Rice often gets a bad rap for being a fattening carbohydrate but this easily digestible, gluten-free grain has tons of health benefits. It can even be a good choice when you’re trying to lose weight, provided you choose the right kind.
In fact, a new international study of 136 countries suggests that eating more rice could help curb obesity. Obesity levels in countries that eat lots of rice are substantially lower than countries that consume less rice, according to research presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, UK.
“Eating rice seems to protect against weight gain. It’s possible that the fibre, nutrients, and plant compounds found in whole grains may increase feelings of fullness and prevent overeating,” says Professor Tomoko Imai from Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts, Kyoto, Japan who led the research.
She continues, “Rice is also low in fat and has a relatively low postprandial blood glucose level which suppresses insulin secretion. However, there are also reports that people who overeat rice are more likely to develop metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Therefore, an appropriate amount of rice intake may prevent obesity.”
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Health advocates like to recommend brown rice to those who are looking to shed some kilos, but this extra chewy variation may not be too everyone’s liking. Fret not, a new Japanese brand says it has found a way around this problem.
“Kinmemai Better White rice has a new way of polishing rice which retained most of its nutrients, like vitamin Bs and fiber, yet giving the same taste and mouth feel as white rice. This is a useful healthier alternative for families who have yet tried or not willing to try brown rice,” says Bibi Chia, Principal Dietitian of the Diabetes & Endocrine Centre at Raffles Hospital.
“Their rice also swells up 20 per cent more, so people are in fact eating 20 per cent less. It can be beneficial for those who are trying to cut down rice or carbohydrate intake for reasons such as to lose weight or for better control of diabetes,” she adds.
Here are 10 benefits of rice that have made it an enduring staple in our Asian diets: