March 15th, 2012

Podcast 149: High levels of white rice consumption seem linked to higher risks for type 2 diabetes

A BMJ meta-analysis suggests that people with the highest levels of white rice consumption are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

The authors examined four studies, together comprising some 350,000 subjects. Two were done in Asian populations and two among Westerners. They found a much higher intake of white rice among Asians, and a strong association between consumption level and risk. In Western populations, the association was suggestive, but not as strong.

The effect may possibly derive from the higher glycemic load with increasing consumption, or from the nutrients stripped away with the rice husk during milling.

The senior author, Dr. Qi Sun, discusses his findings with us in a brief interview.


BMJ article (free)

3 Responses to “Podcast 149: High levels of white rice consumption seem linked to higher risks for type 2 diabetes”

  1. Laurie Cree says:

    I cannot believe that this study is of any value when no attempt has been made the distinguish the type of rice eaten and the G.I. of that rice. I feel quite sure that this would significantly affect any conclusions made.

  2. João Carvas says:

    Do you have any data on Portugal? We are the european country with the highest white rice consuption in Europe. It would be interesting to study this.

  3. Abid Ahmed says:

    Its an interesting finding, traditionally like the Chinese it has been observed that South Indians also eat rice as staple food. Epidemiological studies in India has clearly shown that Type 2 diabetes has high prevalence in South India as compared to North India where the staple food is wheat. As rightly said by Dr. Sun, changes in the life-style in the last two to three decades and urbanization leading to sedentary life-style could be contributing factor on the background of persistent and excessive consumption of rice. The eating behaviour has drastically changed in the developing countries. More and more processed foods are consumed. A trend to eat high dense-energy fast foods has become popular among the younger generation as a result not surprisingly Type 2 diabetes among the children and adolescent due to obesity has surfaced. It is also possible that consumption of rice along with other meals which are high calories may contribute to diabetes due to increase in body weight.
    The best counselling to such group of population would be to decrease (not stop) the portion of rice and supplement with whole grains and plenty of green vegetables along with increase physical activity.
    All said and done, practically speaking it is extremely difficult to change the custom of nutritional intake as it is ingrained as a part of their eating behaviour. Only ongoing education right from the school level and community wide awareness with strict legislation on Healthy Nutritional modification on the part of the fast food chains along with environment (community, school, and workplace) conducive to physical activity would in the long run result in perceptible change in the rising epidemic of this disease in future.

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