From a certain perspective, eating chicken and rice every day can be an affordable way to stay in shape and get washboard abs. On another, it’s monotonous, and over the long haul, it can get boring.
Here we’ll explain the pros and cons of eating chicken and rice every day. We’ll also explain why, in the grand scheme of things, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Benefits of eating chicken and rice every day
Let’s face it, one month of eating only chicken and rice comes with plenty of benefits, especially if you want to reach a saucy-looking physique, and become very lean.
Gives you energy
Being in a calorie deficit for a long term is not a picnic. Low energy can be exhausting and reduce your ability (and willingness) to train or work.
Chicken and rice give you plenty of energy to stay focused and active.
(See the graph below.)
When you eat chicken and rice, you provide your body with a mix of fast-digestive carbs and protein.
This nutrient-dense meal can give you enough energy for your workouts, despite being in a caloric deficit.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “regular physical activity is important not only for good health, but it’s especially important if you’re trying to lose weight (or maintain weight loss results).”
Helps you to stay active
I look at exercise as a way to burn more calories and lower my stress.
Stress from dieting, from my work, from relationships, or from wherever. Accumulation of stress creates a “Fu#^ this!” moment.
And, that’s when we lose control (and drop the ball).
A typical way to reduce stress, especially for people who struggle with weight, is eating.
Physical activity offers an alternative.
“Regular exercise can protect against the negative emotional consequences of stress,” says Emma Childs, Ph.D., a professor from the University of Illinois.
The more consistently you exercise, the less likely you’re to fall off the wagon because now you can address your stress in a new, different way, without raiding the pantry or the refrigerator.
(See the graph below.)
But to be active you need energy.
So eating chicken and rice for a month can kick start this change and develop a positive habit of regular exercise (and can stay in control).
It helps to lose weight
Eating chicken and rice every day is boring (which is good, and bad for weight loss).
Eating monotonous foods can lead to ‘sensory-specific satiety‘ (and lower the desire to eat more), says Barbara J. Rolls, Ph.D., a professor of nutritional sciences.
To help you understand this concept, take a look at the graph below.
- bowl on the left illustrates that eating the same food lowers our desire to eat more; and
- the bowl on the right shows that adding more variety of foods can increase our cravings.
“A lower variety of foods leads to a temporary decline in satisfaction, therefore, it can lower the overall appetite and food cravings,” says Dr. Rolls.
“And, with a lower variety of food, our appetite decreases,” says Dr. Rolls.
Lowering the variety of what you eat (eating only chicken and rice, or eating only chicken and broccoli, etc.) your perceived appetite can go down.
And, this not only helps us feel less hungry, but we also help to eat less food in general.
(I think we can agree that eating chicken and rice every day are perfect candidates to lower the appetite.)
Drawbacks of eating chicken and rice every day
Apart from the potential benefits of energy and weight loss, eating chicken and rice every day comes with a number of disadvantages.
It removes the joy of eating
People who love to break the bread with friends and family may find it difficult to eat only chicken and rice in the long term.
Eating the same foods over and over again can remove the joy of eating (and sharing the food).
If you are a social creature, but you also want to lose weight, there are many ways to reduce or maintain your weight (without eating the same food).
It can make you crave foods that you like (in the long term)
Eating less food is the main driver of weight loss, so reducing your diet to only chicken and rice can help you with weight loss results.
However, this only occurs temporarily.
The longer you stay on a diet that consists of the same foods, eventually, your cravings for something different will increase.
So the longer you diet, your cravings go up, not down.
In the long term, the appetite can come back, with a much bigger intensity.
If you like to eat chocolate, and you haven’t eaten chocolate for a month (because you’ve been eating only chicken and rice), this chocolate will be on your mind.
Plus, just because something works short-term, it doesn’t mean it will work long-term also.
This means you don’t want to stick to eating just chicken and rice in the long haul because it doesn’t deliver all the essential nutrients that your body needs.
You may get away with a couple of months or so.
But no longer than that.
Chicken and rice don’t have all vitamins and minerals
Do you wanna know what will happen if you only eat chicken and rice?
- In the short term. It can reduce excess weight because chicken and rice are low in calories.
- In the long term. Eating chicken and rice doesn’t have all the essential nutrients needed for the body, therefore, they can create some nutrient deficiencies.
Initially, you can see great results from eating only chicken and rice.
However, what happens after the first couple of months?
Eating only rice every day offers very little of some of the essential vitamins (C, A, D, K, E) and minerals (phosphorus, magnesium), says a former Director-Grade Scientist of the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) in Hyderabad, Mahtab Sohrab Bamji, Ph.D.
“Even the Japanese diet tends to be deficient by 20% in vitamin A and riboflavin,” says Dr. Bamji.
So in the long haul, you may want to reconsider eating just chicken and rice. It doesn’t mean you have to stop eating it.
If you see the results, and most importantly, if you like those foods, just add a variety of fruits and veggies to make sure you are on the safe side.
Keep in mind that some cultures thrive on eating rice with meat for centuries all day long. So there is nothing wrong with those foods.
Can I eat chicken and rice for breakfast?
You can eat chicken and rice for breakfast because those are the staple foods that provide a lot of proteins and fast digestive carbohydrates.
A high-protein breakfast gives satiety and stimulates muscle protein synthesis, whereas a high-carb breakfast supplies you with the necessary energy.
In some Asian countries, eating rice for breakfast is as normal as breathing.
“In Thailand, Japan, China, Indonesia, or Malaysia, rice is the number one food source,” says the director of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Naomi K Fukagawa, MD.
Interestingly enough, the same countries have lower rates of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and heart problems than any other nations out there.
Of course, this cannot be contributed to the rice. It may not be the causation, but simply the correlation
Eating chicken and rice for breakfast is healthy and can provide plenty of energy for the day.
Heck, this is the staple food for a lot of fitness models, movie actors, and bodybuilders.
Why do bodybuilders eat chicken and rice?
Bodybuilders eat chicken and rice because they are affordable, widely accessible staple low-calorie meal. It has been on the bodybuilder’s radar for decades (for a good reason).
Chicken is a source of lean proteins
“Chicken is my perfect protein to drive muscle protein synthesis and deliver an instant amino acid replacement,” says Rene Campbell, the IFBB Pro bodybuilder.
Muscle protein synthesis is the process of breaking down proteins into amino acids, and shuttling them to rebuild muscle fibers after a tough workout.
White rice is a source of high-glycemic carbs
White rice is a source of high-glycemic carbohydrates that digests fast, therefore immediately replacing used glycogen in the muscles.
“White rice has a high glycemic index. It means it will be immediately disintegrated in the stomach by gastric juices,” says the food and science technology Professor at the University of Georgia, Fanbin Kong, Ph.D.
The glucose (which is extracted from the rice) is then be used to restore used glycogen after a workout.
So if you’re is looking to build muscle and get lean, chicken, and rice is a perfect combo.
Eating chicken and rice comes with some pros and cons. I’ve experimented with this diet for 30 days and there are three lessons that I want to share with you.
The first is that this approach is not for everyone (I can eat chicken and rice every day; my wife cannot stand eating the same meal more than once).
The second is that food is not just the calories or numbers. Yes, it’s fuel but also often a pleasure. It’s the way you express yourself and learn about other cultures.
Finally, this is a popular diet that’s been tested over the decades to drive weight loss.
However, you don’t have to eat only two types of foods to get abs or stay lean. Focusing on eating less, yet still enjoying foods you like is more sustainable.
PS. Let me know what you think.