Rice eaters of the world, rejoice, at last the truth is out: rice is not a diet spoiler. This piece of wonderful news comes from not some organisation set up by rice eaters themselves but the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation.
The Foundation says that rice when had with legumes like Bengal gram or red kidney beans figures very low on the glycemic index (GI) that is drawn up by comparing the digestion rate for food items to that of glucose which is 100 on that scale. And rice, especially brown rice, is below 55 on the GI scale, and that’s a perfectly good score to have, considering that something like white bread is 75 on that scale and falls in the high-risk category.
So why did rice get such bad press in the first place even though it is so popular across continents? We think it is because of the ‘type’ of people it is associated with. In India, it is usually the east, north-east and the south where rice is considered a comfort food. Unfortunately, there is also a belief that people from these geographical locations are not exactly top of the charts when it comes to back-breaking work. Take the Spanish who also have a fair amount of rice dishes on their menu.
They, too, have a somewhat similar reputation. But then they can also blame it on the awesome Mediterranean weather. But no such luck for the Bongs and the Mallus. Then there are the lethargic babus of Bengal who have just added to that myth of how maach-bhaat in the morning is a perfect sleep-inducer. Of course, we agree that rice satiates people in a certain manner that the dal-roti meal of the ‘other India’ can’t match. But, laziness? Rice-eating has nothing to do with it. After all, think about the farmers of the east or south who nurture paddy for months, come hail or sunshine, to bring to us that plateful of bliss.
So again, why did rice get such a bad name? Ah, capitalism, freedom of choice, that’s it. It is a conspiracy hatched by the non-rice eating world to change our eating habits and force down our throats its kind of food and give us no choice at all. And now that we have got our sweet revenge, we will take a short siesta, after a plateful of rice, of course.