Sudhair James, an undergraduate student at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka and his mentor Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajah, came up with a new technique to cook rice that drastically reduces its calories by 50 percent and even offer a few other added health benefits.
According to James, the technique involves cooking the rice in a saucepan as per normal, but when the water is boiling (before adding the raw rice) — add coconut oil — about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you’re going to cook.
After it’s ready, all that’s left to do is let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That’s it.
James and Thavarajva tested eight different recipes on 38 different kinds of rice found in Sri Lanka. They found that by adding a lipid (coconut oil in this case, because it’s widely used in Sri Lanka) ahead of cooking the rice, and then cooling the rice immediately after it was done, they were able to drastically change its composition—and for the better.
“The oil interacts with the starch in rice and changes its architecture,” said James. “Chilling the rice then helps foster the conversion of starches. The result is a healthier serving, even when you heat it back up.”
So far they have only measured the chemical outcome of the most effective cooking method for the least healthful of the 38 varieties. But that variety still produced a 10 to 12 percent reduction in calories. “With the better kind, we expect to reduce the calories by as much as 50 to 60 percent,” said James.
Reducing digestible starch decreases its calories
Not all starches, as it happens, are created equal. Some, known as digestible starches, take only a little time to digest, are quickly turned into glucose, and then later glycogen.
Excess glycogen ends up adding to the size of our guts if we don’t expend enough energy to burn it off.
Resistant starches on the other hand, take a long time for the body to process, aren’t converted into glucose or glycogen because we lack the ability to digest them, and add up to fewer calories.
A growing body of research, however, has shown that it might be possible to change the types of starches found in foods by modifying how they are prepared.
Rice, depending on the method of preparation, undergoes observable chemical changes. Most notably, fried rice and pilaf style rice have a greater proportion of resistant starch than the most commonly eaten type, steamed rice, as strange as that might seem.
“If you can reduce the digestible starch in something like steamed rice, you can reduce the calories. The impact could be huge,” said Dr. Thavarajah.
Would you try out this new technique? Comment your thoughts down below!
News Source: Washington Post