Rice & Beans: Can You Live on Them Alone?

In the cold depths of winter, I enjoy nothing more than curling up on the sofa with a lovely cup of tea and watching Ant and Dec laugh and squirm at all the ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’ contestants. The celebrities are put through their paces from bizarre mind-challenging tasks such as being buried with thousands of insects, to being told they must jump out of a plane. The food provided within camp is arguably bland. It consists of just Rice and Beans; this is of course apart from the odd task where they must eat revolting offal or famously, a sheep’s eyeball!

This got me wondering, could we permanently live off just rice and beans? Would it be beneficial or detrimental to our health? Find out in Rice & Beans: Can You Live on Them Alone?

Top 3 Health Benefits of Rice

  • Nervous System – Rice has a rich variety of vitamin B’s, which are an essential vitamin in aiding the production of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that help maintain a healthy nervous system).
  • Blood Pressure – Rice can help maintain blood pressure levels due to its low sodium levels. If it were to substitute something that has high sodium levels in your diet, long term it could lead to lower blood pressure levels, reducing your chance of a heart attack.
  • Gluten Free – Rice has natural, anti-inflammatory benefits as it is gluten free. It is especially excellent for people with gluten intolerance as it will not cause irritation or inflammation in the gut.

Top 3 Health Benefits of Beans

  • Protein – Beans are rich in amino acids, which are essentially the components of protein. Protein is important as it plays an integral role in growth and repair within the body. Although all beans contain amino acids, only soybeans contain all of the 9 vital amino acids needed in your daily diet.
  • Cardiovascular Health – There appears to be extensive evidence from previous studies that relate that incorporating beans into your daily diet can reduce your chance of developing coronary heart disease. This is because the nutrients in beans help reduce cholesterol.
  • Diabetes – Beans are renowned for being superb for stabilising blood sugar levels, this is good for people who already have type 2 diabetes but it is also a preventative measure for people who maybe on the borderline of becoming diabetic.

Although it is evident that there are fantastic health benefits to both rice and beans, it is important to highlight that they alone wouldn’t be adequate for the very long term. Essential vitamins eg. vitamin C, are lacking meaning if you stuck to this diet over an extended period you would eventually develop scurvy.

The process of turning brown rice into white rice also removes many vital vitamins. Overall, you can not live off a purely rice and bean diet, it would eventually become detrimental to your health. However, there are great health benefits to incorporating them into your normal diet and it is perfectly safe for the ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’ contestants as they are only in the jungle for three weeks. Thankfully if the contestants feel lethargic due to the diet, they can always top up their nutrients by consuming the odd cockroach courtesy of Ant and Dec (just kidding, of course)!

Have you ever been on a survival-type diet – like eating just one or two foods exclusively for months on end? What effects did you notice? Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter Instagram!


Cahokia (2019) ‘Is rice good for you? 10 amazing health benefits of eating rice’ Available at https://www.cahokiarice.com/blogs/health/is-rice-good-for-you-10-amazing-health-benefits-of-eating-rice (Accessed 03/10/2020)

Warwick, W, K. (2020) ‘What are the health benefits of beans?’ Available at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320192#benefits (Accessed 03/10/2020)

Zielinski, S. (2012) ‘Man cannot live on rice and beans alone (but many do)’ Available at https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/05/03/151932410/man-cannot-live-on-rice-and-beans-alone-but-many-do?t=1601721745451&t=1601725733154 (Accessed 03/10/2020)

Sarah Lashley

Sarah is a recent Combined STEM graduate from The Open University. She majored in Biology and Psychology and is very passionate about the Biopsychosocial approach to health, believing a holistic view is most important. She will soon be embarking on a Master’s Degree in Health sciences. In her spare time, she loves to travel and experience different cultures, from working at Disney World to adventuring on a solo round the world trip. She enjoys keeping fit and setting herself fitness challenges to raise money for charity.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Keep Fit Kingdom