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Cynthia Villar clarifies ‘unli’ rice remarks

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Cynthia Villar clarifies ‘unli’ rice remarks

After her admonition against eating too much white rice sparked furor in social media, the head of the Senate committee on agriculture and food on Thursday sought to correct what she said was a misimpression that she wanted a ban on unlimited, or “unli,” servings of rice in restaurants and food outlets.

“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,” said Sen. Cynthia Villar, Senate agriculture and food committee chair, in a statement.

She said she knew that she could not stop people from gorging on unlimited servings of rice “as the Philippines is a nation of rice eaters.”

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“It is their choice. It was just a genuine expression of concern on my part,” she said.

Villar was ridiculed and lambasted in social media when she said on Wednesday that restaurant promotions, like unli rice, should be prohibited.

Villar’s comment was apparently taken to mean by netizens as a push for a ban on promotions by restaurants and smaller food outlets to offer unlimited servings of rice to entice more customers.

At the hearing of her committee on rice importation on Wednesday, Villar said people should regulate rice consumption and switch to eating brown rice and vegetables because consuming too much white rice could lead to illnesses like diabetes.

Her statement quoted a study as saying that eating a plateful of white rice daily raises the risk of developing diabetes by 11 percent.

Diabetes risk is reduced by 16 percent if daily rice consumption included at least 20-percent brown rice.

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