Have you heard about the revolutionary new way to cook rice that cuts calories by as much as 60%? It’s being touted online as a miracle weight-reducing kitchen trick, and it sounds like a dieter’s dream.
Don’t believe it. It isn’t true.
But there is good science behind a rice-cooking technique that does cut calories—and makes rice less likely to spike your blood sugar levels.
Now that’s healthy.
Researchers at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka tested eight cooking variations on a variety of rice that’s common in their country. One variation resulted in rice that had about 15% more resistant starch, a form of starch that our bodies can’t digest, making it act more like fiber.
As a result, the rice cooked this way isn’t likely to raise blood sugar as quickly as regular rice—a good thing, because rice, especially white rice, tends to send blood sugar up pretty quickly. Since resistant starch can’t be digested, the new rice—at least the variety used in this study—also has about 10% to 15% fewer calories.
The 60% fewer calories claim? That came from the researchers speculating about what they might be able to achieve in future rice-cooking studies using other varieties of rice.
The successful technique is pretty simple: Add about one teaspoon of coconut oil to each half cup of dry rice, cook normally—and then refrigerate it for 12 hours.
The best part: You don’t have to eat the rice cold. You can enjoy it reheated and get the same benefits.
The oil combines with the starch, and cooling the rice turns that starch into resistant starch. You could also use a different oil such as olive oil, although only coconut oil was used in this study. The cooling technique is well-known to food researchers—potatoes that are boiled then cooled tend to have more resistant starch, for example.
All in all, it’s a pretty simple change that could have health benefits. Thinking of rice for tomorrow’s dinner? You could cook up a batch tonight—and use it tomorrow. Any healthy recipe for leftover rice is a good place to start.