Rice falls victim to the classic curse: it is delicious yet high in calories.
You can thank starch for that. A lot of starch. This make rice an important crop in lower-income countries, according to dedicated online authority Ricepedia.
China, another country that consumes a great deal of rice, just pioneered a technique for growing it in salt water.
But this high calorific density can be problematic for people with sedentary lifestyles (and who live in areas where Nando's are both irresistible and everywhere).
Scientists have devised a way to cook rice that reduces the calories the body absorbs by up to 60 per cent.
We imagine in this case you'll want the magician to reveal his secret:
Cook rice with a teaspoon of coconut oil in the water then refrigerate it for 12 hours, according to Sri Lankan researchers.
This method appears to make half of the calorie-rich starch in rice indigestible, so it passes through the body without becoming fat.
Scientists hope the technique will help tackle the world's obesity problems.