Is White Rice or Brown Rice Better For Building Muscle?


Brown rice has around 4 times the amount of fibre in it than its white counterpart. This means that brown rice is slower digesting and doesn't stimulate the secretion of insulin as much. Insulin is an anabolic hormone and allows us to gain muscle mass fairly easily. However, insulin also causes fat storage. Therefore, someone looking to build muscle, AND get toned at the same time should use brown rice over white.

is white rice or brown rice better for building muscle
is white rice or brown rice better for building muscle
is white rice or brown rice better for building muscle
is white rice or brown rice better for building muscle

As you can see from the above information, the brown rice has the higher fiber content. This means that your blood glucose and insulin levels are not spiked as highly when you consume it. This means that if you aim to put health and fat loss at the top of your list of priorities while bulking up in terms of muscle, then brown rice should be your rice of choice.

I assume you are asking about white vs brown rice because at some point you have been told that you must consume lots of starchy carbohydrates along with protein in order to build muscle right? You know that rice is a high carb food, but you don't know whether to eat brown or white as part of your muscle building diet.

There is however, a surprising twist to the carb and muscle building debate which you may or may not struggle to get your head around. The fact is that there is new emerging research that is beginning to suggest that we actually do not need to consume starchy carbohydrates to build muscle mass. I talk more about these studies in my article about building muscle in ketosis.

Not only this, but there are several examples of competitive bodybuilders who are famous for eating a ketogenic diet. The keto diet consists of very low amounts of carbohydrates but a high amount of fat. This could be seen as social proof that the whole 'chicken and brown rice' 6 times a day philosophy may not be all it's cracked up to be.

There is a biological process in the liver called gluconeogenesis. This is where our liver produces its own glucose for use by the whole body. This means that our body produces enough glucose for protein synthesis without us having to consume starchy carbohydrate foods as part of our bodybuilding diet. 

As I have already mentioned, in my article 'Can You Build Muscle While In Ketosis', I highlight a couple of studies that strongly suggest that in most cases, you can build just as much muscle mass on keto without carbs, as you can on a standard carb heavy diet.

Meet Robert Sikes AKA Keto Savage…

I would like you to meet a very special bodybuilder called Robert Sikes. The special thing about Robert is that he competes as a bodybuilder whilst on a ketogenic, low carb, high fat diet. This means that he achieves all of his muscle buiding results without eating any rice, potato, pasta, bread or any other form of starchy carbihydrate based food.

The reason that I wanted to metion Robert is that I want to open your mind to the possibility of building muscle and getting in shape without eating rice and other stary foods. It may be helpful for you to change your initial question from;

What kind of rice should I eat? To the question; Do I need to eat rice at all in order to achieve muscle growth and fat loss? 

Let's hear more from Robert...

Bodybuilding Vs Health

Robert's video above just shows that you don't need to load up on carbs to build muscle. Eating a load of white rice will help you gain muscle but you will really struggle to get that shredded look as well. Again, it is not so much a case of white rice vs brown rice. It's more a  question or rice or no rice. Carbs or no carbs. In all honesty, it all depends on where you are now, and where you want to be.

Will consuming lots of brown rice and other starchy carbohydrates help you build muscle easier? Yes most likely, but at the expense of gaining body fat and other metabolic issues too. Especially if you are excessive in your consumption of such foods. 

Overeating starchy carbohydrates is not healthy. Here is something to remember;

Simply building muscle does not necesserally equil health. 

Have you heard of bodybuilders who get sick, or even die because of taking drugs for? Now I know this is an extreme example, but it is something to really consider. Just doing bodybuilding and getting 'big' does not necesserally make you healthy and you should be looking to adopt a wholistic approach when it comes to your diet and training plan. 

Do you care more about health and keeping excess fat off, or do you care more about stacking on huge amounts of muscle at the expense of more important things? Yes, white rice is more anabolic. Yes stereroids make get you 'stacked'. However, are steroids good for you in the long run? Does white rice cause fat gain if eaten in excess? These are all factors to consider.  

Contsistantly consuming high carb foods can cause inflimmation in the body and also cause the onset of type 2 diabetes. If you are not careful, you could end up gaining a lot more than just muscle if you over do it on the starch and sugars.

What’s Your Ultimate Goal?

If you are someone who struggles to keep fat off, and you value the idea of being lean with good muscle mass and low body fat, then consider either cutting out rice and going on a keto style diet. If you really want to keep rice and other starchy foods in your diet but you find that you cling onto fat easilly, then your other option is to try intermittent fasting. This will allow you to realx your diet a little, while still burning your body fat and mainintining muscle mass.

However, if you are one of the lucky few who does not gain body fat easily but maybe you struggle to gain muslce mass too, then consuming some white rice may help. Becuse white rice stimulates the secreation of insulin the most, you will most likely find it easier to bulk in this way. For most people though, over cosuming white rice is not a good idea. 

A lot of professional muscle building athletes will indeed consume a good amount of white rice to pack on muscle. What you must remember though is that they are training with weights a heck of a lot at a very high level. Also, they have most likely been doing it for years, and so their bodies are used to processing the excess glucose for energy during workouts and to build lean muscle mass. Whatsmore, all of these pro bodybuilders go through very severe cutting phases after their bulking phase in order to get a very low body fat level. This cutting phase nearly always involves removing carbohydrates from the diet for a prolonged period of time anyway. They will do this until the desired body fat percentage is reached.

Again, it depends on what your goals are. Knowledge is power, and now you have the knowledege. You can now make your own informed decisions on what to do for yourself with regards to not only rice, but your diet as a whole. 

If you would like to learn more about how you can build muscle and burn fat while keeping you carbohydrate intake very low, then don't forget to check out my article entitled 'Can You Build Muscle While In Ketosis'. The article opens in a new window on this website.

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