How Do Chinese Eat Rice and Stay Thin?

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

how do chinese eat rice and stay thin

One of the most searched questions on the internet is “how do chinese eat rice and stay thin“. Most of Asia shares a beneficial rice-based diet with unique usage of herbs for their medicinal benefit. Western science has now found many of these medical claims to be factual.

Rice can make you skinny by offering a healthy low carb base for foods. It can make the biggest difference for those with diets heavy in gluten; especially from bread or pasta. 

Many people attribute the prevalence of low body weight averages in Asia to genetics or poverty. The truth is that Asians are skinny because they live healthier lifestyles with healthier diets. 

An increasing number of studies have shown the benefits of an Asian diet. They show a lower body fat average and a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Additionally, Asian diets have been shown to improve cognitive function and memory.

Why Are Asians So Skinny?

The prevalence of a lower body weight average, higher life expectancy, and lower risk of health issues related to weight can be attributed to culture and two outcomes: diet and beliefs. While a strict diet of rice would contribute to low body fat, it would also be unhealthy.

A rice-based diet can be incredibly healthy with a balance of fresh vegetables and proteins.

If you’re looking for a healthy diet that can help you lose weight, feel more energized, and improve your overall health, you should consider an Asian-styled diet. 

Diet: There are many benefits of following an Asian diet. For one, Asian diets are typically more plant-based than the western diet, which means it is lower in calories and fat. Additionally, Asian diets are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Beliefs: The traditions of food preparation and ingestion also contribute to a lower body weight average and improved overall health. From chinas belief of eating until you are no longer hungry, rather than engorged, and the Muslim tradition of fasting and practicing self-control, there are deep cultural beliefs that contribute to a healthier lifestyle and diet.

What Do Chinese People Eat?

Rice vs Bread

Rice is a complex carbohydrate that is broken down slowly providing lasting energy. Bread is made from simple carbohydrates that are quickly broken down and can cause blood sugar spikes.

bowl of rice and vegetables on the table

Rice is also gluten-free, while bread contains gluten. Finally, rice is a good source of vitamins and minerals, while the bread is not. Rice contains thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6 along with fiber and protein.

Traditional Herbs

The use of herbs in Chinese cuisine has a long history, dating back to the days of ancient China. These herbs are not just used for flavor but also for their medicinal benefits. 

Recent studies have shown that there are indeed medicinal benefits to be found in some of the most popular Chinese herbs., 

The hibiscus flower is a popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine. It can be used to make tea, soup, or as a natural food coloring. The hibiscus has a long history in Chinese culture and its nutritional value has been appreciated for centuries.

The hibiscus is a source of antioxidants and vitamins, and it is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. In traditional Chinese medicine, the hibiscus is often used to treat sore throats and coughs. Studies have found hibiscus to reduce body fat among other benefits.

The Cordyceps mushroom has been used in Chinese cuisine for centuries. Also known as winter mushrooms, these fungi are prized for their medicinal properties and used in soups and stews. They are a wonderful source of fiber, protein, and vitamins, and they are low in calories. Studies have found the cordyceps mushroom to hold antimicrobial, hypoglycemic, and anti-aging properties, among others.

Ginseng has been shown to boost energy levels and improve brain function. Other herbs like ginger and garlic are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Green tea is packed with antioxidants that can help protect the body from disease. It also contains a significant amount of caffeine which can help lower hunger and accomplish the Chinese tradition of eating until 70% full. There are other foods for improving the immune system.

Other Asian Diets:


The Thai diet is based on the country’s climate, culture, and agricultural traditions. The diet is typically low in fat and calories and high in fresh fruits and vegetables. It also includes a variety of seafood and uses rice as a base in the form of noodles, dumplings, or steamed rice. 

Some common herbs used in Thai cuisine include lemongrass, ginger, basil, and morning glory, among others. 

Basil: Basil contains antioxidants along with anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

basil leaves and cherry tomatoes

Ginger: Recent studies show that ginger reduces inflammation, eases nausea, and improves blood circulation.

Morning Glory: Reduced inflammation, improved circulation, reduced anxiety and stress, improved digestion, and improved energy levels.

The Thai diet has long been praised for its health benefits. Numerous studies have shown that the Thai diet can improve heart health, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of various diseases. The Thai diet is also rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants, which can boost health and well-being.

If you’re looking for a healthy diet to try, the Thai diet is a great option. Not only is it delicious, but it also offers some remarkable health benefits.

