Rice: Cook it, cool it, cut the calories

By 26. March 2015Blog, Health, Nutrition

Yep, strange as it sounds, it seems that when rice is boiled in water with a bit of coconut oil added and then cooled in the fridge for half a day it makes the starch less digestible and therefore delivers fewer calories.

Reported in numerous newspapers and websites over the last couple of days (but not visible on the American Chemical Society (ACS) website as this was published), Sri Lankan researchers claim to have told the ACS how they reduced the calories in rice by up to 60, 50 or 15% (depending on whether you read the story on the BBC, Washington Post or Spiegel Online websites respectively).

Apparently it is all down to the starch. According to a link on the BBC website, normally starch is converted to sugar in our bodies, but when starchy foods such as rice, pasta or potato are cooked and then allowed to cool something changes. Some of the starch becomes resistant to the enzymes in our bodies and so passes through us without delivering the potential payload, it is considered as a type of fibre.

The interesting thing is a quick internet search will tell you this is nothing new. Wikipedia for instance mentions that when some starchy food is cooked and then cooled some of the starch will be converted to its resistant form and there is an article on the BBC website from October last year that says the same happens to pasta. What I would like to know though is what is the coconut oil meant to do in this instance?

Click here to read more from the BBC website.