To help address the growing concern on obesity in the country, the Rice Science Museum recently opened an exhibit on Colors of Rice at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Nueva Ecija.
Sophia Maria Cuevas, curator, said that the exhibit aims to increase awareness on the health and nutritional value of pigmented rices through interactive displays on brown, purple, red, and black rices.
“We launched the exhibit this July as our way of supporting the government’s effort on improving the nutritional status of Filipinos. In this exhibit, we give focus on the traditional pigmented rice varieties and their comparison with white rice and the impact of rice on our health, in our life, and in our communities,” she said.
The 8th National Nutrition Survey released in 2014 showed that 3 out of 10 Filipino adults are obese. Overweight and obesity prevalence among children were also registered at 5% while among Filipino teenagers, 8%.
Obesity, nutritionists said, may result from eating too much carbohydrates-rich food such as white rice. Data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute suggest that a typical Filipino plate is half-full of rice, and some protein, which is more than the recommended 33.3% composition of rice in each healthy meal.
To cut on weight, nutritionists observed that Filipinos go for low-carb diet, sometimes avoiding rice, which is not the best option. Instead of white rice, food scientist Dr. Marissa V. Romero, suggested consuming brown or pigmented rice.
“Note that when we consume white rice, we only get limited nutrition as milling removes 15 to 90%of the nutrients. The proteins, fats, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, and phosphorous contents on white rice are already insignificant. But if we eat black or purple rice, the body will have loads of antioxidants or molecules that fight cell-damaging agents,” Romero explained.
Romero said that exhibiting the pigmented and brown rice may help empower the consumers on making the good choice for better health.
Rice Science Museum, a tourist facility accredited by the Department of Tourism, will run the exhibit until February 2016. For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.