Rice Diet

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

The Rice Diet is the basis for a medically-supervised, live-in program designed for rapid weight-loss over a period of 2 to 4 weeks or more, in the treatment of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and renal disease.

The program operated as part of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, USA.

The clinical version of the Rice Diet was recently terminated by Duke after 70 years.

However, this plan is also available in book form in The Rice Diet Solution.

Origins of the Rice Diet

The originator of the Rice Diet was Walter Kempner, born Germany 1903, who joined Duke University’s Department of Medicine in 1934.
Kempner investigated the effect of diet on diseases including hypertension and diabetes, and found that they were rarely problems for people using rice as a staple food.
Kempner developed a diet of rice, fruit, juices, sugar, plus vitamin and iron supplements to help people with these and related health problems.

The Kempner diet or Rice Diet has been used since 1939 in treating, often with dramatic results, more than 18,000 patients from around the world suffering from diabetes, obesity, heart disease and hypertension.

Books Based on The Kempner Diet

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.

Rice Diet Program

The Rice Diet is not like fad diets which come and go, but has developed into a complete, proven and well-respected program for improving health.

As well as meals using the Rice Diet, the program provides classes, groups and workshops for stress management and exercise, nutritional lectures, and personal medical supervision.

Menu Plans

Participants in the program have a limited menu selection initially, then choose from a range of items comprising fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, fish, and legumes (beans), varied daily.

The name Rice Diet is somewhat confusing (the diet origins being the study of rice as a staple), as more than 30 food items are available, including a number of rices.

Sample 7 Day Menu

Day One: Basic Rice Diet

  • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner: 2 Starches, 2 Fruits

Days Two through Seven: Lacto-Vegetarian Rice Diet

  • Breakfast: 1 Starch, 1 Non-fat Dairy, 1 Fruit
  • Lunch and Dinner: 3 Starches, 3 Vegetables, 1 Fruit

Basic rules of thumb on serving sizes:

  • 1 Starch = 1 slice bread, 1/3 cup cooked rice or beans, or 1/2 cup cooked pasta
  • 1 Fruit = 1 medium sized fruit, 1/2 banana, or 1 cup cut fruit
  • 1 Vegetable = 1 cup uncooked or 1/2 cup cooked
  • 1 Dairy = 1 cup milk, 1 cup yogurt, or 1/2 cup cottage cheese.

Low Salt

Salt is restricted in the Rice Diet, since the body swells with salt (sodium) and water. Most people’s diet contains approx. 4-7 grams of sodium, yet less than half a gram a day is necessary for normal body function.

Salt is a problem for patients with high blood pressure and kidney failure, and this is true also for most people if present in higher quantities in the diet. Salt stimulates the appetite, whereas herbs and spices simply flavor the food.

Limiting salt reduces several health risks, including cholesterol, blood pressure, heart size and weight, as well as reducing the need to medicate for these problems.

Low Fat

As well as being low-salt, the daily diet contains 5 grams or less of fat, about 20 grams of protein, and not more than 150mg of sodium.

On completion of the program, resources are available for participants to continue with a healthy lifestyle, and to maintain the improved health gained while on the residential program.


The Rice Diet Solution by Robert Rosati

Walter Kempner and the Rice Diet

The Rice Diet Cookbook

Look for healthy rice recipes here.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Annette

    Day 1 for me —good luck to everyone

    • Fattyboomba

      How are you going Annette? I’ve just started yesterday on the diet and determined to lose the weight (15-20kgs). Do you have much weight to lose?

  • gabbie9998

    The Rice Diet
    Featuring brown rice:
    Prepare all our dishes with whole grain brown rice and don’t add salt. Don’t get discouraged eating rice every day. It is filling and will fend off hunger. You may desire more variety in your diet, but the pay-off in weight loss will make it all worth it.

