Preparation is Key in Making Healthier Rice

Patient Expert

We've heard the warnings - be careful about eating rice regularly because consuming too much can increase the risk of health issues, such as diabetes. Rice has a lot of starch that turns into sugar when metabolized, which is often stored by the body as fat.

A Different Way of Making Rice

However, new research is suggesting that this caution may no longer be needed. That's because researchers have learned that cooking rice differently can result in a reduction of calories as well as the starch. The researchers measured the weight of the rice that is going to be cooked and then calculated three percent of that weight in coconut oil. They then added that amount of coconut oil to the boiling water before adding the raw rice. The rice is then cooked for the normal amount of time.   However, instead of eating it immediately, the rice was cooled in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. It was then reheated and served.

The researcher found that introducing the coconut oil into the cooking process reduces the digestible starch in the steamed rice, thus cutting the calories. The researchers are working to measure the chemical changes in 38 different types of rice that are found in Sri Lanka.   They have found that this cooking method reduces calories by 10-12 percent in the least healthful types of rice and believe that the preparation method will result in a 50-60 percent reduction in calories in the healthier types of rice. The researchers also will be experimenting with oils such as sunflower oil to see if they display similar properties when cooked by rice.

Different types, different health benefits

This staple is often eaten in Asia and the Caribbean. Americans also are increasingly adding rice to their diet. We are increasingly branching out past white rice and trying specialty rice such as basmati, red and blends. It turns out that darker rice has more fiber than white rice because the outer layer - called the bran - hasn't been polished off to display the white interior. For instance, brown rice is a great source of manganese and selenium and a good source of phosphorus, magnesium and copper. This type of rice provides antioxidant protection, lowers cholesterol and helps produce energy for the body. It also provides significant cardiovascular benefits for women after they go through menopause. Wild rice also has more protein than grains that are light colored.

I'd encourage you to try the researchers' way of preparing rice whenever possible. It may take some advanced planning, but the health benefits are worth it

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Primary Sources for This Sharepost:

Cuba, J. (2015). New low-calorie rice cooking method could cut 60% of the calories your body absorbs. Medicaldaily.com.

Ferdman, R. A. (2015). Scientists have discoveredsimple way to cook rice that dramatically cutes the calories. The Washington Post.

George Mateljan Foundation. (ND). Brown rice.

Nassauer, S. (2014). Black and red and wild all over: The supermarket rice aisle. The Wall Street Journal.