Can you eat rice on a keto diet?

In this brief article, we are going to answer the question “can you eat rice on a keto diet?”. We will discuss the reasons why rice is not allowed on a keto diet. Further, we will list some alternatives to rice that you can eat on a keto diet. 

Can you eat rice on a keto diet?No, you can not eat rice on a ketogenic diet because rice is rich in carbohydrates, and the ketogenic diet’s main aim is to reduce net carbohydrate intake so that the body starts burning fats for energy (1,2). 

There are some substitutes however, that you can include in your keto diet. Keep reading because these alternatives will be discussed in the later part of this article.

What is a keto diet?

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate in protein, and low carb diet (2,3,4).

The drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake induces a metabolic state called ketosis triggered by a lack of carbohydrates available as an energy source (2,3,4).

When the levels of carbohydrates fall, the body runs out of fuel to burn for energy-glucose is the main fuel for the body and then it starts breaking down fats and proteins for energy sufficiency, which can make you lose weight (2,3,4).  

This is called ketosis and a dramatic decrease in blood sugar and insulin can be seen, and increased ketones due to catabolism of proteins are readily available for the brain and have some health benefits (2,3,4).

To prevent muscle mass loss, you must eat a proper amount of proteins and also do exercise; this will induce muscle synthesis and prevent muscle break down (2,3,4).

Keto diet is normally used for weight management and reducing body fat-mass. Actually, keto diet is also used as a therapeutic diet to regulate glucose in people with diabetes, regulate blood lipids, and even as a treatment for epilepsy (2,3,4).

If you want further information regarding keto diet, please follow this link to read our article on this topic.

What is ketosis, and why is it important to avoid carbohydrates?

Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by the high-fat breakdown and high levels of ketones in your blood (2,3,4).

It is achieved by following a ketogenic diet by significantly cutting down on carbohydrates (glucose), and limiting your body to the use of fats for energy production (2,3,4).

To enter ketosis, you must avoid carbohydrates; moreover, if you break the ketosis state, your body will refuel its glycogen stores and it will stop burning fat for energy (2,3,4).

How many carbs are there in rice?

Rice is rich in carbohydrates. One cup of white rice contains approximately 44 grams of carbs, which are extremely high levels if we are considering a ketogenic diet (1).

Even if you consume half-cup rice, a typical serving per person, you would still get 22 grams of carbs. Again, this is high considering that you need to remain below 20 – 50 grams for a keto diet (1).

Moreover, it is worse if you are considering eating white rice because it does not contain much fiber (around 0.6 g), therefore, almost all carbs are completely available (1).

If you eat too much available carbs, you will break the ketosis state, and all your advances in weight management, or glucose regulation could be compromised (1,2).

Can you eat brown rice on a keto diet?

Unfortunately, no. Brown rice is also high in carbohydrates and needs to be avoided on a keto diet (1).

Despite brown rice having more fiber than white rice (3.1 g), it still has a lot of carbs. 100 grams of brown rice has 21 grams of net carbs and one cup serving (240 grams) contains 46 grams of net carbs (1).

Similar to the situation with white rice, the high quantity of carbohydrates in brown rice can shift your ketosis state into a normal metabolism which uses glycogen as an energy source (1,2). 

What are the alternatives of rice on a keto diet?

There are some alternatives for rice, one of them is actually a cooking method, while the other alternatives are vegetable-based products that can mimic rice. 

Carb-reducing rice cooker

The carb-reducing rice cooker is a rice cooker common in Asia that boils rice in an excess of water. The excess of water will solubilize part of the rice’s starch and it will be removed from the food (5).

As a result, your rice can have between 20 and 50 % fewer carbs. Awesome! However, you must consider that other foods like dairy products, vegetables, and fruits can also provide you with carbs, so do not eat an excess of rice just because you are using a carb-reducing cooker (2,5). 

Shirataki Rice

Also known as “miracle rice” because it can substitute regular rice and is free from soy and gluten. In addition to that, they are low in carbs, only 1-2 grams of carbs per serving. Shirataki rice is made with konjac root glucomannan (6).

Konjac root glucomannan is a natural fiber with excellent technological properties such as hydration, gelling, and thickening, just like the starch. The advantage is that Konjac root glucomannan is not digestible, so you will not absorb too many carbs with it (6). 

Therefore, adding Konjac root glucomannan to rice can provide a similar texture, but with less amount of starch and carbs (6).

Furthermore, konjac root glucomannan can be beneficial for your health because it is fiber; fiber is important to maintain good gastrointestinal health, prevents constipation, infectious gastrointestinal diseases, and even colon cancer (7).

Shirataki rice is flavorless but can be mixed with other dishes for flavor. It’s commonly used in Asian dishes, as the konjac root comes from Asia (6).

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower is a good substitute and it is low in carbs and calories. It also has bioactive components such as polyphenols, fiber, and organosulfur molecular which can exert various health benefits, for example (7,8):

  • Prevents colon cancer due to regulation of DNA stability; on the other hand, the fiber contained in cauliflower is fermented in your gut, producing short chain fatty acids with anticancer activity.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties due to phenolic and carotenoids, this can result in lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in about 6.7 and 6.6 %.

It can be bought from a store but is relatively simple to prepare at home. It is made by blending cauliflower in a food processor and crushed until it resembles the texture of rice.

Cauliflower rice has 3 grams of net carbs per cup serving.

Mushroom Rice

It is made by chopping mushrooms until they resemble rice. Mushroom rice is flavorless like most mushrooms (9).

Mushrooms are a good source of complex carbohydrates that are considered as fiber (non-digestible); moreover, mushrooms contain phenolic components, zinc, and selenium. All the components of mushrooms can provide you with the following health benefits (7,10):

  • Prevention of constipation due to fiber content.
  • The complex polysaccharides of mushrooms can reduce your levels of cholesterol and regulate lipid levels.
  • It can reduce the risks of cancer due to the antioxidant properties of the polyphenols and triterpenoids.
  • The triterpenoids in mushrooms can also be hepato-protectors, preventing liver damage.

It contains 1.5 grams of net carbs per 50 grams of serving. Benefits of mushrooms. 

What are other foods to eat on a keto diet?

These foods are mostly preferred on a ketogenic diet (11):

  • meat: red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken, and turkey
  • fatty fish: salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel
  • eggs: pastured or omega-3 whole eggs
  • butter and cream: grass-fed butter and heavy cream
  • cheese: unprocessed cheeses like cheddar, goat, cream, blue, or mozzarella
  • nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
  • healthy oils: extra virgin olive oil, and avocado oil
  • avocados: whole avocados or freshly made guacamole
  • low carb veggies: green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc.
  • condiments: salt, pepper, herbs, and spices

Other FAQs about Rice that you may be interested in.

Can you eat rice without washing it? 

How to fix too much water in rice?

Can you cook beans and rice together?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Can you eat rice on a keto diet?” and discussed various reasons for not consuming rice on a keto diet. We also gave details of a good keto diet.


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