I don’t know if you heard about this, but I’ve been reading tones of headlines from ABC, Times or Yahoo, which say that there’s a new way to cook rise that can cut rise calories in half when you cook it with coconut oil. I was like “WHAT!?”.
Apparently a researcher from the College Of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka actually has been toying with a way to cook rice that can potentially cut rice calories by 50%. So how do you do it?
Basically you cook rise as you normally would (2 cups of water to 1 cup or rice). Boil the water, then take 3% of the weight of the rice in coconut oil, pour that in the water and then boil the rice. After that you need to chill it in the fridge for 12 hours, take it out the next day, microwave it and BAM: your rice is 50% less in calories.
So How Do They Actually Cut Rice Calories?
Before we go into the chemical reactions, let’s first understand that in high carbohydrate foods like rice, bread, pasta, peas, corn you have 2 types of starches: the digestible starches which take very little time to digest and then you have the resistant starches which take a lot longer to process in your body.
Digestible starches are quickly turned into glucose, then into glycogen, and this is where your energy comes from. If you don’t spend that amount of energy that you have sitting around, that turns into weight gain.
Resistant starches on the other hand are different because they are not turned into glucose and glycogen. Your body is not able to break them down and digest them and they actually pass through your digestive track without adding the full amount of calories into your diet.
So what the research found here was that you can actually change the composition of your food and what kind of starches you have in your food just by the way you prepare it.
When the oil and the rice are prepared together the oil and rice interact and changes the architecture of the rice. Then when we chill the rice it actually helps faster the conversion of the starches from your digestible to your resistant starch. The great thing is that you can reheat it in the microwave or in the stove and it doesn’t change the levels of resistance starch.
So at the end of the article what I’ve read was that the researchers tested this experiment on 38 types of rice, the least helpful kind. So in their actual experiment in the lab they were able to decrease the calories of the rice by about 10%. Also they said that they could possibly and potentially decrease the rice calories of more “healthy” rices by 50-60%.
But Our Kitchen Is Not A Lab
If I can cut rice calories in half then this is amazing and I love science! However, I felt that the journalism and the PR behind this whole experiment was just like blown way out of the proportion. All the headlines were sensationalize. When you actually read through the articles, nobody ever says anything about what happens to the coconut oil that was added in, where did those calories go? It turns out that a lot of people were questioning the article.
I don’t question that they increased the level of resistant starch in the rice, but we must also keep in mind that this experiment that they’ve done to cut rice calories was done in a lab, in different conditions we usually have in our kitchen. Also they cooked the rice in vitro. So even they were able to increase the levels of resistance starch, we must ask ourselves how that rice actually interacts with our bodies?
What The Numbers Are Saying?
Let’s get to the numbers we’re cut because I was really interested to know that if you add in the coconut oil, are you add an excess or are you add a deficit of calories? Let’s do the math!
1. One cup of uncooked white rice (180 g) is 660 calories.
2. They said you need to add 3% of the weight of the rice you’re about to cook, in coconut oil: 3% x 180 g = 5.4 g. That is about 50 calories of coconut oil.
3. It says that you can lose 10% of the rice calories: 660 cals – (10% x 660 cals) = 594 cals.
4. So let’s add the calories from the coconut oil: 594 cals + 50 cals = 644 cals.
So is it worth it to do all that to really just be at a tiny deficit?
I like what scientists discover because it really helps propel our society and the way our lives are. My problem is the journalism and the PR around this research was really misleading.
I hope you really enjoyed this article about this new way to cut rice calories in half. Let me know in the comments below what do you think about this research. Stay fit!