Is Eating Rice Bad on a Paleo Diet?

eat rice on paleo diet

eat rice on paleoMost people eating a paleo diet have heard that rice is bad…or not paleo.  There are really 2 questions here.  Is rice bad and is it paleo.

I’m going to tackle the easy one first:  is rice paleo?  The answer of course is no.  It is a grain.  It is post-hunter-gatherer.  It does contain phytic acid but is a bit lower than some other “accepted” paleo foods like almonds.  White rice is on par with white potatoes in phytic acid content.

So the original question of “is eating rice bad on a paleo diet” is not a question of if it is paleo, ‘cause it’s not.  The question is should someone who is eating a paleo diet eat rice?  Or in other words: is rice bad?

The best answer I could give is it depends on your goals.

There are basically 2 types of people:  active and sedentary.

If you are active you may be able to do just fine with occasionally eating rice.  If you are sedentary, you should NOT eat rice AND you should become active.  Our hunter gatherer ancestors were very active and that was a key component to their health.  You cannot be “healthy” unless you are active.

Taking a 30-60 minute walk 5 days a week does NOT constitute “active.”  Being active means you are doing something that might mimic what our ancestors did in hunting and gathering food.  This requires something with weights, agility, intensity, and flexibility in relatively short duration.

If this is your lifestyle and you’ve been living it for a while, you are relatively lean and not insulin resistant, then you may be able to “handle” a little white rice occasionally.

For example, after a workout that involved weights and you’ve depleted glycogen stores, a little carbohydrate can help you recover and replenish the glycogen stores.

If you are sedentary, you won’t be replenishing glycogen stores.  Those carbs will be converted into fat stores.

If you are active and you are eating carbs on a day when you haven’t depleted glycogen or right before bed when your metabolism is slower, you will be storing the carbs as fat.

A better choice of carbs for active people will be something like sweet potatoes or fruit.  Rice is barely a step up from refined sugars as far as nutrient content.  Fruits and high carb veggies will also give you plenty of nutrients along with the carbohydrates.

Sometimes you may feel that the meal you eat may just be better with rice.  Perhaps instead of eating rice you could make something like fried rice cauliflower instead.  With that you will get a lot of nutrients and healthy, medium chain fatty acids.
When I make my fried rice cauliflower I like to add a few finely chopped up veggies like jalapeno, mushrooms and bell peppers.  Only do this if you can tolerate the night shade veggies.

So if you choose to eat rice on a paleo diet, understand that it is not paleo and that while rice is less harmful than some other foods, it also has less nutrients than many foods.

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