Whether you think rice is a friend or foe to your diet, there’s one thing we can all agree on: It’s delicious. (If you don’t agree, I’m sorry, but I don’t understand you.) Now, scientists have gone and done something incredibly cool—they figured out a new way to cook the grain that could cut its calories in half…or more.
New research was presented at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, and revealed that adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to boiling water with a half-cup of non-fortified white rice, letting it simmer for 20 to 40 minutes, then refrigerating it for 12 hours may reduce the number of calories your body takes in by 50 to 60 percent.
Like I said: Seriously cool.
The researchers explained that rice contains two kinds of starch—one that is easily digestible, and one that’s resistant. Our bodies don’t have the enzymes needed to digest the resistant kind, which means it can’t break down that starch and transform it into the sugar that typically gets absorbed into the bloodstream. If you have extra sugar in your bloodstream, that gets turned into fat, which we know is no good. In other words, the scientists wanted to find a way to get the rice to have more resistant starch, rather than digestible ones, to avoid that extra sugar in the body.
This is where the coconut oil comes in. Adding it to the cooking process makes the starch granules resistant to the action of digestive enzymes, and then letting the rice cool for 12 hours pushes the process along. Translation: Same amount of rice, fewer calories into the body.
Bonus: You don’t have to eat the rice cold to get the desired effect. Reheating it the next day won’t affect results, the researchers found.
No word yet on whether it works on brown rice, or if other oils will do the same thing, but more testing will be done to figure all that good stuff out. For now, we’ll just continue to sing the praises of coconut oil as we dig in to a bowl of rice totally guilt-free.