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How many use coconut oil to cook rice?
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: An undergraduate student at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka has discovered a new way to cook rice that can reduce its calories by as much as 50 percent and even add other health benefits.
“What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil—about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you’re going to cook,” said Sudhair James, who presented his preliminary research at National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on Monday. “After it was ready, we let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That’s it,” he told the Washington Post.
A growing field of research has shown it might be possible to modify the types of starches found in food by changing up how they’re prepared. Potatoes, for instance, are a healthy, starchy food, but when they’re cooked or mashed the starch turns into the less healthy kind.
“If you can reduce the digestible starch in something like steamed rice, you can reduce the calories,” Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajah, a professor who is supervising the research, explained to The Washington Post. “The impact could be huge.”
With their specific goal in mind, James and Thavarajva tested eight different recipes on 38 different varieties of rice found in Sri Lanka. What they found is that by adding a lipid, such as coconut oil, before cooking the rice, and then cooling the rice immediately after it was done, they were able to drastically change its starch composition for the better.
“The result is a healthier serving, even when you heat it back up,” James beamed.
With obesity rates around the world skyrocketing, calorically reduced food may well hold the key to the healthier future.
“Obesity has been a problem in the United States for some time. But it’s becoming a problem in Asia, too. People are eating larger and larger portions of rice, which isn’t good,” Thavarajah told the Post.
“It’s about more than rice,” he continued. “I mean, can we do the same thing for bread? That’s the real question here.”
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