Advertisement

The Rice Cooker and the Renal Diet

      I like my rice cooker. It makes perfect rice every time. Rice is a great food for the kidney healthy diet, it is low in potassium and sodium, it is a good source of carbohydrate and energy, and it is versatile for meal planning. Although half of the world's population eats rice and the US consumption of rice has increased, rice is not a staple of many typical American diets.
      • Muraki I.
      • Wu H.
      • Imamura F.
      • et al.
      Rice consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: results from a pooled analysis of 3 U. S. cohorts.
      The rice cooker had its start with the Japanese army and Mitsubishi; however, it was not until Toshiba perfected the electric rice cooker to a simple shut on shut off product in the 1950s that it gained acceptance for home use.
      • Kane Y.I.
      Making Perfect Rice the Japanese Way Can Cost Big Bucks.
      The rice cooker is now a staple appliance in Japan and many Asian countries. Asia accounts for 90% of the rice consumed globally.
      • Mohanty S.
      International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Trends in global rice consumption.
      The Wall Street Journal states rice cookers have recently gained popularity, as it reports rice cooker aficionados, tourists, are buying high-end models in Japan. Although rice cookers range in price, size, and technologic advances, it is the simple rice cooker with its inexpensive price tag, small size of 1 to 3 cups, and its binary function of cook and warm that is the focus of this article.
      The simple rice cooker consists of an electric base, the removable bowl to cook the rice, a measuring cup, a lid made of tempered glass, and often a rice paddle. See Figure 1. The enclosed measuring cup is about 6 ounces, the size of the traditional Japanese rice-measuring tool.
      • Moskin J.
      The Steamy Way to Dinner.
      The 3-cup rice cooker, which makes up to 6 cups of cooked rice, is widely available in stores and on online for under 20 dollars. See Table 1. An online search found 1 version of a 1½ cup–sized rice cooker. Rice cookers for home use can be easily found in up to 10-cup raw or 20-cup cooked sizes. An expert rice taster considered rice cooked this way as good as those made in the expensive high-end cookers.
      • Kane Y.I.
      Rice Expert Judges High-End Cookers in Blind Taste Test.
      Table 1Sample of Rice Cookers Priced Under $30 Available From an Online Google Search
      Rice CookerUncooked Measure CupsCooked Measure CupsStorePrice ($)
      Panasonic SR-3NA Automatic 1.5 Cup (Uncooked)/3 Cups (Cooked) Rice Cooker
      The Panasonic 1½ cup rice cooker is listed because of its small size although price is higher than the typical low-end 3-cup rice cookers.
      3Amazon29.95
      Black and Decker RC 3406 3-Cup Dry/6-Cup Cooked Rice Cooker36Amazon13.38
      Kmart13.86
      Target14.19
      Walmart15.99
      Black and Decker Rice Cooker RC436-3-Cup Dry/6-Cups Cooker36Macys19.99
      Elite Cuisine 3-Cup Rice Cooker36Walmart14.99
      IMUSA 3-Cup Nonstick Rice Cooker36Bed Bath and Beyond14.99
      Oster 4722- 3-Cup (Uncooked) 6-Cup (Cooked) Rice Cooker with Steaming Tray36Amazon18.99
      Target19.99
      Walmart18.96
      Aroma 10-cup (cooked) rice cooker510Walmart24.94
      IMUSA 5-Cup Nonstick Rice Cooker510Bed Bath and Beyond19.99
      Target19.99
      Rival 10-Cup (Cooked) Rice Cooker510Kmart22.99
      Black and Decker 16-Cup/7-Cup Dry Rice Cooker RC436716Kohls19.99
      Macys29.99
      Walmart21.30
      Wayfair25.99
      IMUSA 8-cup Nonstick Rice Cooker816Bed Bath and Beyond22.99
      Target22.99
      The purpose of the table is to show that there are affordable models of rice cooker widely available in national chains and online for under $30.00. The 3-cup models are under $20.00.
      Accessed November 01, 2015 and December 14, 2015.
      Rice cookers arranged by ascending size. Rice cooker sizes range in 3-10 cup range, with variety of sizes per manufacturer. Not all sizes are listed in the table.
      The Panasonic 1½ cup rice cooker is listed because of its small size although price is higher than the typical low-end 3-cup rice cookers.
      Moon
      • Moon M.
      writes in Today's Dietitian that it is the dietitians' role to introduce new cooking methods to the client interested in eating more healthfully. For the person with chronic kidney disease (CKD), unfamiliar with or inept at cooking rice, a rice cooker might just be the appliance that can add rice to the diet. For as simple a grain that rice is, it is not that easy to cook. Anecdotal tales include that the rice boils over, that it sticks to the pot, that it burns, that it needs to be watched while it cooks, that it is undercooked and hard.
      • Thomson J.R.
      All the Times Rice Beats us in the Game of Life.
      The rice cooker resolves those issues, and it allows for the user to focus on other aspects of the meal as the rice essentially takes care of itself. To make rice, the rice cooker user adds rice, measures the water, and presses the lever to cook, and in 20 to 30 minutes, the rice is done, perfectly. The cooker will automatically switch to warm, to keep the cooked rice at serving temperature. Measurement is particularly forgiving in a rice cooker.
      However, given the demographics of the CKD population in that lower socioeconomic status is a risk factor for CKD, it is also a point that patients could cook rice on the stove in a typical 2:1 ratio and cook it without mishap and without spending money on another appliance.
      National Kidney Foundation
      K/DOQI clinical practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease: evaluation, classification and stratification.
      Older patients, another typical demographic of the end-stage renal disease population, who have been the cook of the family likely know how to make rice. Patients whose dietary pattern includes rice, such as those with Asian, Middle Eastern, or Caribbean traditions are likely to be using rice cookers.
      • Moskin J.
      The Steamy Way to Dinner.
      The rice cooker highlighted in this column suggests that preparing rice in a rice cooker is a viable method of including rice in the diet of the person with CKD. This rice can then be sodium-free, tasty, and require minimal preparation. Rice made in the 3-cup model can be made in small enough quantities for 1 person. Many older patients with CKD, especially the cooks of the family, may have figured out how to make rice in a pot on the stove. For those who dare to try the rice cooker, they may be surprised at how tasty the rice is and how easy it is to prepare.

