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White rice benefits health, increases energy

Rice is healthy, nearly fat-free and versatile.
January 19, 2005 - There's more than a grain of truth to the nutrition and health benefits of rice.

Rice is easy to digest, naturally sodium and cholesterol-free, with only a trace of fat. Rice is also an excellent source of en-ergy and can fit with any healthy eating program, dietary trend and lifestyle.

According to the United States of America Rice Federation, rice is an important source of folic acid in the diet in a form that is easily digested, and folic acid may cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and depression in adults. One-half cup of cooked white rice provides 15 percent of the daily value of folic acid and thiamin and 8 percent of the daily value of iron and niacin.

The National Academy of Science recommends that 45 to 65 percent of calories come from carbohydrates. One-half cup of cooked rice contains 22 grams of carbohydrates.

Plus, brown rice, with a hearty, nutty flavor, is a good source of fiber.

In addition, rice combines well with vegetables and legumes, helping to increase the intake of important nutrients from these sources.

The balanced diet message is simple: calories in, calories out.

All experts agree that no matter what the diet plan, eating fewer calories, whether it is carbohydrates, protein or fat, leads to weight loss.

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