White rice versus brown rice

White rice linked to type 2 diabetes

Nutritionists have long pushed brown wholegrain foods like bread and rice over white processed food. Now a study in the US has found that people who ate white rice had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health say replacing white rice with brown rice could cut the risk of diabetes by a third.

More than 70 per cent of rice eaten in Western developed countries is white. The refining process removes the outer bran and germ portions from the brown rice to leave a white starchy endosperm, or the inside of the seed.

It’s well known that this fibre in brown rice is healthier because it releases sugar more gradually (lower glycemic load). Researchers in the US have now found a link between white rice and type 2 diabetes.

We know for example that brown rice and wholegrain foods for example do not cause rapid elevations of the blood sugar level which puts stress on the pancreas which can increase the future risk of diabetes.

The researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health based their study on questionnaires filled out by more than 200,000 people about their dietary habits.

After adjusting for age and other diabetes risk factors the study found that eating five servings of white rice per week could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 17 per cent. And by replacing white rice with brown rice the risk of developing type 2 diabetes dropped by a third.

Brown rice is a very different composition to white rice, the brown rice having up to almost 350 times a percentage of fibre compared to white rice and also high rates of certain minerals and vitamins compared to milled white rice.

The higher the glycemic index the more the blood sugar rises after eating the food, which isn’t what we want. We want a slow sustained glucose release. So brown rice with a lower glycemic load compared to white rice, is therefore a more sustaining food and doesn’t rise the blood sugar as high as the white rice.

Both Australian diabetes experts stress that white rice is not the sole factor behind an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Perhaps one example of this is the rapidly growing rate of type 2 diabetes in Asian developing countries where white rice has been a staple for centuries.

Two months ago it was announced there are now 90 million people in China with diabetes, in addition to the 50 or 60 million in India. So almost a half or more of the people with type 2 diabetes in the world are in those two countries. And we could not just implicate that to white or brown rice.

It’s quite clear now that events during gestation when baby is in utero that what the mother does, eats, drinks or smoking for example can affect and set up that baby in adult life for diabetes and heart disease by a phenomenon we call epigenetics.

So this is a very interesting study but it doesn’t explain the whole story.

I believe that the lifestyle can be changed to avoid the risk of type 2 diabetes include my 8 principles for healthy aging.( weightlifting, cardio, eating more fruit and vegetables,choosing unrefined grains such as brown rice. etc…)

Choose the right lifestyle personal trainer/nutrition consultant.



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