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Japanese study suggests that eating more rice could help fight obesity

SINGAPORE — Eating rice could help prevent obesity, a Japanese study has found.

Japanese study suggests that eating more rice could help fight obesity

Researchers noted that low-carbohydrate diets limiting rice are a popular weight-loss strategy in developed countries, but the effect of rice on obesity was unclear.

SINGAPORE — Eating rice could help prevent obesity, a Japanese study has found.

In a Bloomberg report, researchers from the Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts in Kyoto said that people following a Japanese or Asian-style diet based on rice were “less likely to be obese” than those living in countries where the consumption of rice is low.

Even a modest increase of 50 grams of rice per day could help to reduce the worldwide prevalence of obesity by one per cent — from 650 million adults to 643.5 million adults — added the researchers.

They noted that low-carbohydrate diets limiting rice are a popular weight-loss strategy in developed countries, but the effect of rice on obesity was unclear.

The study examined rice consumption — in terms of grams per day per person — and calorie intake in 136 countries, as well as data on body mass index (BMI).

“The observed associations suggest that the obesity rate is low in countries that eat rice as a staple food,” said Professor Tomoko Imai, who led the study.

Giving possible reasons why rice can help, Prof Imai said rice was low in fat, adding: “It’s possible that the fibre, nutrients and plant compounds found in whole grains may increase feelings of fullness and prevent overeating.”

“Given the rising levels of obesity worldwide, eating more rice should be recommended to protect against obesity even in western countries,” said Prof Imai in Bloomberg’s report.

In Britain, for example, people were found to consume just 19 grams of rice per day, well below the consumption of other countries like Canada, Spain and the US, said Bloomberg’s report.

The authors of the study concluded: “The prevalence of obesity was significantly lower in the countries with higher rice supply even after controlling for lifestyle and socioeconomic indicators.”

The study was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow, Bloomberg reports. AGENCIES

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