It is no mystery that white rice is blamed for weight gain. A grain which is staple food of numerous states in India, white rice has now be sidelined in diets of many people. All thanks to the weight loss industry! But is this really true? Is the food which is so widely consumed by people all across the country, fattening? Let’s find out. City-based nutritionist Pooja Malhotra says that white rice is blamed for weight gain as the fibre gets removed from the grain during the process of refining.
Why is white rice blamed for weight gain?
She goes on to say that once fiber is removed from rice, its glycemic index increases. “This means that breakdown of sugar in the body happens quickly and sugar is instantly released into the blood stream. Also, a lot of minerals get removed during the process of refining. These are the primary reasons why white rice is blamed for weight gain.”
Debunking the myth about white rice
Eating white rice as part of a balanced and wholesome meal is not going to result in weight gain, asserts Pooja. Rice has been traditionally eaten in combination with pulses. Eating it in such wholesome combinations, in the right proportion and adding ghee to your meal will prevent the weight gain that you are always afraid of. Also, chose hand-pounded single polished variety of rice.
Explains Pooja, “Eating dal rice with a dollop of ghee will slow down the breakdown of sugar present in rice. This means that sugar will slowly enter the blood stream. In case of a cereal pulse combination, the amino acids which are lacking in cereals are present in pulses, and the amino acids lacking in pulses are present in cereals. Thus, a cereal pulse combination has a complete amino acid profile. Adding some ghee to it will provide you with the essential fatty acids.”
Nutritional value of rice
Rice is definitely on the higher side when it comes to carbs, but the same can be managed by keeping your portion size in check. It has about to 8-9% protein, says Pooja, while adding that rice is also a good source of minerals like magnesium, selenium, folic acid, phosphorus, thiamin and niacin.
So, why does rice make you fat?
According to Pooja, the reason why people end up gaining weight by eating rice is because they fail to check their portion size. When it comes to eating chapatti, making a decision about portion size is easy. But this is not the case with rice, where it is also easy to indulge in its delicious taste. Not overeating rice is the key to avoid weight gain from it.
“You have to rely on fullness signals that your brain gives you while eating. Eat only till the point your hunger is satisfied, and don’t give in to greed. Eat in a peaceful environment, focusing only on your meal. If you are engrossed in a gadget or TV or a book, you will not be able to pick up your fullness signals. Also, chew your food slowly and properly,” she suggests.
(Pooja Malhotra is a nutritionist based in Delhi)
Balanced protein intake better for health
Researchers suggest that excessive consumption of protein for building muscle mass could have a negative impact on the body. However, wide-range of protein is best to maintain balance. Amino acids have long been touted by the fitness and bodybuilding communities for their muscle building benefits. From ultra-bulk protein powders to lean mass-promoting snack bars, there’s no shortage of products available for those seeking a muscle boost.
However, protein’s popularity has also meant that less attention has been paid to researching its potentially negative side-effects.
According to the study published in the Journal of Nature Metabolism, excessive consumption of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) may reduce lifespan, negatively impact mood and lead to weight gain.
BCAAs stands for branched-chain amino acids. It’s a group of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine, and are most commonly found in red meat and dairy.
BCAAs great for adding muscle mass, but science says you could pay for it later.
Researchers have investigated the complex role nutrition plays in mediating various aspects of metabolic health, reproduction, appetite and ageing.
“While diets high in protein and low in carbohydrates were shown to be beneficial for reproductive function, they had detrimental effects for health in mid-late life, and also led to a shortened lifespan,” one of the researchers, Dr Samantha Solon explained.
“What this new research has shown is that amino acid balance is important. It’s best to vary sources of protein to ensure you’re getting the best amino acid balance.”
The current research examined the impacts that dietary BCAAs and other essential amino acids such as tryptophan had on the health and body composition of mice.
“Supplementation of BCAAs resulted in high levels of BCAAs in the blood which competed with tryptophan for transport into the brain,” explained one of the researchers, Professor Stephen Simpson.
