Are You Eating Too Much Rice?

By Ameze Obaseki

It is Monday and because your Sunday rice and stew was so good and you made so much, of course you’ll have it again for breakfast today.

During your lunch break at work, you find out there is only Jollof and coconut rice available at the canteen so you settle for the coconut rice. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…rice is a constant.

The constancy of rice in our diets can have serious health implications like:

  1. Weight gain: The most obvious consequence is the body does not know what to do with all the excess carbohydrate and simply turns it to fat
  2. Insulin Resistance: This develops when cells are constantly bombarded with the sugar that rice eventually becomes
  3. Atherosclerosis: Many of our favorite Nigerian rice recipes are usually accompanied with stews or sauces with lots of oil.  When taken too much, fats cause your arteries’ walls to thicken and blood flow doesn’t flow as easily. This increases your chances of getting a heart attack or stroke. This “artery-thickening” monster is atherosclerosis.
  4. Type 2 diabetes: This develops when blood sugar levels spike and insulin-production grinds to a halt.
  5. Arsenic poisoning: Arsenic is a toxic substance that occurs naturally, getting into plants and water. The arsenic in rice tends to be more toxic form and has the potential to increase the risk of illnesses in humans, including cancer.

Some tips to guide you:

As with most things in life, balance and moderation are key. Eat rice less frequently.

Eat more brown rice if you have to eat rice. Brown rice is less polished than white rice and so retains a lot more fibre

Make it a point to pair rice with more nutritious, healthy foods like vegetables and lean protein.

Limit your portions to one cup of rice per meal. It should only make up about a third of your meal.

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