Rice is one of the most common foods in the world, appearing in countless types of cuisine. It’s also a staple of most diets, since it’s cheap and pretty easy to make. However, it can be highly caloric: white rice is the worst in this respect, with about 200 calories per cup of cooked rice. That’s not great news for most college students.
However, scientists in Sri Lanka have come up with a new way to cook rice that can lower the calories of the dish by up to 50 percent, as well as adding health benefits. The method is simple: when boiling water, add coconut oil before adding the uncooked rice.
The study showed that the best amount of coconut oil to add was about 3 percent of the weight of the uncooked rice. After cooking the rice, refrigerate it for about 12 hours. Depending on the variety of rice used, scientists estimate the calories of your dish will be 10 to 50 percent lower. It really is that easy.
Surprisingly, the basis of this method isn’t magic – it’s chemistry. There are certain starches that are healthier than others. “Healthier” starches are called resistant starches, since they take longer for the body to digest, while digestible starches aren’t as good for you.
Rice is generally considered to be a digestible starch, though depending on methods of preparation, it can become more resistant (for example, fried rice and rice pilaf are more resistant ways of cooking rice). The combination of coconut oil and refrigeration does just that: it changes the composition of rice to make it more resistant, resulting in a healthier serving even when it’s reheated.
The best part? The scientists who discovered this method are actually an undergraduate student and his mentor. To all the students reading this article, that means there’s still time for you to change the culinary world. (Personally, I’m hoping for a way to cut the calories of cake…)
Find the full study here.
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