Colombo: Scientists in Sri Lanka have discovered that cooking rice with a teaspoon of coconut oil then refrigerating it for 12 hours more than halves the number of calories absorbed by the body. The change remains even if it is reheated.
The researchers from the College of Chemical Sciences in Colombo, Sri Lanka, say simply changing the way rice is cooked could help tackle the obesity epidemic.
Simple rice-cooking could reduce calories by 60 percent
“Because obesity is a growing health problem, especially in many developing countries, we wanted to find food-based solutions,” says Dr Sudhair James, who is at the College of Chemical Sciences, Colombo, Western, Sri Lanka. “We discovered that increasing rice resistant starch (RS) concentrations was a novel way to approach the problem.”
By using a specific heating and cooking regimen, he says, the scientists concluded that “if the best rice variety is processed, it might reduce the calories by about 50-60 percent.” One in four adults in England is obese and these figures are set to climb to 60 per cent of men, 50 per cent of women, by 2050.
Obesity and diabetes already costs the UK over £5billion every year which is likely to rise to £50 billion in the next 36 years. Rice contains around 240 calories per cup. The trick to bringing down the calorie content is by changing how the body digests it.
Usually the starchy carbohydrates in rice are broken down in the small intestine where they become glucose and are eventually stored as fat. However, cooking rice with a teaspoon of coconut oil, and then chilling for 12 hours appears to make half of the carbohydrate indigestible so it passes through the body without becoming fat.
“After your body converts carbohydrates into glucose, any leftover fuel gets converted into a polysaccharide carbohydrate called glycogen,” added Dr James.
“Your liver and muscles store glycogen for energy and quickly turn it back into glucose as needed. The issue is that the excess glucose that doesn’t get converted to glycogen ends up turning into fat, which can lead to excessive weight or obesity.”