If you've been trying to stick with a low-carb diet or you're just watching your calorie intake in general, you've probably been staying away from rice. Since rice clocks in at about 240 calories a cup, that's generally a good idea. But what if you could eat the same amount of this filling food and absorb only 40-50% of those calories? Believe it or not, you can. You just have to make one simple adjustment to the way you cook it.
You may know that rice is a starchy carbohydrate. Starch comes in two forms, digestible and indigestible. Your small intestine breaks down digestible starch, turning it into sugar and sending it out to the bloodstream. But if you don't use all the sugar, your body stores it as fat. Indigestible, or resistant, starch just passes right on through the body. It's not absorbed at all.
Researchers at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka were concerned about growing rates of obesity in developing countries. Rice is often a staple food in these countries. So the researchers wondered if there was a way to make it less likely that people consuming lots of rice would absorb and store so many extra calories. They speculated that there might be a way to turn digestible starch into resistant starch.
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After experimenting with a number of different types of rice, they discovered that this is indeed possible. And you might be surprised to learn that their method involved adding oil — more calories — to the rice. But when oil collides with starch, it makes the starch resistant to digestive enzymes. Our bodies can't break the starch down easily, and it passes through the body.
There's one catch though. In order for this process to work, the rice and oil need to cool down. All the magic happens during the gelatinization process. Once the process is complete, it's fine to heat the rice back up. It's a little extra work, but I think cutting the calories in half is worth a little advanced planning. I gave this method a try, and I thought the reheated rice tasted just fine.
If you want to enjoy a side of rice without worrying about so many calories, all you have to do is add a teaspoon of coconut oil to boiling water. Add half a cup of rice and either simmer it for 40 minutes or boil it for 20-25 minutes. Then refrigerate it for at least 12 hours. You can make up a batch in the morning for dinner or just prep some for the next night while you're making tonight's dinner. It really couldn't be easier to cut your calories and still enjoy your rice!
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