MANILA - Senator Cynthia Villar on Thursday clarified that she was not planning to file a bill to ban unlimited rice servings or "unli-rice" in restaurants.
"I am not planning to make a law banning 'unli rice', not at all. I just voiced out my concern that eating too much rice is one of the main causes of high blood sugar that leads to diabetes," Villar said in a statement Thursday.
"But, of course, I cannot prevent people from eating unlimited amount of rice. It is their choice. It was just a genuine expression of concern on my part."
The senator reiterated her explanation on social media, saying "Keep calm, there's no ban on unli rice."
Villar, chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, on Wednesday called on food establishments to refrain from offering unli rice to encourage people to eat more vegetables instead.
"You know, the findings in other countries, mas better ang diet nila. Hindi masyadong maraming rice, may vegetable. If you really ask doctors, that’s a better diet," Villar said after a hearing on rice importation and related issues.
"So dapat i-train na rin nating mga Filipinos not to eat too much rice kasi nagiging diabetic. And you know, it’s expensive to cure diabetes. Parang sinasabi sa ibang bansa kaya hindi sila nagiging self-sufficient, because they have a better diet. So makakatulong iyon, iyong sinasabi nilang unlimited rice, hindi maganda iyon sa diet natin," she added.
In her statement, Villar noted that other countries promote a balanced diet consisting of a small rice portion and a generous amount of vegetables.
"In schools in Japan, the students even discuss the nutritional value of their meals for the day before they eat. They also harvest the vegetables they eat from the garden in their school. Of course, we want our children and children’s children to grow up healthy," said Villar.
Citing a study, she said eating a plate of white rice everyday increases the risk of developing diabetes by 11 percent.
"Rice cause an increase in the level of sugar in the blood, which makes pancreas produce more insulin and cause frequent spikes in blood sugar level leading to diabetes. When not managed, diabetes may cause organ malfunction leading to death," she said