White Rice Linked with Type2 Diabetes

Researchers have found high consumption of white rice increases the chances of developing diabetics, a disease that is becoming an epidemic in certain countries. The study reveals that for every large portion of rice consumed, the risk of developing the disease increases by 11 percent. People who ate rice as their staple diet, as much as four servings a day, were 27% more likely to develop diabetics, a phenomenon most common in Asian countries.

The research was carried by Harvard School of Public Health across four countries; China, Japan, Australia and the U.S. About 350,000 people were part of the studies for over a period of 4 to 22 years, out of which 13,000 people developed Type 2 diabetes.

The reason behind the higher risk caused by white rice is still unclear. However, researchers believe it could be its high score on the glycemic index (GI). The index shows how a specific food item affects blood sugar level, a high score means it can cause spike in blood sugar. Even previously, research has elucidated how foods with high GI index increase the risk of diabetes.

In studies conducted in Japan and China, where rice consumption is higher, people were 55 percent more likely to develop the disease. The same number for studies in U.S and Australia is only 12 percent, where rice consumption is much lesser. “We found that higher white rice consumption was associated with a significantly elevated risk of Type 2 diabetes. This association seems to be stronger for Asians than for Western populations.”

The study also mentioned that the risk of diabetics can not only be attributed to white rice, but what people ate along with it and the kind of physical activity they were involved in. Diabetics could also be linked with poor life-style choices. “Take steps to keep from becoming overweight, make physical activity a real priority, include some protein and fiber in each meal and snack, and spread your calories throughout the day.” Keith Ayoob, an assistant professor in pediatrics.

The other aspect of the study was to compare white rice and brown rice, the latter was found to contain fiber, magnesium and vitamins, some of which — especially fiber and magnesium help prevent diabetes, making it a better choice than white rice.

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