Updated 16 October 2015

Cooking rice differently can cut the calories by half

Research has found that slight changes in the way you cook rice could cut the number of calories in it by up to 60%.

Rice is arguably the world's most important food, providing 20% of the world's total energy needs, especially in Asian countries. It's also an intrinsic ingredient in western interpretations of Asian cuisine, especially dishes like sushi or curry. 

New research from a Sri Lankan university has potentially revolutionised rice's dietary profile and the way we approach it. Simply put, by cooking and eating rice in a slightly different way, it's possible to reduce the calorific load by as much as 60%, reported the BBC

The other good news is that it's quite simple to do, it doesn't require any fancy equipment or chemicals, just a little coconut oil, and a fridge. The rice should be cooked with a teaspoon of coconut oil stirred into the water, and then placed in the fridge for 12 hours. After this the rice can be reheated before eating, described the Washington Post. It's important that rice is stored in the fridge rather than at room temperature as the latter produces an ideal climate for the proliferation of dangerous bacteria that can cause food poisoning even after the rice is reheated.

Read: The benefits of brown rice protein

The result of this seemingly innocuous technique is that around half of the carbohydrates originally present in the rice become indigestible. and thus pass through the body without being metabolised. This is called resistant starch, and some scientists and policy makers believe it could be a big step in helping curb obesity. This is particularly true in light of the recent move away from carbohydrates being seen as a major part of a balanced diet, a cause championed by Tim Noakes and a host of other scientists around the world. 

Further research is now taking place to determine whether certain varieties of rice respond better to this method, as well as which other cooking oils are suitable. Coconut oil can be prohibitively expensive, and making this practice as easy as possible is key to ensuring its widespread adoption and, thus, its impact.

Read more:

Why carb addiction makes us fat 

Tim Noakes on carbohydrate intolerance 

Arsenic in rice poses health risk


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