Healthy living

White rice linked to higher risk of diabetes

White rice linked to higher risk of diabetes Brown rice may cut risk

People who eat more white rice may be at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, new research has found.

But eating two or more servings of brown rice appears to lower the risk of disease.

US researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, looked at rice consumption and the risk of developing diabetes in more than 200,000 men and women.

After taking into account differences in age, lifestyle and diet which could influence their results, the researchers found that people who ate five or more servings of white rice each week had a 17 per cent increased risk of diabetes compared with those who ate less than one serving a month.

But eating two or more servings of brown rice a week was associated with an 11 per cent reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with eating less than one serving a month.

Based on their results, the researchers estimate that replacing 50g of white rice a day with the same amount of brown rice would be associated with a 16 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

And replacing white rice with whole grains as a group could be associated with a risk reduction as great as 36 per cent.

Diabetes causes the body to have high blood glucose levels, caused by not producing enough insulin.

During the refining process, almost all of the fibrous outer husk of the brown rice grain is removed to make white rice.

Removing the husk means that white rice is processed by the body faster and causes a sharp rise in blood sugar levels, whereas brown rice slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

In addition, most of the vitamins and minerals found in brown rice are lost during refining and some of these may give some level of protection against developing diabetes, the researchers said.

In the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, where the findings are published, the researchers concluded: "From a public health point of view, replacing refined grains such as white rice by whole grains, including brown rice, should be recommended to facilitate the prevention of type 2 diabetes."

This article was published on Tue 15 June 2010

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