Low-Carb…Carbs? Hack Your Rice With Coconut Oil + Recipe
By: Dave Asprey
June 24, 2015
White rice is a great source of clean carbohydrates, which I recommend in moderation and during the right times of day, depending on your goals. And we all know that coconut oil provides useful energy on the Bulletproof Diet. But what about the two together? Research on combining fat from coconut oil and white rice suggests you can get the nutrients from both while lowering your glycemic response.
Cyclical fat burning (ketosis) with occasional carbs is an important part of the Bulletproof Diet (download the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap for free here), and white rice is one of the most Bulletproof carbs around. In this article, you’ll learn why white rice is better than brown and how to hack your rice for better blood sugar and fat loss.
White Rice Vs. Brown Rice: Which is Better?
It usually shocks people when I tell them that white rice is better for you than brown rice. But there are several reasons why white rice is my starchy carbohydrate of choice.
Turning brown rice into white rice removes phytic acid – an anti-nutrient that stops us from absorbing minerals – and leaves both an easily digestible carbohydrate. It also reduces arsenic, which is concentrated in the thin outer layer than makes brown rice brown. Arsenic content in rice varies widely from country to country and by types of rice, but you can avoid higher levels of arsenic entirely by sticking with white rice. White rice also happens to be the perfect vehicle for all kinds of tasty things: bacon, grass-fed butter, veggies…the list goes on.
It’s easy to overindulge on rice, but too much rice too often can affect your blood sugar levels and make you fat. Your body converts white rice to glucose quickly, which is why too much of it (like too much of any carbohydrate) can trigger insulin resistance, fatigue, weight gain, and a host of other issues.
But what if you could hack your white rice to avoid this problem? What if you could decrease its glycemic index, increase its health benefits, and make it more Bulletproof, all with a simple change to the way you cook it?
Well, some new observations imply that you can, and it’s very easy to do. All it takes is a little coconut oil.
How to Upgrade Your Rice With Coconut Oil
According to a group of researchers who presented at The American Chemical Society in spring 2015, coconut oil may also be the key to upgrading your rice. Though the research is still preliminary, the results look promising and there’s zero risk to trying it.
The researchers steamed rice normally, making just two modest changes: they added coconut oil before cooking the rice, and afterward, they cooled the rice down in a fridge. Researchers already knew that cooked-and cooled or parboiled rice were higher in resistant starch than freshly-steamed rice.
The results were profound, though not for the reason the researchers report. The team focuses on the fact that the calories in the rice decreased by 10-12%, and they’re optimistic that with more research, they can raise that number to 60%. However, if you’ve been reading about the Bulletproof Diet you know that calories don’t matter compared to how food affects your hormones and that when it comes to your health, quality trumps quantity.
But it’s nice to be able to eat a lot more rice without overloading on carbs!
So you don’t need to pay a lot of attention to the decreased calories themselves – but you DO want to care about the reason behind the decrease in calories.
How it Works
When you cook coconut oil and rice together, the oil binds to the digestible starch in the rice – that’s the starch that converts to glucose. Once bound with the oil, the digestible starch begins to crystallize, creating another form of starch: the resistant variety.
The researchers found that cooling the rice after cooking it promoted crystallization, leading to a shocking 10 to 15-fold increase in resistant starch compared to normally prepared white rice.
Benefits of Resistant Starch
Resistant starch can be helpful for some people, although loading up on potato starch and the like isn’t a great strategy for many of us. (Read up on resistant starch here.) In short: taken as a supplement, it can improve insulin sensitivity, enhance sleep quality, increase energy levels, and promote mental clarity.
Listen to Bulletproof Radio #117 with Dr. Grace Liu to learn more about resistant starch.
When it comes resistant starch in rice, there is another benefit. Our bodies convert digestible starch into glucose, which raises blood sugar levels. Humans don’t digest resistant starch, on the other hand, so it doesn’t raise blood glucose at all. In fact, for some people, certain types of resistant starch can lower glucose and insulin levels after meals. For others, it causes digestive distress.
The benefit of cooking rice with coconut oil, therefore, is twofold:
- The rice produces a smaller spike in blood sugar because you get more resistant starch to take the place of digestible starch.
- Moreover, the inherent qualities of the resistant starch decrease this smaller spike even further.
The result is lower-carb rice.
It’s a strange and paradoxical concept, but it’s appealing. With a significantly lower glycemic index, rice no longer has to be limited to an occasional treat. If you love rice as your carbohydrate source, rejoice! Delicious cooled rice dishes like sushi are already a good choice, and you can step that up a lot more if you cook the rice yourself (and if you’ve never made your own sushi, try it; it’s a blast).
Enjoy this quick dessert recipe. It’s appropriate for days when you are going to dip out of ketosis, but it won’t spike your blood sugar the way junk food or sugar would. If you eat a little in the evening, you may experience an amazing boost in sleep quality, as the late Quantified Self Seth Roberts and I discussed. Thanks for reading, and stay Bulletproof!
Low-Carb Rice With Honey
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1 cup organic sushi rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
- 2 tbsp. grass-fed butter
- 1 tsp. raw honey
- 3 tbsp. coconut oil
1) Bring water to a boil.
2) Rinse rice well in cold water and drain.
2) Add rice and coconut oil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
3) Remove rice from heat and immediately transfer it to the fridge. Let rice cool in the fridge for 1 hour, or longer. You can portion out the rice before putting it in the fridge so that it cools more quickly. (think chunks shaped like your thumb, like you’d use for nigiri sushi)
4) When rice is cool, set oven to warm.
5) Remove rice from fridge and put in oven until warm.
6) Drizzle butter, raw honey, and salt.
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