Duke University has devised a diet program called the Rice Diet, which claims to help treat heart disease and prevent diabetes while rapidly losing weight. The lifestyle program was created in 1939 by Walter Kempner, who was at the time experimenting on the effects of rice among people suffering from hypertension and diabetes. Since then, the Rice Diet has been teaching patients about the basics in fostering healthy lifestyle changes through constant monitoring, educational classes, and a support from medical professionals.
History – Kempner discovered in his experiments that people who eat rice in their daily diet rarely suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes. He eventually devised a diet plan of rice, fruit, juices, and sugar along with iron and vitamin supplements. Since then, the Rice Diet program has been operated in Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, wherein patients are medically supervised over the course of two to four weeks while living near the university.
The gist – The menu selection is limited at first, but participants get to have a wide range of food items over time, including a variety of rice. The Rice Diet restricts its participants from sugar and processed foods, arguing that sugar and sodium stimulates appetite. Calories are also limited from under 1,000 to a little over 1,200.
The phases – The program consists of three phases. Phase one is called Basic Rice Diet and lasts for a week. In this phase, participants eat 2 fruits and 2 types of starches only for each of the three meals on the first day. For the rest of the week, the Lacto-Vegetarian Rice Diet is introduced, where whole-grain cereal or bread and non-fat dairy are added. Breakfast features one starch, one non-fat dairy, and one fruit. Lunch and dinner consist of three starches, three vegetables, and a fruit. Phase One is meant to detox and prepare the body for weight loss.
In the second phase, each week begins with one day of Basic Rice Diet followed by five days of Lacto-Vegetarian Rice Diet. On the seventh day, the Vegetarian Plus Rice Diet is introduced where one protein is added to the diet. Breakfast consists of two starches and one fruit; lunch has three starches, three vegetables, and one fruit; while dinner includes three starches, three protein, three vegetables, and one fruit. This phase has an increased intake of sodium that naturally occurs in whole foods.
The third phase is the called the Maintenance Phase. The diet is the same as phase two, but with more food choices.
Results – According to Duke University, participants lose an average of 20 to 30 pounds in the first month, with a weight loss of two to three pounds a week as long as they stick to the diet.