Scientists Discover Healthier Way to Cook Rice to Cut Calories in Half

Filipinos eating rice


For Filipinos, rice is part of the daily meal from breakfast to dinner. But do you know that a cup of medium grain cooked rice contains 240 calories? Rice is heavy in starch and easily converts into sugar, which could be stored as fat if you always eat plenty of them. But don’t worry, there’s now a healthier way to cook rice.

Thanks to the researchers at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka, you can now eat rice without worrying about your waistline and weight. By just adding coconut oil during rice cooking, the result of the study suggested that the calories could be cut from 50 to 60 percent if the best rice variety is processed.

“Because obesity is a growing health problem, especially in many developing countries, we wanted to find food-based solutions,” study team leader, Sudhair A. James of the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka, said on the press release. The experiment involved 38 kinds of rice from Sri Lanka.

“We discovered that increasing rice resistant starch (RS) concentrations was a novel way to approach the problem.” Mr. James added, with the findings presented during at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Denver, Colorado from March 22-26, 2015.

Based on the study, a specific heating and cooling process is required to increase the presence of resistant starch. This involves adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to boiling water, and adding half a cup of rice. Then simmer it for 40 minutes (or boiling it for 20 to 25 minutes) before putting it in a refrigerator for 12 hours.

“The cooling is essential because amylose, the soluble part of the starch, leaves the granules during gelatinization. Cooling for 12 hours will lead to formation of hydrogen bonds between the amylose molecules outside the rice grains which also turn it into a resistant starch.” Mr. James noted.

But because eating cold rice is not common, you can reheat it without affecting the RS levels, according to the study. However, eating reheated rice can possibly cause food poisoning. Therefore, make sure that the rice is steaming hot all the way through before you eat it. Rice should not be also in the ref for 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the same team plans to conduct another set of studies to determine which variety of rice is the best for the reduction of calories. The group will also check which other types of oil that can result to the same effect, besides coconut oil. Note, however, that there was no human study in the said experiment.

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