White Rice may Raise the Risk of Diabetes

white-riceAccording to a new study, eating white rice regularly may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In this study the researchers analyzed data presented in four studies – two from Asian countries, China and Japan, and two from western countries, U.S and Australia.

The results of the study, published in the journal BMJ, showed that people who had more servings of white rice per day increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Each serving of white rice was associated with a 10% increase in the risk of this type of diabetes.

Although the study has shown a link between increased risk of diabetes and intake of white rice, it does not explain how the two are connected. According to researcher Qi Sun, MD, an instructor in medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, “this may be due to the sudden increase in the blood sugar levels as white rice has a very high glycemic index”. Sun says that “white rice is very low in fiber content which might add on to the risk”. “This increase in risk is applicable to other starchy carbohydrates like white bread, white pasta, and white potatoes”, he adds.

According to him, “one need not avoid white rice totally, but can have it in moderation. However, it is always better to chose whole grains than white varieties. One can have white rice once or twice in a week”. Spyros Mezitis, MD, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, also agrees with the fact that all starchy foods increase the risk of diabetes when had in excess. He says that “people who are at risk of developing diabetes should reduce the amount of calories, lose excess weight and substitute white carbohydrates with whole grain foods”.

Tracy Breen, MD, director of diabetes care for North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, feels “what and how much you eat may not be the only factors in developing the disease”.” Genes also matters while considering the risk of the disease. Since genes cannot be changed it is better to think about how food plays into the culture”, she adds. According to Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, “the observational nature of the study is the major drawback to present a cause and affect relationship”. In her opinion, “controlled studies are required to prove that the risk of the disease increases by the intake of white rice”.

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