Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Long and the Short of it,

Sometimes I forget how delicious rice is, and then I have some (Especially the steamed kind from Asian Restaurants) and remember just how delicious it is.

I worked at a Japanese restaurant, Douzo, for a while, and we had “Family Meal” during our meal breaks, which always consisted of rice (white and brown were available), some form of vegetable (usually bok choy, yum), and a meat. Consequently I ate A LOT of rice, and became a rice snob because rice cooked in a rice cooker is the best, and can no longer deal with that boil in a bag business.

When cooking for myself, I generally make brown rice to get a whole grain in, and it does have a nice nutty taste and more fulfilling texture: but overall I think all rice is great. There are all those studies/ theories that gluten intolerance is on the rise basically because an overconsumption of gluten (namely in wheat.) Plus, whenever comparing a healthy diet, people always bring up the Asian diet which is largely based on rice.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association showed that the consumption of rice in America is growing, though this is largely in part due to the increase in Asian and Mexican Americans. Basically it was a food frequency study, and the data it found was purely correlation that those who consumed more rice had overall healthier diets. Its hard to determine if there is any real cause and effect relationship there- but overall, rice is not a negative!

Rice is overall low in fat, relatively low in calories, high in fiber (if eaten as a whole grain- brown or wild rice) and a good source of other vitamins and minerals.

“Results Rice is consumed by a significant portion of the US
adult population. Compared with others who did not consume
rice, rice consumers consumed a smaller share of
energy per day from fat and saturated fat; more iron and
potassium; and more dietary fiber, meat, vegetables, and
grains. Race/ethnicity and education are determinants of
the probability of consuming rice, and more so than low income
Conclusions Rice consumers choose a diet that includes
more vegetables, a smaller share of energy from fat and
saturated fat, more dietary fiber and more iron than
those who do not consume rice; the differences have remained
relatively stable over the last decade. Accounting
for race/ethnicity and income levels is important for better
understanding of factors that affect food choices and
for effective design of dietary interventions.” (1)

It was shown that those with a lower income were more likely to consume more rice, which isn’t surprising considering that the demographic of lower income individuals tends to be more minorities, and of course, rice is cheap.

(1) S. PATRICIA BATRES-MARQUEZ, MS; HELEN H. JENSEN, PhD; JULIE UPTON, MS, RD, “Rice Consumption in the United States: Recent
Evidence from Food Consumption Surveys.” The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, October 2009.

P.S. I hope ya'll got the joke of the title-- the long and the short of it, Get it? like the grain of rice? haha-- ya I know I am lame.

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