diet and Diet Reform


Table of Contents



About This Book

Written by : M. K. Gandhi
Edited by : Bharatan Kumarappa
First Edition : 5,000 copies, July 1949
ISBN : 81-7229-062-4
Printed and Published by : Jitendra T. Desai
Navajivan Mudranalaya,
© Navajivan Trust, 1949


Chapter 18: Rice, Wheat and Gur

Dr. Ansari's is the latest reasoned opinion received on unpolished rice, whole wheatmeal and gur. I share it with the readers.
"Of all cereals, rice is the richest in starch, of which it has nearly 50 p.c.; the starch in rice has the further advantage of being present in small and easily digestible grains. When boiled, rice swells up and absorbs nearly five times its weight of water, while some of its mineral and other constituents are lost in the process of boiling. But the most important ingredient lost in this process of boiling is the water-soluble Vitamin B. In the process of polishing rice, all outer coverings of the grains are removed, consisting of the husk as well as the pigmented covering contain­ing Vitamin B, Fat and Protein, which are necessary for health and growth. It has been proved that the absence of Vitamin B from polished rice has been instrumental in causing Beri-Beri. Un­polished rice, on the other hand, not being subjected to the boil­ing process used in polishing rice in the mills, retains Vitamin B as well as the Protein, Fat and mineral matter in which rice is none too rich. The unpolished rice, hand-pounded, is superior to the unpolished rice turned from the mills, in so far as the former is not subjected to the heating process, even though it is dry- heating which it has to undergo in the mills, "Wheat is the most important of cereal foods in India. The wheat grain consists of bran or outer envelope, mainly composed of cellulose, the kernel consisting of starch and the germ consist­ing of soluble starch, protein and some fat. According to professor Church, a whole wheat grain has the following composition:

WaterNitrogenous matterFat Starch & SugarCelluloseMineral matter

"In the process of milling, the germ and the bran are rejected, and with it undoubtedly are discarded some of the most useful chemical constituents of the wheat, for, with the germ a consider­able amount of protein and fat are lost, and with the bran are lost mineral matter as well as some protein. The recognition of this has led to some process during milling to prevent it, but the wheatmeal ground in the mills is never so rich in these ingredients as the whole wheatmeal flour ground in the indigenous chakki. The latter consists of all the three ingredients, i.e.. the bran, the kernel and the germ and is hence superior in nutritive value, besides being cheaper and more readily available to the poor people in the countryside.
"Gur, jaggery or molass is produced as by-product in the manu­facture of crystallized sugar. The juice from the sugar-cane is cooked in a big pan. the water being allowed to evaporate, and dark-brown syrupy substance is thus produced which contains crys tallizable cane-sugar, uncrystallizable fruit-sugar and some impuri ties and colouring matter. The following are their composition:

Cane SugarFruit Sugar Extraneous and colouring matterSaltsWater

"Refined crystalline cane-sugar, or Sucrose, is the most familiar of all kinds of sugar. It is chemically indistinguishable from sugar derived from beetroot, maple, etc. Sucrose is assimilated in the process of digestion, only after it has been inverted by ferments and acid secretions of the stomach. It is then stored up in the liver as glycogen. On the other hand, fruit-sugar is all ready to be assimilated into glycogen. It is. therefore, clear that crystalline or refined cane-sugar and gur, taken quantity for quantity would take different times in their assimilation. Gur consisting of cane- sugar and fruit-sugar in the proportion of 2 to 1, would be as­similated more rapidly than cane-sugar alone taken in the same quantity. Therefore, the nutritive value of gur is at least 33 p.c. superior to that of refined sugar."
The truth of the opinion can be tested by everybody for himself by trying pure gur, chakki-ground whole wheatmeal and hand-pounded unpolished rice.