Debunking the myths on rice

By Roll’d Nutrition Ambassador, Accredited Practising Dietitian, Sarah Leung.

Rice is one of the world’s most consumed grain and is a central part of many cultures. But many choose to avoid it and accuse this grain being the cause of weight gain and other health issues. Let’s take a closer look at why in fact there are no reasons to be afraid to eat rice.  

Rice contains carbohydrates. Depending on the type of rice, its carbohydrate content differs slightly. Carbohydrates are a key nutrient that provide you with energy for the muscle and the brain to support your daily activity. Rather than singling out a particular nutrient, a bigger picture of balance should be considered. If rice is one of the components of a meal, a portion of protein (animal or plant based), a generous serving of salads and vegetables, use of healthy fats and flavoring with herbs, spices and dressing would be considered a nutritionally balanced meal that keeps you fuller for longer.

Although 85% of energy in rice comes from carbohydrate, it still contains protein, some vitamins and minerals. It is naturally low in fat, sodium and is gluten-free. It is true that white rice offers less nutrients than its whole grain variety, but when it is eaten as part of a balanced meal, it is still considered a healthy contribution to good health.

One of the greatest fear with people eating rice is that white rice is claimed to have a high glycaemic index (GI). Again, singling out a component of a meal is not always helpful.

Glycaemic index is the measure of how quickly carbohydrates get broken down into sugars and into the blood stream. The general rule of thumb is that the more refined a carbohydrate is, the higher the GI, meaning the quicker the sugars get absorbed into the blood stream and raise blood sugar levels.

It is so important to also note that fat, protein and dietary fibre also plays a role in the rate of digestion. When these components are incorporated in a meal such as protein, vegetables and oils, it takes longer for the whole meal to digest therefore delaying the carbohydrates being broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream.

The menu at Roll’d is fully customisable to suit your dietary needs and preferences. Some of us prefer less rice and more veggies, others need more protein, and some opt to load up with more carbohydrates (noodle and rice), so they are energised to get through a busy day.

If you’re ordering Roll’d’s new Rice Bowls via the Roll’d App or online, you can level up and select for more fibre with nutty brown rice or add in extra protein!  Remove the coriander (if you’re not into it that is) and pop the chilli on the side, just in case it packs too hard a punch.

If you’re cooking at home, a good rule of thumb is to split your plate into quarters. With ¼ of the plate with rice as your base, add in another ¼ of lean protein like grilled chicken or fish. For our vegan friends out there, opt for a lightly pan-fried tofu, lentils or legumes like chickpeas and kidney beans.

Feeling some crunch? How about ½ a plate of cool, sliced cucumber or crunchy rainbow Vietnamese slaw. Top with fresh avocado for healthy fats and a sprinkle of seaweed seasoning, for that extra kick of nutrient!

Be mindful when you’re eating, explore new flavours and ingredients, enjoy the cooking process and explore different food cultures and traditions.

About Sarah Leung

Founder and Consultant Dietitian with over 10 years of experience in private practice, corporate nutrition and teaching, Sarah is passionate about improving people’s health and habits. Her philosophy extends beyond healthy eating and is grounded in encouraging people to change their mindset by combining food science and cooking skills, to understand and appreciate nutritious and delicious meals.

An innovative thinker, Sarah is always brainstorming creative solutions to assist with solving common health issues. Founder of Alg Seaweed – nutritious, every day, easy-to-use a flavourful seaweed product that are packed with iodine, the mineral that helps support healthy thyroid function and brain development in children.

Sarah’s larger goal is about turning taste buds towards sustainable and highly nutritious flavours. Now, Sarah is working alongside QSR giants and Vietnamese street eat favourites, Roll’d to deliver the facts on fresh, punchy Vietnamese and encourage more Aussies to pick healthier takeaway options.

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