North India vs North-Eastern India:

India offers a very interesting case study on diets and the resulting BMI. North East India is predominantly rice-based while North India holds an especially high intake of dairy and bread. North Indians typically eat curries with wheat-based bread such as nan and roti.

The northern state of Punjab is the most obese in the country with 22.2% of men and 29.9% of women reporting a BMI above 25. Meanwhile, in the northeastern state of Tripura, only 5.95% of people report a BMI above 25.

What Are the 5 Foods that Cause Belly Fat?

There are many foods that can cause belly fat, but some are worse than others. Here are the five worst offenders:

Processed meats – these are high in saturated fats and can lead to weight gain and belly fat

Refined carbs – these include white bread, pasta, and pastries, and can cause bloating and weight gain

Sugary drinks – soda and sports drinks are high in sugar and calories.

Alcohol – alcohol contains calories and slows the metabolism.

Unhealthy fats – trans fats and saturated fats are unhealthy and can lead to weight gain. Natural fats can be healthy in moderation.

You can read more about foods that are healthy here.

How Much Rice do Chinese and Japanese Eat?

On average, Chinese people consume around 127 kilograms of rice per year. That is significantly more than the global average of 58 kilograms per person. In Japan, rice consumption is even higher, with the average person eating around 178 kilograms of rice per year.

woman holding a bowl of rice and chopsticks

So why do these two groups eat so much rice? In China, rice has been a staple food throughout recorded history. In Japan, meanwhile, rice was introduced from China around 2,000 years ago and quickly became a staple food. This is likely due to the grain’s flexibility and health benefits.

Why is Rice Bad for You?

White rice is made by removing the bran and germ from the rice grain, which reduces the fiber content. It also causes the rice to lose many of its nutrients, including thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6.

White rice is a high glycemic food, meaning it causes a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This can lead to insulin resistance and increased risk for type 2 diabetes. White rice is also higher in calories and has a higher glycemic load than brown rice. 

For these reasons, it is best to choose whole grain rice over other options.

Does Rice Cause Belly Fat?

High glycemic foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels. The body releases insulin when blood sugar rises too quickly to bring them back down. This can cause the body to store more fat, leading to weight gain.

So if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to avoid high glycemic foods. But what exactly are these foods? Here’s a quick rundown:

-Refined carbohydrates: white bread, pasta, rice

-Processed foods: cookies, cakes, crackers

-Sugary drinks: soda, fruit juice, energy drinks.

If you want to lose weight, it’s best to avoid these high glycemic foods. Stick to whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein instead.

Will I Lose Weight if I Stop Eating White Rice?

This depends if you are using white rice to replace bread, in which case white rice is much better for weight loss. If you replace white rice with brown rice, then you can expect even greater health benefits.

woman getting cooked brown rice from a rice cooker

How Much Rice Does a Chinese Person Eat per Day?

Chinese people are estimated to eat around 158 grams of rice per day. Rice consumption is typically higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

Why Do Chinese People Eat Rice Every Day?

It is a common misconception that Chinese people eat rice every day because they are poor and cannot afford to eat anything else.

That is a reality for many throughout Asia, however, the truth is that rice is a staple food in Chinese and much of Asian culture and has been for thousands of years. There are many reasons why Chinese people continue to eat rice on a daily basis, including its nutritional value and its flexibility.

Rice is a good source of carbohydrates and provides the body with energy. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6. Additionally, rice is easy to digest, especially in comparison to bread. 

Rice is also popular due to its many methods of preparation. Rice can be boiled, steamed, or fried and can be used to produce noodles, dumplings, or rice pudding and porridge.


Not only are Asian diets healthy, but they are delicious too. Transitioning to an Asian diet might be impossible. One option is to begin a rice-based diet, which can include dishes from Turkey to Japan. You can then use supplements to attain the same benefits of herbs found in eastern cuisine.

The Optima healthy gut solution was specifically designed with these benefits in mind with both hibiscus and the cordyceps mushroom. It also has natural lipotropic compounds; the nutrients that convert fats to energy, rather than fat in your body.

Additionally, it contains the nutritional equivalent of lipotropic compounds for protein, sugars, carbs, and dairy. Protease, Cellulase, Amylase, and Lactase, respectively. This solution also contains a number of other herbs with significant benefits for health and weight loss which you can read more about.

You also may want to read this article about probiotics for cleansing your system before transitioning to a new diet.

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