Amid the fuss on whether to ban “unlimited rice” in the country or not, the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Tuesday urged Filipinos to consume brown rice rather than the well-milled variety if they want to remain healthy.
The DA, through its attached agency the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), said studies abroad have affirmed that eating too much rice has ill effects on human health.
Citing a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, the PhilRice said in a statement that excessive rice intake may adversely affect glucose metabolism and insulin production of the body that could result in diabetes.
“That is the main reason we are promoting brown or unpolished rice, as it has lower glycemic index, which means that it takes longer before it is converted to blood sugar. It also has higher satiety so you tend to eat less. Those are the reasons it is better for diabetics compared with white rice,” said Myriam Layaoen, PhilRice’s “Be Riceponsible” campaign director.
The Harvard study showed that a carbohydrate content of one bowl of rice is equivalent to more than twice of a can of soft drink, according to the PhilRice. The agency added that each plate of white rice eaten in a day raises the risk of diabetes by 11 percent.
Layaoen said the attached agency of the DA’s Be Riceponsible campaign aims to influence policy directions and involve farmer-cooperatives to make brown rice more accessible and affordable to consumers.
“We are tapping local governments to issue ordinances and resolutions that will support the advocacy. Meanwhile, we also talk to farmer groups to produce brown rice and sell it at reasonable price,” she said.
“We also partner with food establishments throughout the country to encourage their participation,” Layaoen added.
She said brown rice is just an ordinary rice, but unpolished during milling, with a milling recovery rate that is 10 percent higher than the ordinary ones.
PhilRice Executive Director Sailila Abdula said the agency would continue to improve the rice ecosystem, particularly making brown rice affordable to consumers, through research and
“We are not just looking at production but also at the other side of rice security, which is consumption. We welcome any support toward achieving rice competitiveness, especially from our colleagues in the government. The good news should start from us,” Abdula said.
“We are one in curtailing rice wastage because we believe that every grain our farmers produce means life to a Filipino, and could help in ensuring enough supply of rice for the country,” he added.
The Be Riceponsible campaign is the DA’s nationwide initiative to promote responsible rice consumption by reducing rice wastage in households and eating healthier forms of rice, such as brown rice, according to the PhilRice.