Tips

Cut Rice's Calories in Half with This Cooking Trick

fried rice

By Dana Leigh Smith

Great news if you're looking for rapid weight loss results but love carbs: There’s now a science-backed way to slash the calories in your rice bowl by as much as 60 percent!

The best part is, you don’t need a fancy lab or a PhD to make the slimmed-down dish. Here’s how to whip it up: Add a teaspoon of coconut oil and a half cup of non-fortified white rice to a pot of boiling water. Cook it for about 40 minutes, stick it in the refrigerator for 12 hours and enjoy the rice either cold or reheated.

How does such a simple cooking hack—that adds fat, no less—slash calories? When the rice begins to cool, its glucose molecules form tight bonds called resistant starch. This type of starch, as the name implies, is resistant to digestion, meaning the body is not able to absorb as many calories or as much of the glucose (a nutrient that’s stored as fat if it’s not burned off) from each molecule. While you may be hesitant to add the oft-vilified oil to your pot, it actually plays an integral role in the process. As the rice cooks, the fat molecules find their way into the rice and act as an additional digestion barrier, the researchers explained at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting earlier this week. Still hesitant? Consider this: Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids, so it’s actually less apt to be stored as flab than other fats such as butter, an ingredient commonly used while cooking rice.

Rice cooked using this technique has at least 10 times the resistant starch as normally prepared rice, and up to 60 percent fewer calories. Best of all, the research team found that reheating the rice didn’t change the levels of resistant starch (as it does with pasta and potatoes), so this calorie-slashing cooking hack is safe for leftovers, too.


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