Rice porridge (Kanji) or Chapatti – Which one is best of dinner?

Rice is the staple food of south Indians. Many old people love to have some rice food at night. Kanji (rice porridge) is loved by Keralities a lot. But if they are diabetic, they hesitate to use rice food and eat chapattis instead. Is rice such a harmful food?

During those old years, before Chapattis dominated south Indian dinners, cooked rice with side dishes and rice porridge used to be served in every Kerala home. But in the fear of diabetics, many families have already said good bye to Kanji. Instead oats or chapatti has been chosen. But truth is that, Kanji is not so harmful as everyone assume to be, but only if taken in less quantities.

Both rice and wheat are grains and almost equal in supplements

Grains are the main supplements of energy for our daily activities. Both rice and wheat contain calories in almost equal quantities. Rice contains 345 calories in 100g while wheat contains 346. Starch factor also doesn’t have much difference. 100 gm rice has 78 gm starch while same amount of wheat has 71 gm.

In terms of fiber content, wheat has an upper hand over rice, if only wheat is grind at home to prepare dishes. Wheat available at market is only processed variants which lose fiber content and many nutritious supplements a lot during its processing. Protein content in wheat is rich than rice, yet protein in rice is easy digestible. Also amino acids essential for human body such as Methionine & Tyrosine are found more in rice. It’s to be noted that fiber content of rice is preserved during rice processing.

Glycemic Index (GI) is the measurement of rice of blood glucose while taking a particular food item. GI of both rice and wheat is almost same. If porridge (kanji) is prepared using brown rice (Puzhukkal ari used for payasam), its GI is 64, and that of chapatti is 62.

Then why is wheat preferred over rice?               

Yes, so it’s pretty clear, in terms of calories and GI, rice and wheat are almost equal. But why doctors suggest diabetic patients to eat chapattis for dinner? Answer lies in the measurement of food taken. When you take wheat diet you take in less amount comparing with rice dishes. But we may not able to put control on your favourite dishes made using rice.

Rice with green gram forms an amazing combo

Cherupayar Kanji (Kanji prepared by adding green gram) or Kanji along with green gram thoran and baked pappad (fried without oil) used to be a very common dinner dish in Kerala. When green gram and rice combine together, they give an amazing protein dish, rich in starch. Not only that, amino acid called Lysine not present in rice is found in green gram. Similarly Methionine found in rice is absent in green gram. So in short, Kanji is not as harmful as we think. But we should keep its use in minimum. After all, we should take dinner in mild quantities.

Dinner should be simple

Always have a simple dinner. Have a royal breakfast, medium lunch and light dinner. Also have your dinner at least 2 hours before you go to sleep. If you fill your stomach with non-vegetarian fat dishes for dinner and go to bed soon, it invites many health issues including fat belly and obesity. It happens so because fat is stored without proper utilization. Avoid fried items for dinner. It’s also a good practice to walk for a while after dinner.

Also read a few more articles about food & nutrition everybody wants to know. Click on the images in the gallery to read

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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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