.
It is the same thing. They make rice, noodles, lasagna and any type of pasta you could want.
It is made from the konjac yam and are composed of water and glucomannan a water-soluble watery fiber.
It has zero net carbs as all the carbs are derived from fiber.
If you are asking what is the lowest carb rice, then this is it.
One of the things I like about these substitutes is that they are quick to prepare. You can prepare a meal within minutes.
In conclusion to the question - Is rice keto?
The answer is no.
I am sorry to say but when it comes to rice there is no maybe rice is okay. It just is not!
Even if you eat a tiny portion it will be tough to keep the portion small enough to work it into a ketogenic diet.
Similarly, with the question:
Are rice cakes okay on keto?
No, it is not keto-friendly. You may be able to work a single portion into a low carb diet, or a cyclical keto diet but unfortunately not into a ketogenic diet.
And if you are asking about puffed rice, it is just the same thing as rice cakes. It is a processed grain with a high carb count and a high GI. It may be low in calories, but it really is low in "everything" except carbohydrates.
You may wonder why rice cakes are held to be a health food. It is probably because it has no fat. But it is a highly processed grain product that is high in carbs. These are the foods that leave you hungry within an hour of having had breakfast.
It is almost the exact opposite of what constitute healthy snack food for a ketoer.
Keto Stamp of Approval?
Rice is not keto approved.
However, both cauliflower and konjac rice are and are great replacements for starchy side dishes.
We Need Your Help
We'd love to hear from you.
If you have questions about whether you can eat your favorite food on keto or not, leave us a comment.
We are working on answering as many of these questions as possible and want to address your most urgent questions first.
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