Rice in Nutrition

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About
A grain of rice is about 80 per cent starch. When rice is eaten and digested, this starch is converted stage by stage to glycogen in the blood stream providing an excellent supply of muscular energy.

Inside the rice grain, the starch occupies cells whose walls are made of indigestible cellulose (itself another form of starch). Between these cells are a number of useful proteins; a cupful of cooked rice supplies about 9 per cent of an average adult’s daily protein requirement, although several necessary amino acids are missing. These are made up, in most diets, by proteins from other sources, usually meat but often legumes (e.g. the rice and bean dishes of C. America and the Caribbean, and the Risi e bisi of Venice). Vegetarians often derive their ‘complementary’ proteins from soya beans.