Rice is the staple food for more than half of the world’s population, contains a lot of starch and it is used to make delicious dishes savory as well as sweet.

Due to the increase worldwide obesity, a team of scientists from Sri Lanka have developed a simple way to cook rice that could reduce the calories absorbed by the body by up to 60%. The scientists presented their findings at the meeting of the American Chemical Society in Denver.

Rice contains two types of starch: digestible and resistant. The digestible starches can be quickly broken down by our bodies, turn into glucose and store as fat if we do not burn it (increase weight or obesity). The resistant starch cannot be digested, they just pass through the large intestine therefore not absorbed by our body. Resistant starch shares some of the benefits of soluble fibers.

The scientists developed a method of cooking rice which changes the digestible starch to resistant starch.
To make the low caloric rice, add a teaspoon of coconut oil to boiling water. Stir in half a cup of rice and simmer until the rice
is fully cooked. Place the rice in the refrigerator for 12 hours, and the resistant starch will increase by 10 times, meaning that there are less digestible starch.

The coconut oil enter the starch granule during cooking and changes the structure of the starch so they are no longer affected by the digestive enzyme from our body. Refrigerating the rice is important because it expels the digestible part of the starch, and once the digestible part is outside of the rice granule, these molecules form strong bonds turning them into resistant starch. Interestingly, the amount of resistant starch did not change when the rice was reheated later.

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