Rice lovers, rejoice! Scientists have developed a new way to cook rice that can drastically cut its calories by nearly a half. Get ready to find out how to make rice with less calories and fewer carbs for your next healthy meal.
We all know that not all carbs are created equal. The low-carb and no-carb diet fads may have scared some people away from rice, but as one of the world’s most popular and versatile food staples, rice is actually a much healthier choice than many processed carbs, particularly the wild-grain and brown varieties.
Unfortunately, plain old white rice is probably not that good for you; as a a starch-heavy food, it has even been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. But now, scientists have discovered a way to increase rice-resistant starch concentrations by transforming digestible starch into indigestible starch.
The reason that some people may stay away from rice, and indeed starch, as part of healthy diet is that the body turns starches into sugars, which can then be stored as fat. Starches are complex carbohydrates found in whole-grain foods, pasta, potatoes, and rice.
Here’s how it works. Your body metabolizes these carbohydrates into glucose, the body’s preferred energy (fuel) source. Then your cells take up the glucose that they need right away, and any leftover fuel gets transformed into a polysaccharide carbohydrate known as glycogen.
Glycogen is your body’s secondary energy source, and the reason we don’t have to eat every 15 minutes. Glycogen is stored in your liver and muscles as a backup source of fuel. When your body runs out of glucose, it reaches for glycogen for energy. If it is not needed by your body, glycogen is quickly converted back to glucose.
The problem is that excess glucose in the body ends up being transformed and stored as fat.
Now, however, you can enjoy rice without worrying about the starch-to-sugar-to-fat conversion by limiting the amount of rice starch that is digested with a simple cooking hack. Ready?
One Simple Trick To Cut Calories In Rice
Researchers experimented with 38 kinds of rice from Sri Lanka and developed a simple, easy trick to cut the calories by transforming the digestible starches into indigestible starches.
- Add one teaspoon of coconut oil to boiling water, and then prepare rice using a traditional simmer or boiling method.
- Cool (refrigerate) rice for 12 hours.
When researchers added coconut oil to the cooking water and then cooled the rice for 12 hours, the results were amazing: resistant starch levels were increased by 10 times.
How Does It Work?
The coconut oil enters the starch granules during cooking, changing their very architecture to be more resistant to digestive enzymes. By becoming indigestible, fewer calories from the starch are absorbed into the body.
The coconut oil is only half the trick, though. The cooling step is essential to reducing digestible starches.
Cooling the rice for 12 hours causes a gelatinization process where amylase (the soluble part of the starch) leaves the granules, turning it into a resistant starch.
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Reheating the rice will not undo this process, so you don’t have to eat it cold the next day (although cold rice can be delicious in salads and other dishes).
Only coconut oil has been tested at this point, but researchers plan on continuing to exam this process to see if other oils have the same effect.
If you have been avoiding rice, it may time to reintroduce yourself to this inexpensive and versatile complex carbohydrate that can be part of any healthy diet. Give the hack a go and let us know what you think on Facebook!