    Breakfast Menus:

    A. One cup of brown rice
    One cup of fresh fruit
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    B. One cup of brown rice
    1/2 cantaloupe
    One slice whole wheat toast
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    C. One cup of oatmeal
    Three stewed prunes
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    D. One cup of brown rice
    One small glass orange juice
    2 figs or prunes
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    E. One cup of brown rice
    One thin (1/2 ounce) slice fried ham
    1/2 apple
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    Lunch Menus:

    A. One cup brown rice with one cup Chinese mixed vegetables
    1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese on a lettuce leaf
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    B. One cup brown rice served with one cup bioled cabbage
    One glass skimmed milk

    C. One cup brwn rice
    Cottage cheese and tomato salad prepared from 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese and one tomato with a little vinegar & herbs dressing
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    D. One cup of brown rice
    One cup stewed tomatoes
    Raw carrots or cauliflower
    One glass skimmed milk

    E. One cup of brown rice pudding
    Two cups mixed carrots, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower, radish and tomato salad
    Raw carrots or cauliflower
    Unsweetened coffee, tea, or skimmed milk

    Dinner Menus:

    A. One cup Savory Rice
    One 3 oz. piece of chicken breast
    1/2 cup boiled carrots
    One fresh pear
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    B. 1 1/2 cups Rice A La Riston
    One 2 1/2 oz. piece trimmed broiled pork chop
    One navel orange
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    C. 1 1/2 cups Chicken Pilaf
    One fresh tomato
    Two fresh plums
    Unsweetened coffee, tea, or skimmed milk

    D. 1 1/2 cups Russian Pilaf
    One bowl mixed carrots, cabbage, cucumber, cauliflower, radish and tomato salad
    1/2 cup mixed fresh fruit cocktail (unsweetened)

    E. 2/3 cup Rice and Lamb Casserole
    One cup cooked cabbage
    1/2 canteloupe
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    F. One dietary serving of Veal Marengo over one cup of brown rice
    1/2 cup green beans
    1/2 grapefruit
    Unsweetened coffee or tea

    G. One cup Fried Rice
    One cup Chinese mixed vegetables
    One tangerine
    Unsweetened coffee, tea, or skimmed milk

    • Andree Chamberlin

      How long do you stay on phase one?

  • brandi

    I highly recommend this diet!!! I started yesterday and have already lost 5 pounds. Since I have two babies at home exercise is a little difficult so during naptime I do 100 jumping jacks and I been useing an an wheel to focus on my arms and stomach. The first day is a struggle but once you step on the scale and see results its worth it.

    • tpmrussell

      You posted a weight loss of 5 days after only a day, but may I ask how things went after that? Thanks!

  • Ray

    What type of rice are better( brown ,basmati white, long or short grain rice?
    Which are the best vegetables.

    • http://www.everydiet.org ted

      There are over 30 foods on the diet and it uses most kinds of rices. Starch can mean rice, potatoes, pasta, or sweet potatoes. It would probably be best to get a copy of the book, there are used ones available for cheap or check your local library.

  • Ray

    What do you mean by starch ,it mean bread or other things?

  • Amber

    if i use this diet for 9 days how much will i lose?? i want to lose 9kg so thats like 1kg per day will it work with this diet? BTW ….im 164 pounds.

    • LaJuana Fields

      I went on this diet in 1999 and lost 3 to 5 pounds over night and a pound every day. So in a two weeks, I lost close to 15 pounds. So it does work, but mine was way much stricker. Good luck to you!

  • Heather Olivres

    I am really considering this diet. How affective is it?

    • David

      For weight loss? probably very effective in the short term, but if you want to thrive, check out similar, but better diets such as the starch solution or the 80/10/10 diet. Fish and dairy are not only unessential, but damaging to health, and this diet seems to restrict caloric intake, but i haven’t read the book myself, so I may be wrong.

      • Rebecca White

        There is no requirement that you eat animal foods. They just allow for that. Long term, you add more calories and if you do leave out the animal foods, it looks very much like the Starch Solution. In fact, Dr. McDougall’s videos on YouTube include interviews with the director of the Rice Diet program. They use the same basic principals. The thing is that at the beginning, this is a VERY restrictive, low calorie, low sodium diet and is really meant for people who are in danger and need to do something right now, so if you’re not one of those people you might not want to do that.

