March 16, 2012
New Research Suggests That White Rice Increases Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
According to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, regularly eating white rice significantly increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The authors from the Harvard School of Public Health looked for evidence of the association between eating white rice and Type 2 diabetes in previous studies and research. The new study focuses on finding a direct link between the risk and the amount of rice eaten. This study also seeks to determine if the risk of Type 2 diabetes is greater in Asian countries, whose diet consists of more white rice than westerners.
"What we've found is white rice is likely to increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, especially at high consumption levels such as in Asian populations," Qi Sun of the Harvard School of Public Health told AFP.
"But at the same time people should pay close attention to the other things they eat.
"It's very important to address not just a single food but the whole pattern of consumption."
Sun´s team first discovered the link in their analysis of four previous studies conducted in China, Japan, Australia, and the United States. These studies followed 350,000 people for anywhere from 4 to 22 years. Out of these groups of people, more than 13,000 (less than 5%) developed Type 2 diabetes.
The studies carried out in Asian countries China and Japan found that those who ate white rice regularly were 55 % more likely to develop the disease. Those who lived in Australia and the United States, where white rice isn´t consumed as often is in Asian countries, were 12% more likely to develop the disease.
The previous studies also found that the Asian participants ate 3 to 4 servings of white rice a day compared to the westerners one to 2 servings of white rice a week.
Sun´s team found that, on average, the risk of type 2 diabetes is increased by 10% with each increased serving of white rice.
White rice is the most common form of rice eaten worldwide. It gets its color from being machine-processed, which removes the hull, leaving behind a white grain which consists of mostly starch.
Brown rice, on the other hand, contains its natural fiber and vitamin content, as well as its brown color. Brown rice also has a lower glycemic index , or sugar content, than starchy white rice.
Sun´s team suggests that the high risk of Type 2 diabetes from high white rice consumption may be caused by the lack of the nutrients found in brown rice.
"I don't think I can put forward a 100-percent confirmed case, given that this is a meta-analysis of four original studies," Sun said.
"But I see a consistency across these studies, and there is biological plausibility that supports the association between white rice consumption and diabetes."
In light of these studies and findings, the authors of this research recommend eating more whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates such as white rice. This sort of change in diet could slow down the global trend of diabetes.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). diabetes affects nearly 350 million adults worldwide.