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Is Rice A Protein Or Carb?

Is Rice A Protein Or Carb? - Healthy Grains Guide

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Don’t you just love rice? This food is considered a staple food that is used to make a wide assortment of meals. This reliable food is sure to fill you up and provide sufficient energy.

This cereal has been eaten across the globe for centuries. Not to mention, there are lots of different types of rice, such as white, brown, black, and even red rice. Therefore, it’s no wonder that this food is so popular.

But one of the largest questions that surround rice is whether it’s classified as a protein or carbohydrate. Which of these food groups does rice fit into?

Technically, rice is both, but it is more often considered a carbohydrate. Continue reading to find out the reasoning behind this categorization!

What Is A Protein?

Proteins are a type of molecule that is made of amino acids. This molecule is found throughout your body, such as in your skin.

You must eat enough protein, particularly if you want to increase your muscle mass and develop lean muscles. Not to mention, protein consumption will increase your energy.

Protein is one of the less significant food groups. This is because it is not as important to your diet as fruits and vegetables or carbohydrates.

Yet, it’s still essential for people to get the recommended amount of protein in their diet.

Foods within the protein food group include poultry, meat, fish, lentils, eggs, beans, seeds, nuts, and peas. These foods are all good sources of protein.

So if you want to increase your protein intake, you should add these foods to your diet.

Is Rice A Protein Or Carb - Healthy Grains Guide

What Is A Carbohydrate?

Carbohydrates are a form of macronutrient found in an assortment of dishes.

These carbohydrates are the main fuel for your body. So if you don’t get enough carbohydrates in your diet, you might lack the energy to go about your daily life.

When your food is digested, the starches and sugars found in carbohydrates will be broken down into simple sugar. Thus, your body will have more energy.

Foods that are high in carbohydrates include potatoes, bread, cereals, couscous, and pasta.

Ideally, you should opt for whole-grain versions of these foods if you wish to improve their nutritional value. As you can see, these foods are usually staples.

Aside from fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates are the largest food group.

As a result, this should fill a substantial portion of your diet. In particular, these carbs will give your kidneys and brain enough fuel.

Is Rice A Protein Or Carb?

Rice is considered a carbohydrate. It simply fits this food group better than if it was considered a protein.

Like other foods in this food group, such as cereals and bread, it is high in carbs. Plus, it contains plenty of starch, which will be converted into energy.

The exact amount of carbs in a portion of rice will differ depending on what type of rice you are eating. But generally, all varieties of rice are high in carbs.

In particular, white rice and brown rice are high in carbs. If you want to limit the number of carbohydrates that you are eating, you may need to search for some rice alternatives.

Each type of rice will contain a different type of starch. For instance, basmati rice contains amylose.

Part of the reason why people wrongly assume that rice is a protein is that the food is quite high in protein.

Though rice does contain some protein, it is nowhere near as rich in this molecule as other sources, such as meat or beans.

For instance, a cup of white rice contains around 4.3 grams of protein. To put things in perspective, the same amount of white rice tends to contain between 44 and 50 grams of carbs.

As you can see, this is more than ten times the amount of protein.

Hence, rice is best suited to the carbohydrate food group, alongside potatoes and pasta. After all, these foods often form the basis of a meal.

So if you want to increase your protein intake, your best option may be to opt for foods in the protein food group.

What Is The Nutritional Value Of Rice?

Is Rice A Protein Or Carb - Healthy Grains Guide

As established, rice is a sensational source of both carbs and protein. But rice also contains other important nutrients that will contribute to your overall health.

So let’s dive into some of these nutritional benefits:


Like most carbohydrates, rice is an excellent source of fiber. Fiber is essential for gut health and will aid with digestion. Thus, you should be able to maintain a healthy bowel system.

Brown rice is especially rich in fiber. So if you wish to increase the amount of fiber in your diet, brown rice is an outstanding option.

In fact, whole-grain versions of carbohydrates tend to be especially superb sources of fiber.

A cup of brown rice tends to hold between 1 and 3 grams of fiber. In contrast, white rice usually contains less than 1 gram of fiber (see also ‘How Many Grams Of Whole Grains Per Day?‘).


Magnesium is a mineral that’s vital for bodily functions. For example, it regulates blood pressure.

Though rice does not contain loads of magnesium, it nonetheless contributes substantially to your daily intake.

This is because you only need a small amount of magnesium in your diet. For instance, it will provide approximately 10% of your intake.

As with fiber, brown rice is the better choice if you want to boost the amount of magnesium that you are consuming.


Folate is a type of B vitamin that is essential for the production and maintenance of white and red blood cells.

Cereals and rice tend to be decent sources of folate, particularly white rice. However, leafy greens contain much more folate than rice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Eat Rice Regularly?

Yes, you should try to add rice to your weekly diet. You should aim to have it a couple of times a week, as this food staple offers plenty of value.

Yet, it’s important not to have rice too frequently. If you have rice every day, you will become exposed to various health risks.

For instance, rice tends to absorb arsenic. When eaten in moderation, this arsenic will not affect humans. But if rice is consumed in large quantities on a regular schedule, you could become vulnerable to its side effects.

Which Is Better: Rice Or Potatoes?

As carbohydrates, you may be wondering whether rice or potatoes are a better side dish.

Though both offer good nutritional value, potatoes tend to be healthier than rice. This is because they contain vitamin C and more minerals, like phosphorus.

Of course, it’s a good idea to add both rice and potatoes to your diet. Doing so will provide you with diversity, both in terms of value and taste.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! Though most types of rice are high in protein, this food fits the carbohydrate food group better. This is because it contains a lot more carbs than it does protein.

When you are planning meals, it’s best to think of rice as a carbohydrate. This way, you can find a more optimal source of protein, such as meat, poultry, or eggs.

Whatever the case, rice can be a great addition to your diet thanks to its numerous nutritional benefits.