  • kirsty spsrrow

    I have been on this diet for less than a week and have already lost 9 stone im amazed think i have found te right doet for me, xx

    • Gillian Prior

      Hi Kirsty can you tell me what veg you can have? Im assuming the fruit can be an apple, orange etc. The diary does this need to be non fat or at least very low fat? Also hen it say week 1 for the 6 days it says luinch and dinner to include 3 starches, 3 veg and 1 fruitis this divided by the 2 meals? Gill x

    • Cindy

      I am thinking of starting this diet. Just reserved the books from the library. But before I get started, would you mind sharing some of your meals?

    • kirsty spsrrow

      sory i meant 9 pound

  • Aaron Mitchell

    Alright starting this diet tomorrow. Just weighed in at 208.4. Will keep ya updated lol.

    • Heather Olivres

      saw ur comment. just curious how has this diet worked for u so far

    • Jor El

      Any updates about your diet ??

  • ben

    Hi I am looking into starting the rice diet but am finding it hard to work out the portions in grams for cups.

    According to the web a cup of white rice is 185grams! That is a lot of rice considering that on phase one you need to eat 1 cup for lunch and tea have I got this measurement right?



    • Laurin

      Ben, I believe that figure is for uncooked rice. A good rule of thumb is that a cup of cooked rice should be about the size of your fist.

  • Rose

    i have started the rice diet about 1 week and 2 days ago ( 9days ago) …

    i have lost 7lbs already.. is that good progress ?? anyways..

    i am amazed at how rapid the effects are taking on.

    – i am happy wih the results, and i may never eat rice again !

    HA, :)

    • Cindy

      Can you share some sample of your meals?

  • Yuri

    The rice diet works wonders. I came to America from Korea since I was 14 and became overweight. Now,I lost about 40 pounds by eating like a true Asian and not an American. What I did is that I concentrated on rice as a main meal and I would eat 2 bowls a day. I would have some peas for breakfast and sometimes as a snack. I was never hungry and I saved a lot of money. :) Im healthier!

  • Ruth

    I’m going to try thisw diet because I don’t have to put out a lot of money that I don’t have and I love the Idea of rice and beans. tomatoes,broccoli,
    califlower,carrots,celery,cucumbers,strawberries, apples, peaches, yumyumyum

  • Tracey

    Can bodybuilders use this diet to shed excess body weight and still maintain strength for lifting heavy weights?

    • beeny

      youll be fine ive done it for about 2 months and lost thirty pounds but i added a little protein here and there like baked chicken turkey burgers and sometimes muscle milk

  • charv

    i dont see too many here that lost weight. hmmm

  • raw

    ummmm. how many calories can you have a day? can you eat unlimited amounts of rice? Because that would be a dream come true!!! Does anyone know the exact meal plan and amounts?

    • Patty


      The Rice Diet Solution plan has several phases:

      Phase 1 — one week

      1 day: Basic Rice Diet (800 calories and 50 mg sodium)

      2 starches and 2 fruits at breakfast, lunch, and dinner
      Starches = 1/2 cup – 1 cup pasta / rice or cereal /oatmeal

      6 days: Lacto Vegetarian Rice Diet (1,000 calories a day and 300 mg sodium)

      Breakfast: 1 starch, 1 fruit, 1 nonfat dairy
      example diary = 1 cup nf milk, 1/2 cup cottage cheese / yogurt

      Lunch and dinner: 3 starches, 3 vegetables, 1 fruit

      Phase 2 — one week

      1st day: Basic Rice Diet

      next 5 days: Lacto Vegetarian Rice Diet

      1 day Vegetarian Plus Rice Diet (1,200 calories per day and 500 mg sodium)

      Breakfast: 2 starches, 1 fruit

      Lunch: 3 starches, 3 vegetables, 1 fruit

      Dinner: 3 starches, 3 protein (or 2 dairy), 3 vegetables, 1 fruit

      Phase 3 — Maintenance. Same as phase 2, adding about 200 more calories per week, until you stop losing weight.

