2015 Dietary Guidelines Stresses Sustainability and Shift to Plant-Based Diet, Rice Well-Positioned

Feb 23, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC -- Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Advisory Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) for public comment and rice remains well-positioned thanks to the industry's sustainability record and the committee's grains recommendation.
The DGAC develops influential nutrition recommendations designed to reduce the risk of chronic disease while meeting nutrient requirements and promoting health of the U.S. population.
The 2015 Advisory Report identifies that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; lower in red and processed meats; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, as well as sodium, saturated fat, and refined grains - especially when refined grains are combined with added sugar, solid fat, and sodium.
"This report emphasizes increasing whole grain consumption, which is not new advice, but is good for rice," said Byron Holmes, an Arkansas rice grower and chairman of the USA Rice Nutrition Subcommittee.  "In fact, the 2015 report, in many ways, is similar to the 2010 guidelines that recommend half of American's grain intake should come from whole grains and recognizes the important nutrient contribution of enriched, fortified grains to the diet." 
"The panel also supports a shift to a more plant-based diet and considered the composition of dietary patterns that were linked to health outcomes, such as the Mediterranean and vegetarian patterns," said Fred Zaunbrecher, a Louisiana rice producer and chairman of the USA Rice Domestic Promotion Committee.  "And this is beneficial for both whole grain rice and enriched white rice because they are a great base for the foods the DGAC recommends."
New this year, the Advisory Report references the sustainability of foods and cites it as one of the benefits of a plant-based diet, saying Americans should take the sustainability of food production into consideration when making food choices.
"The U.S. rice industry's nutrition and sustainability studies we provided to the DGAC, demonstrated both the nutritional benefits of rice and positive scientific data showing that rice farmers are producing more rice with less resources and that rice growing has a unique relationship to wetlands, habitat, and wildlife," said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.
USA Rice will submit comments to the Advisory Report through the Grain Industry and Grocery Manufacturers Association coalitions. Following the comment period and a public meeting next month, USDA and HHS will finalize the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015 for release later this year.
Contact:  Katie Maher (703) 236-1453