Nancy Dell: Cooking rice lowers calories; Are bananas fattening?


1. I love rice but it is so high in calories. Are there any “lite” or low calorie rice?
Maria, Internet

Rice is a delicious, inexpensive way to fill up for many people. One cup cooked has 240 calories and there is no lower calorie rice.

However, the way you cook your rice can significantly cut the calories. Some of the starch in rice is resistant to digestion. This starch is called “Resistant Starch” and you do not absorb the calories from resistant starch. Researchers in Sri Lanka were able to cook rice and increase the resistant starch 10 fold, cutting the calories nearly in half.

Here is what you do: boil the water and add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil for each 1/2 cup of raw rice. Add the rice and cook it as you would normally. Then cool the rice in the refrigerator for 12 hours. When the rice cools, the resistant starch forms but with the coconut oil added, the resistant starch is 10 times greater, even if you reheat the rice.

So if you are trying to cut calories, use this cooking method and also load it up with lots of colorful vegetables to dilute the calories. And of course, you’ll get the most nutrition from brown rice.

Pasta and potato also form resistant starch when the cool. So cooking them with the coconut oil and cooling them may work to lower calories in other starches. The researchers are testing it and we will let you know the results.

2. A friend told me bananas are fattening and not very healthy. I love them. Do they have health benefits?
Ben, Hadley

I don’t know anyone who ever got fat from eating bananas. Research suggests bananas may help regulate blood pressure. They provide a compound that helps destroy the bacteria called H Pylori that is responsible for most ulcers. Plus they are high in heart healthy potassium, fiber and B-6.

So enjoy your bananas. They may only be fattening when you dip them in lots of chocolate and top them with ice cream.

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