“Tryptophan is the sole precursor for the hormone serotonin, which is often called the ‘happiness chemical’ for its mood-enhancing effects and its role in promoting sleep. But serotonin does more than this, and therein lay the problem,” he added.
Dietitian and public health nutritionist Dr Rosilene Ribeiro recommend eating a wide range of proteins.
It’s important to vary protein sources in order to get a variety of essential amino acids, through a healthy and balanced diet rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.
BCAAs are essential amino acids present in protein-containing foods, with red meat and dairy being the richest sources. Chicken, fish and eggs are also nutritious sources of BCAAs.
Vegetarians can find BCAAs in beans, lentils, nuts and soy proteins.
Know the severity of falling sick in the morning
While sickness comes irrespective of the time, the severity of afflictions ranging from allergies to heart attacks differs in the morning from that in the night highlighted a new study. The study was published in the Journal Trends in Immunology which compiled studies, predominantly in mice, that looked at the connection between circadian rhythms and immune responses.
The body reacts to cues such as light and hormones to anticipate recurring rhythms of sleep, metabolism, and other physiological processes. The numbers of white blood cells, in both humans and mice also oscillate in a circadian manner.
Taking into account the above-mentioned facts, researchers in the study found that:
Heart attacks in humans are known to strike most commonly in the morning, and research suggests that morning heart attacks tend to be more severe than at night.
In mice, the numbers of monocytes, a type of white blood cell that fights off bacteria, viruses, and fungi –are elevated in the blood during the day. At night, monocytes are elevated in infarcted heart tissue, resulting in decreased cardiac protection at that time of day relative to morning.
Parasite infections are time-of-day dependent. Mice infected with the gastrointestinal parasite Trichuris muris in the morning have been able to kill worms significantly faster than those infected in the evening.
Allergic symptoms follow a time-of-day dependent rhythmicity, generally worse between midnight and early morning. Hence, the molecular clock can physiologically drive innate immune cell recruitment and the outcomes of asthma in humans, or airway inflammation in mice, the review notes.
“Investigating circadian rhythms in innate and adaptive immunity is a great tool to generally understand the physiological interplay and time-dependent succession of events in generating immune responses,” said senior author Christoph Scheiermann, University of Geneva.
ICMR develops affordable quick test kits for diagnosing genetic bleeding disorders
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has developed a cost-effective and rapid point-of-care test kit for diagnosing genetic bleeding disorders such as haemophilia A and Von Willebrand disease (VWD).
Diagnostics which are currently available require special equipment and are expensive.
“Both Haemophilia A and VWD are under diagnosed disorders in our country. There are only handful of comprehensive diagnostic centres for bleeding disorders,” an official at ICMR said.
“Lack of awareness and diagnostic facilities, high cost of tests are some of the factors for under-diagnosis of bleeding disorders in our country,” he said.
According to the ICMR, the kit is the world’s first point-of-care test for specific diagnosis of any common bleeding disorder and costs less than Rs 50 in comparison to existing conventional test that cost around Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000.
The newly developed kit would help in diagnosis within 30 minutes of blood sample collection. Also, this will be available at any level of health care system including primary health care centres (PHCs) since it does not require any special expertise or infrastructure.
Worldwide, incidence of Haemophilia A is 1 per 10,000 male births and that of VWD is around 1 per cent of the general population.
“In India, there is no epidemiological data. We may have roughly 80,000-1,00,000 severe Haemophilia cases in our country, but the total number registered with Haemophilia Federation India (HFI) is only around 19,000,” the official said.
Patients with severe Haemophilia A or VWD can have life threatening spontaneous or post-traumatic bleeding like brain haemorrhage and gastrointestinal bleeding. In emergency medical setting, it is important to have a quick diagnosis of bleeding disorders for treatment.
This rapid test kit can be used for the diagnosis of menorrhagia cases/ post-partum haemorrhage (PPH), gynecological complications among others.
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