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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
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.
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.
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.
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
By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
- 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. The effect of “rice diet” on plasma volume and extracellular fluid space in hypertensive subjects. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 29(7), 912. link
Last Reviewed: January 11, 2018