      References

        • Muraki I.
        • Wu H.
        • Imamura F.
        • et al.
        Rice consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: results from a pooled analysis of 3 U. S. cohorts.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 2015; 101: 164-172
        • Wilson C.
        There's More to Rice Cookers Than Just Rice.
        (Food and Nutrition Magazine)2015 (August 28, 2015. Available at:) (Accessed October 17, 2015)
        • Kane Y.I.
        Making Perfect Rice the Japanese Way Can Cost Big Bucks.
        (Wall Street Journal)2007 (June 4, 2007. Available at:) (Accessed October 10, 2015)
        • Mohanty S.
        International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Trends in global rice consumption.
        Rice Today. Vol. 12 #1. 2013 (Available at:) (Accessed October 27, 2015)
        • Mochizuki T.
        Japan's Fancy Rice Cookers Score Abroad.
        (Wall Street Journal)2015 (July 27, 2015. Available at:) (Accessed August 15, 2015)
        • Moskin J.
        The Steamy Way to Dinner.
        The New York Times, 2008 (September 30, 2008. Available at:) (Accessed October 27, 2015)
        • Kane Y.I.
        Rice Expert Judges High-End Cookers in Blind Taste Test.
        (Wall Street Journal)2007 (June 4, 2007. Available at:) (Accessed October 10, 2015)
        • Moon M.
        (Today's Dietitian)Complex times call for simple foods. 11. 2009: 24 (Available at:) (Accessed November 1, 2015)
        • Thomson J.R.
        All the Times Rice Beats us in the Game of Life.
        The Huffington Post, 2014 (September 3, 2014. Available at:) (Accessed October 30, 2015)
        • National Kidney Foundation
        K/DOQI clinical practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease: evaluation, classification and stratification.
        Am J Kidney Dis. 2002; 39: S1-S266