GARDENA, Calif., Feb. 13 Consumers today are confusedabout carbohydrates. Popular diet books have steered readers away from carbs,while other experts say that the type of carbohydrates is more significantthan how much we take in each day. The answers may lie in the dietarytraditions of one of the oldest populations on earth, namely, Japan.
Zojirushi (http://www.zojirushi.com), Japan's leading manufacturer of ricecookers, has seen North American sales of their rice preparation productscontinually increase. "Our biggest selling products are rice cookers andbreadmakers. I don't think people are necessarily avoiding carbohydrates, butrather learning how to regulate their intake more intelligently," says MarilynMatsuba, marketing manager of Zojirushi America, the company's US affiliate.
The popularity of such products is a testament to how convenient they areto use. The technology found in today's kitchen electronics is impressive.The guesswork in cooking rice or baking bread has been virtually eliminated asmicro-computers manage the heating process from start to finish, ensuring aperfect bowl of rice or loaf of bread, no matter who's at the controls.Adding rice to one's diet is now a much simpler task.
The average Japanese complements each meal with some form of rice. Riceis a complex carbohydrate, supplying energy, fiber, essential vitamins andminerals and beneficial phytonutrients, while enhancing antioxidant protection.It's no wonder the citizens of Japan live longer than almost anyone else onearth!
Scientific research supports the benefits of carbohydrates, such as rice,in a healthy diet. Moreover, experts agree that carbohydrates with added fatsand sugars are the dietary culprits, not healthy, complex carbohydrates likevegetables, fruits and grains such as rice.
In fact, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Institute ofMedicine recommend that 45-65% of daily diet be composed of carbohydrates.
A recent study presented at the American Dietetic Association Food &Nutrition Conference & Expo 2007 (FNCE), shows those who incorporate rice intotheir diets reduce their risk across a variety of diseases.
"We saw a trend toward healthier eating and more favorable risk factorsfor disease, such as lower blood pressure and waist circumference for all agegroups, with the most significant findings among adults aged 19-50," saidstudy contributor Julie Upton, MS, RD, who presented the data at the FNCEmeeting. "This is good news for Americans looking to make a change in theirdiet because it suggests that adding rice to the diet may promote healthierfood choices."
So consumers who want to improve their health need only to watch totalcalories and to choose the right source and balance of carbohydrates as keycomponents to a healthy diet and longevity.