Love rice? Eat guilt free

Apr 21, 2015, 11:40 IST



How many good foods will you stop eating just because some half baked news reports say they are bad for us? Rice is a clear case in the point, particularly white rice, which has lately been maligned way too much by self appointed health food faddists. I beg to disagree.

I have grown up eating it. In fact, most meals my mom served ended with some rice. She said it was for prosperity and happiness. Let me add health to that: prosperity, happiness and health! Here are some facts and myths that will change the way you see rice.

Not Fattening!
Rice is eaten across the length-breath of our country, probably eaten in almost every meal in the Southern and North-eastern states. Consider the Japanese: they eat at least one rice-based dish per day (they believe it rude to leave any (rice) in the bowl). And we all know that the rate of obesity is the lowest in that country. I was in Japan a couple of years ago and in my five days there I spotted one overweight guy.  One… compare that to cultures which don’t eat rice at all. In fact a recent study done by a Japanese researcher and his colleagues at Temple University in Philadelphia has now identified a compound in rice which helps keep heart disease away. Maybe this explains why fewer people die of cardiovascular disease in Japan.

Vehicle for health
I am not trying to give rice a clean chit - no food deserves or gets that. But it is definitely not the villain it is being made out to be. In fact, I feel rice is a perfect food, piggy backing on which we can consume a lot of fibre and protein. Case in point: veggie-dal khichri, soya rice etc.

The GI paradox!
Also for me the idea that lower Glycemic Index of white rice (GI is the indicator of how quickly and how high a particular food raises blood sugar levels) is a problem, does not hold much water too. That’s because rice is rarely eaten alone, and it’s pairing with other foods reduces the GI impact, and slows down its digestion. Besides as with any other food, portion size is obviously important.

Go on, continue to enjoy rice without guilt. I do!