Rice Diet Menu


The Rice Diet is also known as the Duke University Rice Diet, since it was developed by doctors at Duke University in 1939. Today, a center in Durham, North Carolina offers a live-in weight loss program with a recommended stay of at least four weeks. However, the center recently published the book, “The Rice Diet Solution: The World-Famous Low-Sodium, Good-Carb, Detox Diet for Quick and Lasting Weight Loss (2005, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0743289838, $25.00).

The Basics

The Rice Diet Menu is, first and foremost, a menu of low-sodium (salt) and low-fat foods. The premise behind the menus is that salt not only makes you retain water, but that it also makes you hungry. By getting rid of the salt, you’ll both lose water weight and feel less hungry. In contrast to the Atkins low-carb diet, the menu is high in complex carbohydrates, such as grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, and low in saturated fats. However, the menu is only one component of the program. Exercise (in the form of walking for an hour a day) and introspection (whether through therapy, journaling, or another source) are the other two elements. This holistic approach leads to sustainable lifestyle changes.

The plan has three phases. The first phase is designed as a detox phase to cleanse your body of the effects of the salt and processed foods you’ve been eating. The second phase is the weight loss phase, and the third phase is the maintenance phase. During the first phase, this menu consists of eating two starches and two fruits for each meal on the first day of every week. For the remainder of the week, the phase one of diet menu is one starch, one dairy, and one fruit for breakfast; and three starches, three vegetables, and one fruit for lunch and for dinner.

During the second phase, its menu is the same as it was for phase one, with the exception of the seventh day. During the seventh day, breakfast consists of two starches and one fruit; lunch is comprised of three starches, three vegetables, and one fruit; and dinner is three starches, three vegetables, one fruit, and three proteins or two dairy servings.

Phase three of the diet menu commences once you reach your goal weight. Once you’ve achieved your weight reduction goal, you can add three servings of lean meat, fish, or eggs two days a week. It’s obvious that this menu is rich in “good” carbs and very low in fat and protein. In fact, vegetarians report having phenomenal success with this type of plan. Yet, even those who do eat meat find that the quantity of food proscribed is enough so that they do not feel terribly deprived.

Serving Sizes

The Rice Diet menu outlines specific serving sizes for foods. Here are some examples:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal = 1 starch
  • 1 medium banana = 1 fruit
  • 2/3 cup green peas = 1 vegetable
  • 16 cherry tomatoes = 1 vegetable
  • 1 small potato = 1 starch
  • 1 medium nectarine = 1 fruit
  • 1 cup soy milk = 1 dairy
  • 2 egg whites = 1 protein

The Recipe For Success

It is only one element of the diet philosophy. Other components include:

  • That salt is similar to sugar in that it is an appetite stimulant. Cutting out salt can eliminate food cravings.
  • This menu is high in fiber, which not only causes detoxification, but that also increases satiety, so that you feel full even though you’re eating less calorie-dense food.
  • Having excess body weight is the manifestation of other issues. In order to successful lose weight and maintain that weight loss, those other issues must be addressed. The diet philosophy advocates what is termed “mindful eating,” and educating yourself about nutrition issues. It also encourages “inner healing,” a process whereby you resolve psychological issues that may have contributed to your weight problem. Making time for yourself and working to achieve inner peace leads to the realization and fulfillment of other life goals. In other words, the road is one that leads to physical, mental, and spiritual health and well being.
  • Significant weight loss is imminently possible. Proponents of this plan say that women lose an average of 19 pounds per month and men lose an average of 30 pounds per month, though individual results may vary.
  • Adopting elements of ancient and Eastern philosophies. Many of the diet concepts, such as mindfulness, are rooted in Buddhist tradition. The plan is termed “dieta,” Greek for “way of life.”
  • Setting goals is critical. Although this plan is promoted as a permanent lifestyle change, it is important to set short-and medium-term goals. These goals can be related to losing weight, exercise, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and other medical conditions.
  • Take care not to over-hydrate. While drinking four to eight cups of fluid daily is recommended, dieters are cautioned not to consume too many liquids and cause an electrolyte imbalance. Due to the low sodium content of the menu, you won’t need as much fluid as those eating diets higher in salt.
  • Walking an hour each day is sufficient exercise, and allows you to cultivate inner peace.
  • Body image issues. Accepting and loving your body is key to sustaining diet results.
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