Lovers of rice, prepare to buy new pants because your waistline is about to get smaller.
According to a Washington Post story, scientists in Sri Lanka have developed a way to cut down the calories of white rice by up to 50%. It involves a whole lot of science regarding starch, sugar, and the digestive process. I won’t pretend I’m anywhere close to smart enough to explain the glycogen creation process, but I think I somewhat understand what the scientists are doing to cut down on all of those calories. Allow me to (attempt to) explain…
Rice is filled with a type of starch that gets converted to sugar (glucose) as we digest it. Rice is also filled with another type of starch that doesn’t convert to glucose and doesn’t get absorbed into our giant, fat guts. If you can convert the starch that winds up as sugar into the other type of starch, you don’t gain those calories because you’re not digesting them. That’s exactly what Sudhair James and Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajva of the University of Sri Lanka have figured out.
By adding a small amount of coconut oil (3% of the rice weight) to the water used to boil raw rice and then cooling the rice for twelve hours, the researchers found that they were able to strip the rice of a serious amount of calories by converting one type of starch into the other. I have no idea how that works, but apparently it does.
This is great news for pretty much everyone. Since rice is consumed at a massive clip basically everywhere in the world, this could cut down on obesity in the world by a tremendous amount — assuming it’s a method that gets adopted by rice cookers the world over.
So many flights heading to Asia and elsewhere feature rice on their in-flight menus. I wonder if the caloric savings would be enough for any airlines to swap out their own white rice recipe for this new cooking method. It certainly adds time to the process, but if flyers demand this new “Diet Rice,” I could see it becoming a staple on flights worldwide. In the meantime, it may just help those of us looking to lose a few pounds without sacrificing rice from our meal plans.
No matter what, I’m buying new pants.