“I’ve gained so much weight. I'm going to stop eating rice now.” This is a common expression we hear from people trying to lose weight. But before we blindly avoid it, here are the facts.

RICE is NOT fattening. A standard 30 gm of rice has only 0.5gm of fat. People presume it to be fattening because it has a higher content of starch.

Think about it: If rice really was that fattening, the entire Chinese population would be obese. The staple diet of Asian countries like China and Japan is rice, yet the population is relatively fit and lean. Also if rice was responsible to spike one’s insulin levels, then China would be the #1 diabetic nation in the world compared to the US. Most South Indian meals are rice preparations like idli, dosa, uttappa, appam etc. with sambhar or fish in coconut curry. But instead of being overweight or highly diabetic, they have a healthy lifestyle with tremendous energy, lovely tresses of hair, glowing skin and positivity to life.

Rice is a sacred grain. We use rice in our pujas, in our customs and traditions. India is a predominantly vegetarian country and for us meeting our protein requirements from vegetarian sources is a must. Did you know that rice has a higher protein content than wheat? Also, the absorption of proteins in the body is much better from rice as compared to wheat.

Yes, India has been heading towards obesity. But let us not blame rice for it. The real reason is the increased usage of processed food. People head to places serving French fries, burgers, pizzas and sugar-loaded dessert to celebrate important occasions or even to catch up with their friends on weekends. A typical meal is incomplete without soft drinks. To top it off, all this is accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle, working on our computer screens in our plush air-conditioned office cabins.

The next time you think of losing weight think about how to make your meals more healthy and balanced with your portions of rice rather than giving up on this noble grain. Go ahead and enjoy your pulao guilt-free!

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