Rice vs Bread for Bodybuilding – The Clear Truth

Rice and Bread

Carbohydrates are an important part of the bodybuilding diet. They provide energy to fuel muscles, they can help you recover after working out, and they help you put on muscle or lose weight. Carbohydrates come in many forms but today we will specifically focus on rice vs bread. It is important that you choose the right one in your diet to help you reach your goals.

There are reasons to choose one over the other but it depends on your goal. Rice is right for those who want to gain muscle without worrying about fat or weight gain. Bread is a better choice for those who want to maintain or lose weight because of the higher fiber and protein content. Even though bread is generally better for cutting weight, remember that both can be utilized in a caloric deficit

Macronutrients in Rice vs Bread

When choosing foods for bodybuilding, the macronutrient profile is the most important as this is what will give the body energy/calories. Most commonly, you will find 2 options for both rice and bread:

Food Calories Carbs Protein Fat
Brown Rice 111 23 3 1
White Rice 123 26 3 >1
Wheat Bread 267 48 10 3
White Bread 293 54 9 4
100g servings sourced from the USDA and Happy Forks

Bodybuilders use food to either cut weight or put on muscle. Those looking to cut or maintain weight will gravitate to lower-calorie foods such as bread whereas those looking to bulk will go for rice. A single slice of white bread has 60 calories. If you ate 4 slices you would be up to 240 calories and if you ate around six slices, you would be up to 360 calories. A cup of cooked rice, on the other hand, is around 200 calories. If you ate 7 cups of cooked rice, you would be up to 1,400 calories. It seems pretty clear-cut why one would choose bread over rice when looking to lose weight. 

What to Look for When Buying Rice

We will spare you some time and let you know up front that between white rice and brown rice, it doesn’t matter all that much. Brown rice has slightly more nutritional value and more fiber which may contribute to feeling full for longer. Fiber is more difficult for the body to break down. We talk more about rice in our article linked here.

Choosing between rice vs bread? Rice will help you gain weight
Rice vs Bread for Bodybuilding - The Clear Truth 1

What to Look for When Buying Bread

When buying bread, look at the ingredients first. Bread that is made with 100% whole wheat flour will be higher in fiber and protein than those that use bleached flour. This is because the whole grain has not been stripped of its germ and bran layers which contain a large amount of dietary fiber and several key nutrients including iron, vitamin E, B vitamins, and minerals such as chromium and magnesium.

Look at the nutritional information on any bread before you buy it so that you can compare similar types of bread to each other. This will allow you to choose which is best for your bodybuilding needs.

If you are cognizant of crazy ingredients pumped into all the food at the supermarket, remember that bread only requires 4 ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt.

To take your bread to the next level, find some locally sourced sourdough bread. Sourdough bread is fermented and can provide you with extra benefits. Make sure not to source from the grocery store as it is likely FAKE and not fermented.

Rice vs Bread for Bodybuilding - The Clear Truth 2

High Protein Meals with Bread

Egg salad sandwich: Mix boiled eggs with Greek yogurt, mustard, and chopped celery. Spread the mixture on whole-grain bread.

Tuna salad sandwich: Mix canned tuna with Greek yogurt, chopped celery, and red onion. Spread the mixture on whole-grain bread.

Peanut butter sandwich: Spread peanut butter on whole-grain bread. You can add sliced bananas or apples for extra protein and fiber.

Grilled chicken sandwich: Grill chicken breast and add it to whole-grain bread with lettuce, tomato, and avocado.

Turkey sandwich: Add sliced turkey breast to whole-grain bread with lettuce, tomato, and avocado.

Hummus sandwich: Spread hummus on whole-grain bread. You can add sliced cucumber or tomato for extra flavor.

High Protein Meals with Rice

Chicken and rice bowls: A simple but time-tested combination for bodybuilders. Try adding avocados, cilantro, lime, sour cream/greek yogurt, cheese, black beans, corn, and tomatoes. Be sure to top it with your favorite sauce.

Tuna and rice: Cook rice in a pot with water. Mix canned tuna with Greek yogurt, chopped celery, and red onion. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Egg and rice: Cook rice in a pot with water. Fry an egg and add it on top of the rice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bed of rice topped with your favorite meat: Try Chicken, slices of top sirloin, and oily or white fish!

Is Rice or Bread Cheaper?

On a calorie-per-dollar basis, white bread is cheaper than rice at 3,333 calories per dollar. Rice comes in at 2,320 per dollar. When weighing these two options it is important to consider which one will make you fill full for longer. White bread and white rice is the easiest for your body to break down because it is highly processed and has lower fiber content, whereas grains like wheat bread and brown rice take longer. Experiment with these options and see how you feel.

Glycemic Index of Rice and Bread

Food Glycemic Index
White Rice 73
Brown Rice 68
White Bread 100
Wheat Bread 74

All of these grains have a high glycemic index(GI) and will be absorbed into the bloodstream and raise blood sugar levels quickly. Higher glycemic index foods or useful as a pre-workout and can fuel you a blood-boiling working. Lower GI foods can satiate you for longer and extend the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

Bottom Line

When choosing between rice or bread it is best to begin by looking at what your goals are. If you want to cut fat or maintain your current weight, look towards bread. If you want to put on muscle and gain a little fat along the way, go for the rice. If you are looking for a carb that will help you cut even more weight, read our article on potatoes vs. white rice.

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