Rice is a staple for more than half of the world’s population and is a food in nearly all the world’s cultures. It is nutritious, easy to digest, and plentiful – thus an excellent component in world feeding programs. Rice is versatile and easy to prepare, store, handle, and distribute.
Rice is comprised of mostly complex carbohydrates, contains essential amino acids and has the highest quality protein of all the grains. Using Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Scoring, rice has a 31% better quality protein than corn and a 38% better quality protein than wheat. This method of evaluating protein quality is useful to food aid professionals in planning diets with adequate protein since less protein is needed in diets when higher quality protein is included.
Rice is Perfect for Food Aid Because it is:
- Rich in complex carbohydrates*
- Contains all eight essential amino acids*
- Cholesterol and sodium-free *
- Therapeutic for some digestive disorders
- High digestibility (88%) aids in nutrient absorption
- Readily available and easy to handle/transport
- Shelf life of two years
- Meets USG "processed" food requirement**
- Meets the USG "bagged in the US" requirement**
* Very important points for improving the nutritional levels of those who have compromised immune systems.
**Congressional mandate for USAID Title II programs.
The nutritional values of long, medium, and short grain rice are essentially the same within each variety or classification (i.e., brown or white). Below is a comparison chart of brown rice, unenriched white rice, and parboiled rice: