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healthy rice recipes Learn about the world’s most popular grain

More than half of the world’s population relies on rice for its life-sustaining energy, fiber, antioxidant phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. In the United States, we eat 25 pounds of rice per person every year.1

Which is better nutritionally – Brown or White Rice?

Both are great complex carbohydrate choices. Eating rice – brown or white – is not only in line with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPyramid recommendations, it’s also linked to healthier eating according to recent research.2,3 Compared to people who don’t eat rice, rice eaters:

  • Are more likely to eat a diet consistent with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans;
  • Consume less added sugar and fat;
  • Consume more nutrients, such as folic acid, potassium and iron, which are in rice products;
  • Are less likely to be overweight or have an increased waist circumference;
  • Have 34% reduced risk of having high blood pressure; and
  • Have a 21% reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.


healthy rice recipesShould I Switch from White Rice to Brown?

Not according to leading health organizations like the March of Dimes and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whose position is that the push for whole grains may unintentionally be resulting in women not getting sufficient folic acid. This may undermine progress that’s been made in decreasing birth defects since mandatory fortification began. White rice, like other enriched grains, is fortified with folic acid; and brown rice is a great-tasting, versatile, whole grain option, that makes it easy to meet whole grain consumption goals. Eating more whole grains is important, but not at the expense of enriched grains – the best nutrition option is to make room for both. The Dietary Guidelines recommend 6-10 grain servings each day.

Fast Facts on the World’s Top Grain

Enriched White Rice & Folic Acid Facts

  • Enriched grains are the primary source of folic acid in women’s diets.
  • According to the CDC, the incidence of neural tube defects (NTD) in the U.S. has decreased by 26 percent since folic acid fortification of white rice and other enriched grains began in 1998.
  • The CDC reports that 70 percent of spina bifida (an NTD) cases could be prevented if women consumed 400 micrograms folic acid per day prior to pregnancy.
  • Research suggests that folate may also be cardioprotective, aid in neurological function, and have anti-cancer properties.

Brown Rice, a Whole Grain of Goodness

  • Brown rice is a 100% whole grain that contains many beneficial phytonutrients.
  • Recently, the FDA agreed that packages of whole grain brown rice may carry the health claim, “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”
  • One cup of brown rice is equivalent to two of the three recommended daily whole grain servings.

For more information about rice, visit

1. USA Rice Federation Domestic Usage Report, 2006-07.
2. Betres-Marquez SP, Jensen HH, Upton JL. Trends in Rice Consumption and Contribution of Rice to the Total Diet of Americans. Abstract presented at Texas Dietetic Association Meeting, Apr 2005.
3. Fulgoni III, V.L., et al. (2008) Rice consumption is associated with a greater nutrient density, lower blood pressure, decreased body weight, smaller waist circumference and a reduced risk for metabolic syndrome in adults. Experimental Biology meeting abstracts [on CD-ROM], Abstract 31081.

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