(PhysOrg.com) -- Appreciation for rice continues to grow as the U.S. population diversifies. Now, a series of rice utilization workshops -- cosponsored by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and USA Rice Federation collaborators -- have led to a better understanding of the health benefits of the satisfying grains.
Heightened emphasis on daily whole-grain consumption in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans inspired one of the workshops. A plan of action was developed during that workshop in 2007, which led to the rice industry qualifying to use the whole grain health claim for the first time on brown rice packages starting in 2008.
Research leader Elaine Champagne, with the ARS Food Processing and Sensory Quality Research Unit (FPSQ) in New Orleans, La., co-sponsored the workshops.
According to MyPyramid.gov, an interactive tool based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the amount of grains people require depends on their caloric needs, which varies by age, sex, and physical activity.
MyPyramid.gov encourages males and females aged 9 through 50 and older to consume three "ounce equivalents" of whole grain foods daily. Within the grains food group, one "ounce equivalent" for whole grain rice would be one-half cup of cooked brown rice.
Another plus is that busy consumers no longer have to wait the traditional 50 minutes it takes to cook brown rice. ARS food technologist Harmeet Guraya, also with the FPSQ, developed a patented brown rice treatment that significantly reduces brown rice's long cooking time to 20 minutes—the cooking time of white rice.
Explore further: 'Rice camp' shows teens the grain is now