U.S. Grown Rice Fits 2010 Government Dietary Guidelines for AmericansARLINGTON, Va.  (Food-News.net)  Nutritious U.S.-grown rice can help consumers meet the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which emphasize healthier food choices to boost overall nutrition while helping to combat the growing rate of obesity, America’s leading public health concern. Newly published research shows that Americans who eat rice have healthier diets and are less likely to be overweight and obese — the overall goals of the new Dietary Guidelines.

The Guidelines call for improving diet quality by increasing nutrient-dense foods like whole grains, vegetables, beans, fruits, seafood, lean protein and low-fat dairy, and reducing solid fats, added sugars and sodium.

The recommended diet derives the majority of calories from carbohydrates — 45-65% of total calories. The primary source of carbohydrates should come from natural, wholesome foods including whole and enriched grains that contain no added sugars or saturated fat.  Consumers should reduce the amount of refined grains containing solid fats, added sugars and sodium to promote a more nutrient-dense diet.  Unlike solid fats and added sugars, enriched refined grains have a positive role in providing vitamins and minerals, the report noted.

The Guidelines also reinforce the importance of folic acid, a nutrient of public health concern, with its recommendation of 400 mcg per day for all women capable of becoming pregnant, including adolescents. One cup of cooked enriched white rice is a good source of folate, providing 23% of the amount needed daily.

“The USA Rice Federation views the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as important nutrition guidance that will give consumers tools to improve their health. We are committed to providing information to help consumers find practical ways to translate the recommendations into nutritious meals,” said Betsy Ward, president and CEO.  “U.S.-grown whole grain brown rice and enriched, fortified white rice are nutritious and delicious whole foods that fit well with the recommendations,” she said.

New research shows that rice eaters have healthier overall diets — containing higher amounts of up to 15 essential nutrients including iron, fiber (brown rice) and folate, and lower amounts of unhealthy added sugars and saturated fat. Studies also suggest that eating rice might reduce risk for overweight and obesity, and is associated with lowered risk for metabolic syndrome, heart disease and Type II diabetes.

One study of U.S. rice eaters versus non-eaters showed that 19- to 50-year-olds who reported eating rice were less likely to be overweight or obese, had a 34% reduced risk for high blood pressure, 27% reduced likelihood of having abdominal obesity and having an increased waist circumference, and 21% reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.  

Rice Fits the New 2010 Dietary Recommendations

Eat More Nutrient-Dense Foods: U.S.-grown enriched white, whole grain brown and wild rice are considered nutrient-dense foods, with more than 15 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and only about 100 calories per 1/2-cup serving.

Choose Whole and Enriched Grains: The Dietary Guidelines recommend the majority of calories come from carbohydrates found in whole grains, fruit and vegetables.  The average person age 19-51, with a 2,000 calorie diet, should consume six servings of grain daily, ideally three ounces from whole grains, and three from enriched.

Currently, most Americans are not consuming adequate amounts of whole grains, which are an important source of dietary fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients.  High-fiber diets provide bulk, are more satiating and have been linked to lower body weights.  Brown and wild rice are 100% whole grain rice.  One-half cup of cooked whole grain brown or wild rice equals one whole grain serving.

Enriched, fortified grains are also part of a healthy diet and are the largest source of folic acid in the U.S. diet, providing more than 15% of the total folic acid intake. Since 1998 when FDA mandated that enriched grains be fortified with folic acid, the rate of neural tube birth defects has decreased by approximately one-third in the U.S.  One cup of cooked enriched rice delivers 92 of the daily recommended 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid, which is 23% of the Daily Value (DV).

The new Guidelines emphasize grain based foods that do not contain added fat, salt or sugar. U.S.-grown rice is naturally fat-, sodium- and sugar-free, and most dishes made with rice are not significant sources of solid fat or added sugars.

Rice Fits in Easy, Delicious Recipes

Many popular rice-based dishes are not only budget-friendly and easy to prepare, they can help consumers boost levels of the some of the key shortfall nutrients including fiber, vitamin D and potassium, highlighted in the new Guidelines.  This Salmon, Rice and Veggie dish (pictured below), combines enriched white rice or whole-grain brown rice with vitamin D-rich salmon, as well as fiber- and potassium-packed veggies:

The USA Rice Federation is the global advocate for the U.S. rice industry, conducting programs to inform consumers about domestically-grown rice. U.S. farmers produce an abundance of short, medium and long grain rice, as well as organic and specialty rices including jasmine, basmati, Arborio, red aromatic and black japonica, among others.  Farmers in Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas grow some 20 billion pounds of rice each year according to the highest quality standards.  Eighty five percent of the rice Americans consume is grown in the USA. Look for the U.S. rice industry’s “Grown in the U.S.” logo on packages of 100% domestically-grown rice.

For more information about the benefits of rice and recipes, visit www.usarice.com. Check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usarice and visit our Twitter page, twitter.com/eatusrice.

10 Fast Facts About U.S.-Grown Rice and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines:

  1. Rice is Nutrient Rich:  Enriched white rice and whole grain brown rice provide many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber (brown and wild rice) important for good health.
  2. Rice is a Good Source of Folic Acid: A serving of enriched white rice provides 23% of the Daily Value (DV) for folic acid, which the new guidelines call a nutrient of public health concern and one that is especially important for women and adolescent girls who are able to become pregnant, to prevent certain birth defects.
  3. Rice Eaters Have Healthier Diets and Reduced Risk of Obesity: Research shows that those who eat rice have reduced risk for many chronic conditions, including heart disease and obesity.
  4. Rice is Free of Trans and Saturated Fats:  Rice contains zero grams of both blood-cholesterol raising trans and saturated fat.
  5. Rice is Sodium-Free: Rice is naturally free of sodium.  Consumers can flavor rice with herbs, spices, and many other sodium-free alternatives.
  6. Rice is a Calorie Bargain: A half-cup cooked serving of rice is just over 100 calories. Whole grain brown and enriched white rice are important in a balanced diet, because research shows that rice eaters consume less fat and sugar and, as a result, tend to eliminate calories they don’t need from their diets.  This helps people adopt a healthier eating style and maintain a healthy weight.  
  7. Rice is Affordable: A serving of rice costs just .10 cents, making it a nutritional bargain. It can help stretch consumers’ food dollars when used as a meat alternative or “filler” in dishes.
  8. Rice is a Perfect Fuel: Rice fuels working muscles with the carbohydrates needed to exercise longer and harder.  Eating carbohydrates before and after exercise is a great way to get more out of workouts.
  9. Rice is Non-Allergenic: Easily digestible rice is one of the first foods for babies and for adults who have gluten intolerance or celiac disease.  Rice and rice-based foods are healthy alternatives to wheat, barley and rye.
  10. Rice is a Perfect Partner: Rice is generally eaten with other healthy foods, including vegetables, beans, seafood, chicken and other lean proteins. Together, rice and its companions on the plate can improve America’s overall diet and health.

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