Cereals are the main staple in Asian Indian diet and provide bulk of the calories (60-70%). Cereals (whole grains-hand pounded rice) consumed in the past (our grandma period) were packed with fibre and other micronutrients (Now, you might be aware why our grandma and grandpa’s were healthy and lived longer). Unfortunately, for better shelf life, and consumer appeal, rice underwent a high degree of refining and milling (8-12%).
As a result, the outer bran and germ portions of intact rice (i.e., brown rice) grains were removed to produce white rice that primarily consists of starchy endosperm. As the unrefined cereals were replaced in India by highly refined cereals, this changed the quality of the carbohydrates. White Rice that we consume today is high in glycemic index (GI) (increase the blood glucose rapidly) and habitual consumption of high GI rice poses high risk of diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases in southern Indians.
Then, what is the best alternative for the rice, as this being a staple? Is brown rice best alternative? Yes of course, brown rice is a best alternative for white rice, but you cannot consume brown rice for longer period of time due to the taste factor plus high cooking time and moreover this is not available in the market if so, they are polished with brown colour and not tested for its GI.
Other alternative would be minimally polished rice where it tastes like white rice and GI is also in the medium category. Is it available in the market is a big question again? Third alternative would be a basmati rice which is found to have low GI compared to short and medium grain rice but again cost plays an important role and furthermore basmati rice cannot be consumed with dhal as it goes well only with biriyani/fried rice kind of dishes. Then what is the solution? We cannot ask people to switch to wheat based dishes as for more than 100 years people are used with this kind of food. Is there a best alternative? Yes of course, to get the solution please wait for the next issue!!!!