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Study: Daily rice consumption improves nutrition

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

A study has found that eating white or brown rice daily can improve a person's level of potassium, magnesium and other nutrients while cutting down on saturated fat and added sugars.

MARYSVILLE, Calif. — A study has shown that daily consumption of white or brown rice can improve a person’s level of potassium, magnesium, fiber and other nutrients.

The research, led by Theresa Nicklas of the Baylor College of Medicine and published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Nutrition Sciences, also found that people who eat rice also tend to consume more fruit, vegetables, meat and beans.

Nicklas examined national health and nutrition data from 2005-2010 and compared rice consumption with overall diet quality and nutrient intakes of 14,386 U.S. adults, according to the USA Rice Federation.

“Our results show that adults who eat rice had diets more consistent with what is recommended in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines,” Nicklas said in a statement, adding that rice eaters tended to show higher nutrient amounts while consuming less saturated fat and added sugars.

The findings please producers such as Charley Mathews, a rice grower here who is on the rice federation’s executive committee. The federation partly funded the study with the help of the USDA and the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.

“Three-quarters of the world’s rice population eats rice every day, with very high consumption rates in Asia, and if you look at the health of those populations compared to ours, I think that’s a good selling point,” Mathews said.

“We’ve been advertising health issues since day one when promotion started, and our consumption levels in the U.S. have gone up since then,” he said.

The research builds on two previous studies linking rice consumption to better diet quality. A 2009 study observing national data found that rice eaters consumed significantly less fat and saturated fat and took in more iron, potassium, fiber, meat and vegetables, noted a USA Rice news release.

In 2010, a follow-up study included children and further associated rice consumption with a greater intake of a range of healthier foods and nutrients, according to the release. Clinical trials have also found that having white or brown rice at a meal increased satiety and feelings of fullness more than other carbohydrates.

Americans eat an average of 27 pounds of enriched white and brown rice per person each year, about 70 percent of which is enriched white rice, according to the federation.


USA Rice Federation: http://www.usarice.com


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