There have been numerous videos about being able to reduce the calories in rice by 50%. What’s the science behind it and is it really true? Let’s go through the process and answer the question once and for all.
It’s been said that if you cook rice in a very specific way, you can reduce the calories by 50%. So is this true? Or just another Old Wives’ Tale? Let’s find out…
Hello YouTube, Sam Ridgeway here, owner of Viking Alternative Medicine and today we’re going to get to the bottom of the question, “Can You Cook Rice in Such a Way as to Reduce the Calories by 50%”?
Now I’m sure you’ve all heard about this because it’s been all over the Internet since 2015. Numerous YouTube Videos… Even Doctor Oz himself featured it on one of his shows…
Dr. Oz Show Clip…
And the instructions go like this… you use 1 teaspoon of coconut oil for every half cup of dry rice. You cook that rice like normal, let it cool, and then refrigerate it for at least 12 hours. If you do these things, your rice will magically contain 50% fewer calories. Just heat it back up and… BAM… you’ve got diet rice.
Now, this sounds perfect to me because I love rice. But my interest in this isn’t to get half the calories from the same portion of rice… I’m far more interested in being able to eat twice as much rice while getting the same number of calories.
But if this doesn’t work as advertised, I’m obviously doing more harm than good. So let’s start by understanding where the diet rice concept originally came from…
The original experiment was done at the College of Chemical Sciences in Colombo, Sri Lanka by a chemist named Sudhair James. Now, his team found that when they added 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to every 1/2 cup of rice… and they refrigerated that cooked rice for 12 hours… the finished product had a 10 to 12 percent reduction in net calories.
Obviously 10 to 12 percent isn’t even close to 50%. But we’ll get to where the 50% number came from in a minute.
What James explained happened scientifically… is the coconut oil starts a chemical reaction within the rice, during the process of heating and then cooling. It causes the very digestible starches in the rice to be changed to fiber-like starches that can’t be digested… also known as Resistant Starch. This type of starch can’t be broken down at all by human digestive enzymes. So it simply passes through the system without being used by the body at all… very similar to what happens to fiber. And once that reaction happens… it’s permanent. Heating the rice back up before eating it doesn’t reverse the process…
Now you might be saying to yourself… what about the calories added from the coconut oil? Wouldn’t that add to the overall total number of calories? And the answer is No. The study found if you add just the right amount of coconut oil, it’s absorbed during the chemical conversion process and it becomes it’s own entirely new compound… which is another variation of the same Resistant Starch. So coconut oil becomes nothing more than a catalyst in this process. And in the end… it’s transformed into a compound that adds zero calories to the finished product.
But let’s get back to why the actual experiment itself showed a 10 – 12 percent reduction in calories, but the Internet, including Dr. Oz, claims there’s a 50% reduction.
Well this discrepancy happened because in the presentation James gave about his experiment, he said, “It may be possible to get as much as a 50% reduction with other varieties of rice.”
But this was entirely speculative… there were no studies done to support that, nor were his findings ever published in any journal where other chemists could publicly confirm or deny these claims. In fact, I can’t find a single study where multiple varieties of rice… were cooked with coconut oil… and tested for a caloric reduction.
Here’s what I will say though… if this were true… you don’t think for one second that Minute Rice would have already come out with a brand new product called Skinny Rice… and subsequently, cornered the entire rice market? You don’t think anybody at Minute Rice watches the Dr. Oz show? I mean let’s be real… if I ran Kraft Foods… which is the company that owns Minute Rice… this concept would have been tested on more strains of rice than all of us collectively know exists.
So yes… I believe you can get a 10 – 12 percent reduction in the calories of rice when cooked with coconut oil and refrigerated for 12 hours. And, since a cup of rice runs around 200 calories… you’re saving approximately 20 to 30 calories in each cup. Is that worth it? I suppose that’s a judgment call.
But until there’s unequivocal evidence that a particular strain of rice can get up to a 50% reduction in calories… I wouldn’t double up on the serving size just yet. In fact, the only thing I’d believe if I were you… is that You’re Never Too Old to Live Like A Viking.