Rice is hands down the staple of Asian cuisine.
It made its appearance on paper more than 2500 years ago, but it was first harvested long before that.
There is such a thing called wild rice.
Now, for all the people out there who closely follow the paleo diet guidelines, they know if something is wild, it means it’s a go.
However, things aren’t really that simple.
But all will be explained in this article – can you eat rice on a paleo diet.
Although the answer will be relatively straightforward, we do encourage you to read the entire article as there will be some mighty useful information.
Can You Eat Rice On A Paleo Diet?
If you’re looking from a purely technical standpoint, then NO, rice isn’t paleo, not in the typical paleo diet sense.
Rice is a type of grain, and grains aren’t “allowed” on this diet.
As we all know, paleo is short for paleolithic, and in the paleolithic era, people didn’t do agriculture; it just wasn’t a thing yet.
But, rice is a different animal than your regular run-of-the-mill grain food.
Although we said it wasn’t typical paleo, it doesn’t mean you have to completely cut it out of your diet.
That’s why we exist – to tell you something you don’t know.
So let’s get into it deeper, see why you might be able to eat rice on paleo.
Some Useful Information On Rice
We mentioned wild rice in the introduction, but that was to get your proper attention.
Although wild rice does exist, it isn’t the ‘renegade’ cousin of your everyday store-bought rice.
It grows in lakes, and unless you’re a real hardcore paleo person ready to go canoeing just to get some wild rice, it won’t be an option for you.
Brown rice and white rice are a completely different story, though.
To illustrate this point further, we’ll do a little battle between them.
A Little Yin Versus A Little Yang
First, The Nutritional Chart Clash:
|Nutrient||Amount (white)||Amount (brown)||% Daily Value|
|Total Fat||0.44g||1.74g||1% vs 2%|
|Saturated fat||0.12g||0.349g||1% vs 2%|
|Trans fat||0 g||0 g|
|Cholesterol||0mg||0mg||0% vs 0%|
|Sodium||577mg||587mg||25% vs 26%|
|Potassium||55mg||84mg||1% vs 2%|
|Carbohydrates||44.08g||44.42g||16% vs 16%|
|Fiber||0.6g||3.5g||2% vs 13%|
|Calories||204||215||10% vs 11%|
Basically, brown rice is like a beefier version of white rice.
It has a little bit more fat, and it definitely has more fiber.
However, brown rice is, unlike white rice, not suitable for a paleo diet.
We know, we were just as shocked, but let us explain why that’s the case.
Why Brown Rice Is Not Paleo?
The typical anti paleo argument can be applied here.
Brown rice isn’t Paleo because it is a grain.
Grains are generally not recommended due to a couple of reasons.
The first one is that they didn’t exist ten thousand years ago.
There’s not much else to be said about that.
The second reason is that they have been modified to be eerily dangerous to us in the long run.
The grains that were produced a hundred years ago were far more organic and natural.
That’s some information about grains in general, but what about brown rice?
Well, brown rice has a “shield” that acts as a protection against insects and the Sun.
That shield contains substances that can impair our digestion and cause some inflammation.
White rice is basically brown rice without the shield, which means that it doesn’t have those substances, so it’s much more gut-friendly.
In the nutrition chart, you can see that brown rice has a lot more fiber than white rice.
Although fiber is perceived as ‘healthy,’ too much fiber can have the opposite effect.
In the brown rice case, the shield contains a lot of fiber that carries some potential drawbacks.
So, all in all, brown rice is not where it’s at when it comes to the paleo diet.
White Rice Argument
We mentioned that white rice doesn’t have the problematic “shield” that brown rice has.
With that being said, if you buy high-quality rice that hasn’t suffered any GMO treatment, it’s actually safe to eat.
It contains almost no sugars, which means that even though it doesn’t have a lot of fiber, it can’t be called unhealthy.
You’ve probably noticed that in cultures where rice is popular, like China or Japan, people are not obese.
That’s because white rice is a highly digestible food that won’t force your gut to struggle.
There’s also the mention of affordability.
Even the more expensive white rice won’t break a bank and can keep you energized for a while
Some Anti-white Rice Arguments
Carbohydrates constitute 89 percent of white rice.
If you want to lose weight, carbohydrates shouldn’t be on your priority list.
On the other hand, if you’re working out regularly, this can keep you fueled much easier than eating just ‘pure’ paleo food.
Even though the paleo diet isn’t low-carb per se, it relies on fat and protein more than carbs.
Also, there are potentially better options for you out there like fruits and veggies that’ll offer more nutritional value. Not all fruits, though; click here to find out can you eat eggplant on Paleo?
The next thing to note is the lack of vitamins and minerals in rice.
The low fiber and high carb content can be excused to an extent as it actually works for a lot of people.
But this one really is a big downside.
You’ll be eating around 200 calories from just rice, and your daily intake of essential nutrients will more or less stay the same.
That’s not a very Paleo thing to do since most food you eat is quite rich in
So you can say that although not paleo, white rice won’t cause the damage a whole grain like wheat would.
Suppose you’re pushing yourself at the gym and need the extra energy. In that case, it could be an excellent addition to your diet, in reasonable amounts.
Can You Eat Rice On Paleo – Wrapping It Up
The paleo diet is definitely more popular than ever.
The health benefits that it provides are quite something.
But it’s also somewhat restrictive in what you can consume.
The safe thing to do here is to say that you can’t eat rice on paleo.
It’s a grain, and as we said, grains are not allowed on this diet.
Objectively speaking, though, white rice shouldn’t hurt you as some other grains could.
It might be carbohydrate-heavy, but it contains almost no sugar, so the carbs you’re eating aren’t dangerous in reasonable amounts.
However, we wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.
It has no vitamins and minerals, and if you’re not someone who needs that much energy, you should skip it.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you should definitely skip it and stick to known paleo foods.
Overall, white rice can serve some people on the paleo diet, but not all.
It’s up to you to decide.
Just stay away from brown rice; that isn’t paleo in the least.