Over consumption of carbohydrates in the form of starchy food and sugar is the primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes and obesity. The process whereby carbohydrates and starch are transformed into fats is as follows. Starch found in carbohydrates can be digestible and indigestible – known as resistant starch (RS), more of this later. Starch is digested in the small intestine where it is metabolized and broken down into glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into the blood stream to be used as fuel for cells in our body.
Unused and excess glucose molecules in the blood get transported and stored inside the liver as glycogen. As high consumption of carbohydrate continues, more glycogen molecules are filling up the liver. When glycogen in the liver reached a certain level, they are then converted and packed into its more concentrated form, Triglycerides, “Tri” (Three) “Glycerol” (Sugar fat), for long-term energy storage. Eventually the liver becoming engorged with fatty substance Triglyceride, thus Fatty Liver disease is formed.
When the liver is completely jammed packed and filled with triglycerides, the body will then store excess triglycerides in the muscles and adipose tissue primarily around the abdominal area. This process can continue for years and decades thus creating obesity.
Unlike simple carbohydrates, resistant starch (RS) as the name suggest, resists digestion and most of it pass through the digestive tract unchanged. This indigestibility nature of resistant starch causes the slowdown of glucose transfer into the blood stream and making glucose less available. Resistance starch content in food has an inverse relationship with Glycemic Index (GI), meaning the higher the resistant starch content in food, the lower GI the food is. Resistant starch level and GI of food can be changed by following a simple cooking technique, as a recent study shows.
New way of cooking carbohydrates to increase resistant starch
Researchers from American Chemical Society (ACS) shows, by changing the way in which you cook rice, can result in the increase of RS, thus causing your body to absorb 50 – 60% less calories (1).
They did this by adding a teaspoon of coconut oil in water per half a cup of rice in the cooking process. They then cooled the cooked rice and refrigerate for 12 hours. This resulted in resistant starch increase of 10 times higher than regularly cooked rice. This is because the oil enters the rice grains whilst cooking, which changes the architecture of the rice causing it to become resistant to the action of digestive enzymes.
It is the cooling that is essential as it is during this gelatinous stage that the amylose, the soluble part of the starch, leaves the rice. The cooling for 12 hours results in hydrogen bonds between the amylose molecules outside of the grains of rice which turns it into a resistant starch.
Another study (2) found similar results with white bread, by freezing it, defrosting it and then toasting it, we can increase resistant starch level and lowers the GI of white bread.
The cooling, freezing and reheating method of cooking carbohydrates to increase resistant starch may not be limited to rice and wheat bread, but may also be effective method for other carbohydrate food as well, although this awaits further studies.
What this means when consuming carbohydrates?
Even though it is possible to manipulate the resistant starch and GI of starchy food, like rice and bread, it is still not recommended to gorge on carbs. If you are wanting to lose weight by following a low-carb protocol, use the method outlined in this article as a method to compliment your low-carb diet on the days when you eat high carbohydrate food. However, it is important it does not become an everyday occurrence.
Rice Recipe Idea:
Fried rice is one of the easiest dishes to cook and a great way to use up leftover vegetables in your fridge. Adding diced pineapple and cashew nuts give this timeless dish a little twist.