Multiple posts shared repeatedly on Facebook claim dieters should refrigerate and reheat cooked rice in order to reduce its sugar content. This is misleading. Nutritional experts told AFP there was no evidence that this method can reduce the sugar content in rice, and said dieters should instead control the amount of rice they eat.

The Thai-language claim was published here on Facebook on August 12, 2022.


Screenshot of the misleading post captured on August 17, 2022

The lengthy post says refrigerating cooked rice before reheating it is "the perfect formula" for losing weight because its sugar content is converted into resistant starch.

Resistant starch (RS) -- a form of starch that cannot be digested in the small intestine -- is a type of fibre.

Multiple Facebook posts shared a similar Thai-language claim -- including here and here. Some social media users shared their appreciation for the "health tip".

The claim has also circulated in English-language posts here and here.

But the claim is misleading, according to nutrition experts.

Insufficient evidence

Kanitha Tananuwong, an associate professor in food technology at Chulalongkorn University, told AFP that the claim "oversimplifies the truth".

"You shouldn't believe in this claim, and I don't recommend doing it," she said.

Kanitha went on to say that while chilling cooked rice will turn some of its sugar into resistant starch, there is "not enough evidence to suggest reheating it results in a lower sugar level" as some of the starch will revert back to sugar.

Tipradee Kongsuwan, a nutritionist from Thailand's Department of Health, told AFP that the posts shared a purported dieting method that is "not so helpful" in limiting calorie intake and instead recommends controlling how much rice you eat.

"Eating between 120-180 grams of rice per meal is recommended, depending on how much energy you use," she said.

AFP has previously debunked a similar claim that reheating rice after cooking it with coconut oil will reduce its sugar content.