Homegrown start-up Alchemy Foodtech has launched a fibre blend that lowers the GI of white rice without altering its taste. By SAMANTHA FRANCIS.
Making healthier choices while dining out is no mean feat especially when you’re confronted with local delicacies like chicken rice, char kway teow, and steamed buns. With Singapore expected to have one million diabetics by 2050, we’re faced with the ongoing challenge of managing our blood glucose levels while indulging in our favourite foods.
Sparked by his family’s history of diabetes, Alan Phua started Alchemy Foodtech in 2015 with Verleen Goh, in a bid to make carb-heavy foods healthier. White rice, a staple in Asian households, is recognised to have a high glycaemic index (GI), which means that it’s quick to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Being highly processed and removed of its hull, gran, and germ, white rice lacks the vitamins and minerals present in whole grains. As such, consuming white rice regularly may increase the risk for type 2 diabetes, according to new Harvard School of Public Health research.
While healthier options are aplenty, some people may not favour the distinctive taste and texture of brown rice and wholegrain noodles, which have been described as nutty and coarse. To solve this concern, the start-up launched Alchemy Fibre for Rice, a product that helps to lower the GI of white rice to medium GI—same as brown rice, while increasing its fibre content by ten-folds. Made of low GI, high fibre, and high prebiotics plant-based fibres, Alchemy Fibre comes in a powder form that can be easily dissolved into the water while cooking rice. For each cup of rice (150g) used, match it with one heaped teaspoon (15g) of the powder, then cook rice as per normal.
This fibre blend instantly makes white rice healthier without altering its taste, appearance, or texture, which might make the dish more palatable to fussy eaters hoping to lower their blood glucose levels.
Starting July, Alchemy Fibre for Rice will be available in the aisles of more than 200 major supermarket stores, including FairPrice, Sheng Siong, Cold Storage, Giant, and Prime, as well as on online grocery platforms Redmart and Amazon. Those hoping to have a taste can head to F&B outlets like Boon Tong Kee, Yu Kee Duck Rice, and Bangkok Jam, which will serve rice with Alchemy Fibre on their menus throughout July.
Home cooks and bakers can look forward to new baking premixes for cookies, cakes, and brownies, along with ingredient blends made with Alchemy Fibre. To encourage more wholesome meals, there will also be flour packs and a powder with added prebiotics that can be added to rice for improved immunity and gut health.
Ms Lee Siok Fen, a 48-year-old homemaker, shared: “I have tried for years to get my family to accept brown rice as I know it is better for our health, but the nutty taste and texture of brown rice just doesn’t go with the preferences of everyone at home. It is good to have a versatile fibre ingredient that I can add to white rice to make it healthier.”
More information here.