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


  • Kempner, W. (1974). Treatment of hypertensive vascular disease with rice diet. Archives of internal medicine, 133(5), 758-790. link
  • Watkin, D. M., Froeb, H. F., Hatch, F. T., & Gutman, A. B. (1950). Effects of diet in essential hypertension: II. Results with unmodified Kempner rice diet in fifty hospitalized patients. The American journal of medicine, 9(4), 441-493. link
  • Murphy, R. J. (1950). The effect of “rice diet” on plasma volume and extracellular fluid space in hypertensive subjects. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 29(7), 912. link
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: December 16, 2014. Disclaimer


  1. Erik Trevino

    that looks very good.

  2. Ashley

    I am starting the rice diet soon…I want to lose 30 pounds. How long do you think this will take? I would like to have a date in mind to work hard. Thanks

  3. jennifer

    I have been on the rice diet now for 10 days. I have lost 13 pounds. I am also hypo-thyroid, so this is a miracle for me. I am logging my progress on sparkpeople.com which calculates my calories, carbs, protein, & fats. Only on the one day a week “fast”, am I low on protein.

    I’m also eating quinoa, and spitting up my 3 starches between rice and beans or something like that. My calories are around 1000-1300. Daily Protein for me on this diet is at 59 grams (RDA 60 grams). This protein count is with out regular milk drinking Almond milk instead.

    I am so FULL on this diet, that I am thinking about splitting up the 3 meals into 5-6 because I can’t eat all the food. (I’m also 5’10 and a size 16)

    I’ve been doing Kim Voit’s 7 day routine for exercise, walking or just yoga sans meditation. Being an Orthodox Christian, we eat like this almost half the year anyway, so now I can still diet and fast for Lent, Advent, etc.

  4. sarah

    i am looking to lose about 120lbs i ma going to do the rice diet,i ma also stopping eating meat and any sugar or pop. i have always been over 200lbs sence i was 13, i hope this works, i ma at the point that i am just imbarassed to go out in even a t-shirt, i will keep posting weekly and let you kn ow how it goes,i do not have a scale in the house so i will be judging by how my clothes fit and how i feel, fingers crossed:)

    • Kathy 2 days ago

      Hi Sarah, the lowest I recall is being 110 pounds in the 3rd grade. I think at times a scales can work both ways for a person. Most will tell you not to weigh yourself everyday, but I did. The reason, if I gained then, I would go back to a day in which I lost weight, and I would eat what I had written down, that helped me lose that weight. Also, my mind plays tricks on me. I can wake up feeling like I have lost and actually gained. Then there are days when I feel like I have gained, only to find out that I have really lost the weight. I have been through many diets, and even did stomach stapling back in 1991 (big mistake) now doctors are telling me to eat. My advice would be, find a pair a tight pants, and keep wearing them until they become loser. Try to get away from stretch pants and shorts. I say this only because you may find it harder to get into the non stretch ones after a while. I wish you the best of luck, and write me anytime if you would like to chat at thewriter_s_block@yahoo.com. I am trying to find a rice diet that my step brother had, but I lost it. and he is no longer around. It had both white and brown rice, a box of Uncle Ben’s rice, both red and green peppers, and broth. You had a cup at each meal, along with slice pineapples, and cottage cheese. You had a certain amount of meat for the day, and stuck to this diet for six days and on the seventh day you ate normal. Then the next day the process began again. If anyone knows of this rice diet please let me know, thank you and good luck Kathy (Kate)

  5. Andrea

    I love this diet. I felt healther, fuller, and even slept better. This is NOT truly a DIET. It’s a DIETA – or way of life. It teaches you how to eat healthy and it has come a long way since the 1970’s. I have done a load of research and if you follow it you WILL lose weight in a very healthy way because you’re not only loosing weight by having a low amount of calories. You also have to exercise. Does this take discipline? YES! But any diet out there does. As does any exercise routine. Please, read ALL of the material out there about the Rice Diet Solution BEFORE you actually try it because if you don’t know what you’re really getting yourself into you will NOT succeed with it. But, that’s true even if you are on Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or any other fad diet out there. I usually eat between 1200-1400 calories a day and I feel great and lose weight.

  6. ll

    Everyone must find a diet that works for them. I have done many diets in my life, but for the past 12 years, anytime I need to loose 10-15 pounds, it is my top choice. I even think it is healther than the average american’s diet. I really do not like a lot of meat and i like to get the weight off fast. Yes, i do tend to put on 10 or more over the holidays every year, but I am glad I know about the rice diet. Good luck finding a diet that works for you.

  7. melissa

    Since last Tuesday I’ve been doing the rice diet. I cheat (eat things I shouldn’t way too often), but I also keep track of calories and get plenty of water. I haven’t been able to exercise as much as I would like because of a chest infection, and am still down about six pounds since last Tuesday. No diet is perfect for anyone person, and the most difficult thing for me is trying to put enough variety into eating all these vegetables. So far, I’m thinking it’s a good choice for me.

  8. Katrina

    I did this diet before with great success. I just started on Monday and have lost 5 pounds. Once you get used to eat your basically just eating to fuel your body. You will amazed how quickly you feel full at each meal. Its worked well for me

  9. hannah

    who invented this diet??? and how much weight can you lose
    on this diet????