Scientists Have Figured Out How to Significantly Reduce the Calories in Rice

04/09/2015 09:38 am ET | Updated Jun 09, 2015

If you add coconut oil to the boiling water before cooking your rice, the starch will break down and you'll have a healthier meal.


Who doesn't love a big bowl of sticky white rice? Now you can munch to your heart's content -- without the guilt.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

We all know the drill by now: Limit your intake of refined starches like white bread and rice, and replace them instead with whole grain starches. But if you're like us, sometimes there's nothing quite like a bowl of rice drowning in soy sauce and stir fried-vegetables.

Well, scientists have figured out a way for you to eat white rice without the guilt. Apparently, if you add coconut oil (about three percent of the weight of the rice you are going to cook) to the boiling water before cooking the rice, the oils will begin to break down the digestible starchy components of the rice, greatly reducing its caloric composition.

The revelation comes from Dr. Pushparajah Thavarajah, a professor at the University of Sri Lanka, and undergraduate student Sudhair James, who presented their research to the American Chemical Society.

"The oil interacts with the starch in rice and changes its architecture," James told The Washington Post. "Chilling the rice then helps foster the conversion of starches. The result is a healthier serving, even when you heat it back up."

This could be a particularly important discovery for developing countries, where the majority of the population relies on rice as a cheap source of nutrition. As a result of relying on refined starches for meals, the obesity rates of those countries have increased steadily. The researchers say that they want to try a similar experiment with bread.

-Joanna Fantozzi,The Daily Meal