DIABETES WARNING ON WHITE RICE
White rice is now a staple in our diet
Friday March 16,2012
By Jo Willey Health Correspondent
REGULARLY eating white rice can increase the risk of developing diabetes, experts warned last night.
The staple food, eaten by millions of Britons every day, raises the chance of getting type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and poor diet.
The average Briton consumes nearly 10lb of rice a year, mainly as an accompaniment to curry.
And 95 per cent of the £900million of rice sold is the white variety, rather than the healthier brown.
Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, America, said that people from China and Japan have a much higher white rice intake than those in the West, averaging three to four servings a day, compared with our one or two servings a week.
But even for Western populations with lower rice intakes, the researchers said: “Relatively high white rice consumption may still modestly increase the risk of diabetes.”
Writing in the British Medical Journal, the authors concluded: “We found that higher rice consumption was associated with a significantly elevated risk of type 2 diabetes.”
95 per cent of the £900million of rice sold is the white variety, rather than the healthier brown
The condition is up to six times more common in South Asian communities than in the general UK population and three times more common among people of African and African-Caribbean origin.
The Harvard team looked at two studies involving 350,000 people.
They took into account a variety of factors such as people’s weight, how much exercise they took and dietary issues such as red meat and alcohol intake.
All the people were free from diabetes at the start of the studies.
Over the next four to 22 years, around 13,200 of them developed the condition.
Previous studies suggest eating healthier brown rice may modestly decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. But the authors said larger studies were needed to look at any benefits of substituting brown rice for white.
White rice is the main type of rice eaten worldwide and has high GI (glycaemic index) values.
High GI diets are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
A previous study has shown that replacing a third of a typical serving of white rice with brown would lower the risk by 16 per cent.
Dr Katarina Kos, senior lecturer at the Peninsula College of Medicine & Dentistry in Plymouth, said: “The authors found that with each serving of white rice the relative risk of type 2 diabetes increases.
“Rice is the typical carbohydrate which accompanies meals, especially in Asian populations.
“The more rice/starchy food we have, the more likely we will also be to eat more of everything else.
“Diabetic patients are typically overweight if not obese. All of us should consider carefully whether we need a second helping.”
In an accompanying editorial to the report in the BMJ, Dr Bruce Neal, of the University of Sydney, said more and bigger studies were needed.
Catherine Collins, principal dietician at St George’s Hospital, London, said: “The review findings suggested that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was higher in the Asian population but whether this was due to higher daily intakes of rice or to genetic predisposition could not be determined from this research.”
Dr Iain Frame, of Diabetes UK, said: “Previous research in this area has not provided conclusive results and it is a difficult area to conduct research because no single type of food is directly linked or associated with development of type 2 diabetes.”