In the light of the issue of unlimited rice serving in food establishments, one piece of advice from the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is – Be Riceponsible!

The Institute, through its Be Riceponsible Campaign, has affirmed that eating too much rice has ill effects to human health.

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that excessive rice intake may adversely affect glucose metabolism and insulin production of the body thus may result in diabetes. According to study, carbohydrate content of one (1) bowl of rice is equivalent to more than twice of a can of soft drink and each plate of white rice eaten in a day raises the risk of diabetes by 11% in the overall population.

“That is the main reason why 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 why it is better for diabetics compared with white rice,” explained Be Riceponsible campaign director Myriam Layaoen.

Brown rice is the whole grain or unpolished version of white rice with its bran retained and contains superior amount of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help control blood sugar level, lower bad cholesterol, prevent heart disease and the risk of developing cancer.

The campaign also tries to influence policy directions and involve farmer-cooperatives to make brown rice more accessible and affordable to the general public.

“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. We also partner with food establishments throughout the country to encourage their participation.”

Layaoen emphasized that brown rice is just an ordinary rice, but unpolished during milling. Its milling recovery is 10% higher than ordinary rice, hence getting more rice after milling.

PhilRice executive director, Dr. Sailila Abdula said that as an R&D institution, PhilRice will consistently explore ways to improve the rice ecosystem.

“That said, we are not just looking at production but also at the other side of rice security, which is consumption. We welcome any support towards achieving rice competitiveness, especially from our colleagues in the government. The good news should start from us,” Abdula expressed.

PhilRice’s new strategic plan strongly promotes competitiveness of farmers and the rice industry as a whole to become profitable, resilient, and sustainable.

“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 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.