Today’s nutrition Q&A comes from reader Ruby: How many calories in cooked rice?
I recently got this question in my inbox, which is a question I ask Google all the time. How many calories are there in a cup of cooked rice? So, I figured I’d get down to the answer once and for all!
The quick calories estimate
- 1/2 cup of cooked rice = 106 calories
- 1 cup of cooked rice = 212 calories
I arrived with these numbers based on cooking my rice and measuring it first raw:
- 1 cup dry, raw white jasmine rice (200g) = 640 calories (according to the label)
- After cooked according to package directions with 1 1/2 cup water, it made 3 cups cooked that weighed 515 grams = and must also total 640 calories
Therefore, when made with 1.5 times rice to water, and portioned into 1/3 and 1/2 cups, which is the way I would normally eat it, the calories for the cooked rice would:
- 1/3 cup cooked = 71 calories and about 15 grams of carbs, with zero fat.
- 1/2 cup cooked = 106 calories and about 22 grams of carbs, with zero fat.
But read on for the exceptions!
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The problem with answering this calorie question is when you are using a tracking tool like MyFitnessPal, you get a variety of answers. So, which MyFitnessPal listing is accurate? I mean, look at my screenshot below to see how confusing it could be.
So, in order to find out for myself, I weighed my rice before and after cooking to get the most accurate calorie count for cooked rice.
The discrepenies in calorie counts for rice are usually because:
- A various amount of water is used to cook the rice
- A various amount of grains are used
- Cooking times vary, causing a different yield in volume.
- and measurements are sometimes in grams, sometimes by volume.
I saw this first hand when I changed the amount of water I used to cook rice from 1.5 times water to rice ratio, to 2 times water to rice ratio.
When I used 2 X water to rice ratio, the same 1 cup of raw, dry white Jasmine rice made 3 1/2 cups cooked rice, rather than 3. So, you can potentially eat a bigger bowl of rice, for the same amount of calories by increasing the water you cook it in. I do this with oatmeal all the time! (see my high volume oatmeal here)
Is Brown Rice Healthier?
If you are looking at calories and macros alone, there isn’t a huge difference between brown rice and white. There is a 2 grams more fiber in 1/4 cup of raw brown rice, as well as some Iron and potassium. Otherwise, they are pretty similar.
Many people ask why my meal plans all have white rice on them. (get my meal plans here). The simple reason is, I think it tastes better, and the nutrient difference isn’t big enough for me to change my preferences. Also, my family prefers white rice, and I don’t like preparing different meals for the family.
Lastly, I actually like the idea that white rice might absorb more quickly than brown. If I’m going on a run or a workout, quick acting carbs give me more energy, and rice is so gentle on the stomach, it’s a great pre-workout food.
Can you eat rice and still lose weight?
YES! I ate rice the entire time I was losing weight, and got lean enough to get on stage in a bikini! You’ll find almost all physique athletes not only keep carbs like rice in their diet while they are losing, but it’s essential for them to perform in the gym and build muscle.
Don’t hesitate to keep rice in your diet during weight loss. Knowing the calories and macros and keeping your portions in check is the most important thing. Hopefully knowing the calories in cooked rice will help you with balanced eating and reaching your health goals!
Do you have any questions about calorie counting? HMU! I’d love to answer them!
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