Medical Rice: A New Invention in Brown Rice both Wax-free and Protein-reduced by Dr. Shaw Watanabe

October 23 03:30 2018

Dr. Shaw Watanabe from Lifescience Promoting Association, Tokyo, Japan has invented a new brown rice called “Medical rice” which is both wax-free and protein reduced and it is very helpful for patients with chronic kidney diseases. Each brown rice will contain a wax layer and by removing that wax layer and keeping the nutrients rich bran layer will increase the palatability of the brown rice. From that brown rice, if rice protein was removed, it yielded a low protein brown rice. This low protein brown rice is very beneficial for kidney patients. Eating brown rice will have very good health benefits, that is why Dr. Shaw Watanabe calls this as a “medical rice” for its health benefits.

In many countries, rice is the main source of dietary energy, protein, and fat. Usually, rice contains three layers (i) Inner layer – which contains starch, (ii) the aleurone layer and (iii) the bran layer.  The bran layer of the rice contains a rich number of vitamins and minerals. But removing that bran layer will make the rice tastier. Nowadays, most people are using polished rice only in which the bran layer was removed, so it brings no functional health benefits at all. The bran layer contains most proteins, vitamins and other helpful nutrients, but it is covered with a thick hard wax layer. 

All though brown rice has very good health benefits, the wax layer present on the brown rice disturbs immersion of water when boiling, and most people don’t like its taste due to hardness for mastication. Some people may get gastric distress too by eating brown rice.

So, Keiji Saika from Dr. Shaw Watanabe’s team has proposed a new rice processing machine to remove the outer surface wax layer of the rice. This way, the rice will be tasty and it contains all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and proteins.

Usually, for kidney patients, a low protein diet (LPD) is prescribed. But these patients use polished rice, in which all the nutrients will be lost except carbohydrates. This brings no functional health benefits at all. To solve this issue, Dr. Shaw Watanabe and his team have used enzyme method to extract protein from wax free brown rice (WFBR) which has resulted in 80% decrease of protein from the wax-free brown rice and its palatability is equal to polished rice.

This is definitely a breakthrough research in Food technology and nutritional sciences, as more and more people are liking polished rice because of its taste and leaving brown rice apart, although it has good health benefits. Dr. Shaw Watanabe and his team invented this new “medical rice” which has both qualities from polished rice and brown rice. What more people can ask for now?

All study and work has been performed at the Toyo Rice Co. Ltd, Forica Food Industy Co. Ltd, and Tsuno Food Industrial Co. Ltd.

About Shaw Watanabe:

Shaw Watanabe graduated from Keio University School of Medicine in 1965. After completing his internship, he entered Keio Graduate School and majored in human pathology. As a distinguished hematopathologist at the National Cancer Institute (U.S.A.) and the Pathology Division, National Cancer Center (Japan), he defined criteria for T-cell lymphoma/leukemia and histiocytic tumors. He was then appointed Director of the Epidemiology Division, National Cancer Center (1985–1996), where he established a population-based cohort study (JPHC). As a consultant, he also contributed to the success of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. After being diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 50, he moved to Tokyo University of Agriculture (1995–2005) to promote diabetic control through appropriate diet and physical activity. As a professor of public nutrition, he became one of the pioneers of the use of functional foods. He was promoted Director General, National Institute of Health and Nutrition (2005–2009), and he was commissioned by the Cabinet Office to develop a national policy on Shoku-iku (Eating education). After retirement he became the President of the Life Science Promoting Association (2009–2018). He chaired the Asia Pacific Conference on Clinical Nutrition 2014 in Tokyo and the East Asia Conference on Standardization of Rice Function in Kyoto. He is currently the president of Asia Pacific Clinical Nutrition Society, chief editor of ‘Clinical & Functional Nutriology’ ‘Life Science’, and the editor-in-chief of the ‘Diabetes Research Open Journal’. He is an emeritus member of the Japan Pathological Society, the Japan Epidemiology Society, the Society of Functional Food Factors, the Japan Antiaging Medical Society and other academic societies. He served also as member of scientific boards appointed by: the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forest and Fishery; and the Cabinet Office and Environmental Agency. For his accomplishments, he received the WHO Tobacco or Health Medal (1991), the Japan Medical Association Award, the Japan Epidemiological Association Award, and the Award of Contribution to Society from the Keio University Medical School.

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