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College of Chemical Science, Sri Lanka: lose weight by cooking rice

Rice is a traditional part of many cuisines. It is one of the most popular foods due to its abundance and flavor.  Due to its high content of carbohydrates, it is not the first choice for those wishing to lose weight. The healthiest rice is brown rice because it has not been processed as much as the white one.

The calorie content of rice has not kept this food from being very popular. It is a delicacy that is enjoyed by many, despite it not being the healthiest. But an undergraduate student at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka along with his mentor have found the solution to rice’s calorie content.

"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. After it was ready, we let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That's it." said Sudhair James, during the presentation of his preliminary research.

The method is pretty simple and has the potential of reducing the calorie content of rice up to 50 per cent. In fact, it can even increase its nutritional value.

A little basic chemistry must be known in order to understand how the method works.  The main idea behind it is that the oil transforms the main composition of rice.  Rice contains lots of starch, which the body breaks down into sugar, and consequently, into fat.  The addition of oil transforms this digestible starch into a form of starch that takes more time for the body to break down.     

Suddhair James and his mentor, Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajah have tested this method on 38 types of rice available in Sri Lanka, all rich in starch.