The rate of obesity is soaring worldwide. People resort to all sorts of dietary and lifestyle changes to curb obesity and become healthier. In Western countries, a popular weight-loss strategy involves limiting rice consumption. But a recent study has discovered that that might actually be a counterproductive strategy. According to the new research, people following a Japanese or Asian-style diet, which is mainly based on rice, are less obese.
Eating rice might actually prevent obesity
The Japanese researchers may have found a potential way to prevent obesity – by eating more rice!
Academics from the Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts in Kyoto examined the rice consumption (in terms of grams per day per person) and calorie intake in 136 countries. They also examined the Body-Mass Index data from these countries. Experts found out that obesity rates were lower in countries where rice consumption is high.
The study also suggests that even a moderate increase in rice consumption of 50g per day can protect against obesity.
Lead researcher Professor Tomoko Imai said, “the observed associations suggest that the obesity rate is low in countries that eat rice as a staple food.”
In the UK, people just consume 19g of rice a day. This is lower than other countries including Canada, Spain, and the US. The top 5 countries with the highest rice consumption were Bangladesh, Lao, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
The study authors suggest that rice may be healthy because it has less fat. According to Prof. Imai, “It’s possible that the fiber, nutrients and plant compounds found in whole grains may increase feelings of fullness and prevent overeating.”
The researchers concluded that “the prevalence of obesity was significantly lower in the countries with higher rice supply even after controlling for lifestyle and socioeconomic indicators.”
The results of the study were presented in this year’s European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, UK.
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