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Saudis and their unhealthy love of rice

Talal Al-Qashqari, Al-Madinah

I don’t know of any other food that harms us more than rice, which despite its many benefits is unhealthy if consumed in large quantities. There are only a few countries in the world whose people eat rice in large quantities like Saudis, and they include people in countries in South Asia and in Japan and Indonesia. But these people eat rice in a healthy way – either boiled or steamed.

We, on the other hand, eat rice in an unhealthy way by preparing it in oil, butter or ghee and other unhealthy ingredients, all of which are high in fat. It is very difficult for our poor stomachs to digest such ingredients. The liver, which produces biochemicals that are necessary for digestion, also suffers. The glucose derived from rice remains in the liver without being converted into glycogen, and therefore starts a fight with the pancreas, which is the gland that produces enzymes to regulate blood sugar and fluids that help with digestion. Thus, not only is the stomach at risk but also the liver and kidneys and, ultimately, our bodies are the losers.

As far as the economic aspect is concerned, numerous reports have noted the enormous amount of food we waste, a deplorable practice that costs the national economy SR1.6 billion per year. This also shows our extravagance, for which we may have to suffer the consequences as Allah does not like extravagance. There are several places in various parts of the world that have been put to the test due to extravagance. The large amount of money lost on wasted food is sufficient to lift a large number of people out of poverty if we only tackled the issue in a proper manner.

Finally, I want to say that we must give only secondary importance to eating any dish made of rice like kabsa, mandi, bukhari and biryani. Our first priority should be to give importance to the health and economic aspects with regard to eating rice.

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