No ban on ‘unli-rice’ – Villar
Senator Cynthia Villar quashed fears on Thursday that she would be proposing a ban on the serving of unlimited rice or unli-rice in restaurants and food outlets.
“I am not planning to make a law banning ‘unli-rice.’ Not at all,” Senator Cynthia Villar said in a statement.
Villar issued the statement amid reports that she wanted to ban unli rice.
“I just voiced out my concern that eating too much rice is one of the main causes of high blood sugar that leads to diabetes,” the senator said.
“I cannot prevent people from eating unlimited amount of rice. It is their choice. It was just a genuine expression of concern on my part,” she added.
The unli-rice issue came up during Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, which Villar chairs.
“Unlimited rice is bad for the health. We should learn how to eat more vegetables,” the senator said during the hearing.
In Thursday’s statement, Villar recognized that it would be difficult to stop Filipinos from eating rice “as the Philippines is a nation or rice eaters.”
“But to decrease health risks, cutting down on rice is still a good idea,” she said.
The senator cited a study, which showed that eating one plate of white rice everyday increases the risk of developing diabetes by 11 percent. Health experts, she said, also recommend adding 20% of brown rice to the daily white rice consumption as it can reduce the risk of diabetes by around 16%.
“Rice causes an increase in the level of sugar in the blood, which makes pancreas produce more insulin and cause frequent spikes in blood sugar level leading to diabetes. When not managed, diabetes may cause organ malfunction leading to death,” Villar said.
The senator earlier urged concerned government agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Health (DoH) to align their programs in order to promote better nutrition and health among the young Filipinos.
“I have recommended to the government departments and they are doing it in some areas already to incorporate vegetable gardening in schools in the feeding program, for instance. They can also source the ingredients locally, particularly the perishable produce, to help the small farmers and cooperatives,” she said. CBB/rga
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