      1 day: Basic Rice Diet

      4 days: Lacto Vegetarian Rice Diet

      2 days: Vegetarian Plus Rice Diet

      • chelsea

        What is 3 protein suppose to equal?

  • Barrie

    I knew a lady that went to Duke and did this diet. She lost 110 lbs. and looked like a different young person. Never heard anything but great things about the diet.

  • Kate

    i started two days ago… i feel surprisingly very full… is that normal? did i do sth wrong? :)

  • ellysa

    Hi! I am vegan and looking to lose 20 pounds. Would this diet still work for 2 weeks on the plan except no meat or dairy, around 300-600 calories a day? Should i adapt it so there’s black beans, quinoa, only watery fruits and veggies (i.e., cucumber, watermelon, tomato, zucchini, cantaloupe)?? But other greens like spinach of course. Does eating starch really make a difference? Ive done it just fruits and veggies and it worked.

  • Malisa Revill

    I want to start this rice diet..I think as a family it just might work..
    Can we still use the Mrs. Dash seasonings without ruining the whole diet process..I’ve noticed my hang up is salt..” taste”. Also for the meats..will baked meats be ok ?

  • Janet

    The book says that you can subsitute non-fat dairy for non-fat soy – or for nut milks, like almond milk for instance.

  • jim baden

    I need help……weigh 210 and am diabetic. Can’t seem to find a program that doesn’t cost a lot of $$$. I don’t have a lot of $$ and would like to pursue the rice diet….any info and recipies would be appreciated. thanks.

  • meg

    Can I substitute the dairy for soy products? I am aware those are high in fat – but am lactose intolerant…

    • Cat

      I would get the Lactaid or store brand lactose-free fat-free milk. With diets like these you have to keep the fat really low since it is high carb otherwise you won’t get same results. I have the same problem as you so I look for lactose-free milk if I can’t have almond or soy milk.

  • vicki

    Order the book on Amazon, used book. We do not like brown rice so use white. The book says its not the rice thats the key. You can use any low/non-fat food…its just to fill you up. Rice happens to be a good choice and mixed with veggies and seasonings is quite tasty. Didnt do fish and once or twice a week did a small portion of red meat.We use Mrs.Dash for seasoning. I dont use any salt but still use foods/canned that have salt, just low. We did no “white” foods during the week…sugar, salt,bread. We went 3 weeks on the diet, then just on the week days. Regular meals on weekend but didnt pig out. We also found we ate smaller meals so when we went out we sometimes split a meal.My husband likes a sweet at night so eats a Fudgesickle. He lost 70 pounds in 5 months for a trip to Hawaii. Put back on half but we are back on it.We exercised too at a club. Just made us feel better.

  • jess

    so i’m aout to use this diet but i havent got the book so i’m jst goin from what it says on here but am i aloud meat? and if yes how much a week?

  • naz

    any indian style breakfast ,lunch and dinner plan . pls pls

  • Helen

    Suprised by this diet. hAVE 1.5kg in 3 days. Am 72kg and aiming at 65 kg. It is very simple. I spread out the breakfast and lunch ingredients so that I have fruit snacks for morning tea and lunch. So far so good. I eat 1 cup cooked organic oats (porridge) for breakfast with 1 tsp sugar.

  • abyss

    what rice can i eat? I like to eat white basmati rice and I’ve tried brown rice, it’s horrible :/

    • jenn

      look for brown jasmine rice. it really makes a difference. add a little coconut oil for flavor. and sometimes, instead of cooking it in water, cook it in broth – my brothers favorite!

  • Paul

    International Rice Diet Report. I read this book back in 1989.About a lady who sold every thing she had and moved to Durham, NC to inrole in the rice diet program at Duke University. great read and very helpful with menus and motivation…just rice!

  • allison armour

    This is a great way to loose weight.I lost eight five pounds on this diet and have kept it off.Never felt hungry.The longer you are on this diet you learn more and more about your body.You find out how salt and artificial sweeteners really afect you.And yes you can eat carrots.The results are amazing.

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