Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:38 AM EDT

Healthy Eating Tips and Tricks: Try This Low Calorie Rice

Mar 25, 2015 12:07 PM EDT


It seems somewhat counterintuitive but obesity is actually a growing problem in some developing countries. We might associate that term with issues like extreme poverty and malnutrition. And while that's still true in some cases, modernization and increased access to food comes with its own set of issues, as reported on Physorg.

Along with increased consumption of sugar and fat, some of the obesity comes from bulking up on more available starches. To address this, some chemists from Sri Lanka wanted to make a form of rice that had less carbohydrates and therefore less calories. Did they breed or genetically engineer a special form of rice? No. After a lot of experimentation and working with 38 different kinds of rice, they found a way to achieve their goals through cooking.

It certainly wasn't easy to figure out, and is a bit more labor-intensive than your normal minute rice. However, the results are a deceptively simple process to reduce the calories in many varieties of rice by 50-60%. A certain percentage of starch in rice is called resistant starch, and can't be digested normally. The rest of the starch is broken down into simple sugars and absorbed in the small intestine.

By simmering half a cup of rice with a teaspoon of coconut oil for 40 minutes, and then letting it cool in the fridge for 12 hours, it increased the amount of resistant starch tenfold. The scientists say that the rice can also be boiled for up to 25 minutes instead of simmering, but the cooling step cannot be skipped. The interaction between the small amount of fat from the oil and the recrystallizing of the starches is essential for the conversion process.

Normally a science news article wouldn't be able to recommend trying something at home, but the chemist behind this process have designed it to be simple. With the hope obviously of counteracting obesity in diets where rice is a very large portion of calories. But if you love rice and are looking to cut down on carbs, why not try it yourself? 

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