While talking of weight loss we hear so many suggestions from every one: eat this and eat that. But have you noticed that in the midst of the high fibre daliya (wheat porridge) and oats, and high protein sprouts and almonds, we often neglect the items that we Indians consume on a daily basis: rice and roti (chapati). During weight loss both rice and roti are equally underestimated as they are high in carbs. But there are ways in which you can include both in your diet without the fear of gaining weight.
Roti and its thinner variant, known as chapati, are an integral part of Indian cuisine, and particularly popular in northern India, Central India and Western India. Roti, made from whole wheat flour, is healthy, nutritious and filling. It is low in fat (provided you are not loading it with ghee or oil) and high in fiber. You can increase the nutritional value of roti by adding oats or bran (chokar - easily available at flour mills) to the flour. This increases the fiber content of the roti. Similarly, adding soya flour or channa flour can increase the protein quality of the roti. Roti made up of this flour has limited carbs, good fiber and protein, and will surely help in weight loss.
Rice is the favorite in South and East India. All types of rice can be categorized under two basic categories: brown rice and white rice. Brown rice is produced when the outermost layer, the hull, is removed from the rice kernel. This process is the least damaging to the nutritional value of the rice and avoids the unnecessary loss of nutrients that occurs with further processing. The complete milling and polishing of the rice converts brown rice into white rice with the loss of many nutrients. This process to extend its shelf life, destroys many vitamins (B vitamins including vitamin B3, , B6 and folic acid) ,minerals (iron, manganese, zinc, selenium and phosphorus), essential fatty acids and all of the dietary fiber.
White rice is not only high in carbs and low in fiber, but also easier to digest than roti or brown rice as it converts starch into glucose faster. This contributes to weight gain and obesity, and also raises your blood sugar level rapidly contributing to increase in diabetes risk. Brown rice, on the other hand, is a good source of B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and a moderate source of protein and fiber. Rice bran (fiber in brown rice) and rice bran oil (oil in brown rice) can help reduce your blood cholesterol levels. Consuming brown rice also reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes. So, by replacing white rice with brown rice, you can give a boost to your weight loss efforts and your overall health.
The new resistance starch theory is changing the mind set of many with respect to white rice. This theory states that with a changed method of cooking, the starch in the rice can be converted to resistance starch which escapes digestion and acts like fiber in the body. Surprisingly, this helps in weight loss. To get the benefits of resistance starch when eating white rice, cook the rice and let it cool. The number of times the procedure of heating the starch and then cooling it again is repeated, the amount of resistant starch goes on increasing. Further, cooking done in microwaves and iron vessels converts more starch into resistant starch than any other method or medium.
Whether for weight loss, or otherwise, it is very important to maintain balance in life. Fat, carb or protein, each macro nutrient has its own role in the body's normal functioning or metabolism.