Does rice stunt growth?

Does rice stunt growth?



Growth is the irreversible increase of an organism’s size over a given period. It may also be defined as one of the characteristics of a living thing. Many foods affect our growth. The foods may increase or decrease our growth, as it depends upon the type of food which we are consuming. Foods have various qualities classified based on energy provision and other factors such as protein content and the content of carbohydrates in any food. Now, we will consider only one food item to relate it better with growth.

We are considering rice & stunting of growth individually to understand both. Rice, what is its composition, contribution to stunted growth. On the other hand, what is stunted growth & what are the factors that can affect it?

What is stunting of growth?

Stunted growth is a reduced growth rate in human development. Generally, stunting is the result of food insecurity which is related to Childhood specifically. Stunting is called the weak growth and development of children caused by many factors. 

These factors are;

  • Poor food intake
  • More frequent infection
  • Inadequate mental growth and;
  • Social development. 


Mainly stunting of growth is stated when children do not have the proper and average height for their age as given by the WHO Child Growth Standards median.

After discussing the stunting of Growth, the next question arises that, 

What do we know about rice?

Rice is one of the Human foods, named as staple foods, which has gained popularity in many parts of the world, where other cereals, such as maize, sorghum, and millet, or roots like potatoes and yams have traditionally dominated. The reason for its popularity is because of its high consumption in large areas of the world. There are even some origins where only rice is the basic meal a community consumes. 

Rice is a plant-based product. Plants generally encourage proper growth and development of the body by providing nutrients. It is cultivated all over the world. The cultivated plant-based items are named crops and cereals.

Nutritional Composition of Rice:-

Rice is undoubtedly a great source of energy among grains and cereals. Based on its composition, it is categorized in the food group carbohydrates. We know that carbohydrates are a great source of energy for the human body. Moreover, the protein quality of rice (66%) ranks only below that of oats (68%) and surpasses that of whole wheat (53%) and corn (49%). Other components may change when it is processed. It may result in a nearly 50% loss of the vitamin-B-complex, iron, and washing some of the rice before cooking further reduces the water-soluble vitamin content. However, the amino acids are less affected in this procedure. Rice is low in sodium and fat and is free of cholesterol, serving as an aid in preventing hypertension. That is another contributing factor to good health.


A question sometimes asked is, is it safe to eat rice?

It’s not more than a myth, that consuming rice will be unhealthy. Many myths and misconceptions about rice are that they are known to be unhealthy food to eat. In many different ways, rice has proven itself to be a good contribution to a healthy life.


Now moving toward the question that is rising, is it causing stunted growth? Or in other words, what are the side effects of eating rice or eating it in high amounts?

We can better answer this question by considering when we are talking about eating uncooked rice. But to be clear, eating raw rice can cause other discomforts such as food poisoning. A basic causing agent of food poisoning in rice is a bacterium called Bacillus cereus. It is usually present in rice and food made of rice that is not cleaned and processed properly.

Contribution of rice in stunt growth:-

Another concept also exists that rice may result in stunted growth. It can raise insulin levels in the body which will directly affect the Human Growth Hormone. This concept exists if we talk about consuming it frequently and in a good amount. But it’s still under debate and it requires further studies on it.

So, food poisoning isn’t the only risk that comes with eating uncooked rice. Eating raw rice can also originate from digestive issues. It contains a type of protein called lectin. That is commonly present in rice and other whole grains. These lectins are more dangerous to you than other food lectins, as these are not digested in the human body. That may result in damaging your digestive tract and causing vomiting and diarrhea. The symptoms you have after eating lectins in rice are similar to those you get after food poisoning. 

Some researchers suggested that if the rice crop itself is affected by different viruses like the rice dwarf virus or many others, which will highly affect the nutritional composition of the rice. But these symptoms and discomforts are associated with raw or uncooked rice, these last for less time. Other than that, eating properly cooked rice and safely processed rice products are healthy options to consume and one can’t get any impairment related to growth and height.



We have a clear image about stunting of growth as it is a primary condition in children and, there are many contributing factors to its development. Rice is not specifically affecting growth directly. So, we can detect that only if someone is not eating enough of his required calories then it may result in stunted growth. Rice specifically doesn’t result in lower growth, until its crop is not affected by many kinds of viruses or other pathogens. Considering all the factors of rice and its components, it has no harm to our growth.

             Rice by itself isn’t bad for your kids, so don’t panic, the rice isn’t going to prevent your kids from growing, but a diet high in carbohydrates and low in protein has been shown to stunt the growth of children. However, children who have a varied diet that consists of both carbohydrates and protein are the most likely to reach their full height as adults. 

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