HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Good news for rice lovers: Turns out, eating more rice could actually help prevent obesity, a new study says.
Researchers in Japan say a modest increase in average rice consumption — about a quarter of a cup — could help people lose weight.
"Eating rice seems to protect against weight gain,” said Tomoko Imai, who led the study. ”It’s possible that the fibre, nutrients, and plant compounds found in whole grains may increase feelings of fullness and prevent overeating.”
Researchers looked at all rice products — including white rice, brown rice, rice flour —and relative consumption and energy consumption in the diets of 136 countries with populations of more than 1 million.
They found that obesity levels were substantially lower in countries that consume more rice — like Bangladesh, Lao and Cambodia – versus those that eat less rice – like France, England and the U.S.
“The observed associations suggest that the obesity rate is low in countries that eat rice as a staple food,” Imai said. “Therefore, a Japanese food or an Asian-food-style diet based on rice may help prevent obesity.”
Imai said the research does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship, but that it should be investigated further.