News / Health

Eating White Rice Increases Diabetes Risk

While eating brown rice could reduce it

Harvard researchers found that white rice consumption increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes while brown rice consumption actually reduces the risk.
Harvard researchers found that white rice consumption increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes while brown rice consumption actually reduces the risk.

Multimedia

Audio
Smitha Raghunathan

Reducing your risk of diabetes may be as simple as having a bowl of brown rice instead of white.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have just released a study showing that white rice consumption increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes while brown rice consumption actually reduces the risk.

Rice is one of the world's most abundant food crops. The success of this grain can be attributed to the availability of both manpower for planting and harvesting, as well as plentiful rainfall in the regions where it's grown. White rice has become especially prevalent because of its long shelf life. Since it is such an important part of diets around the world, researchers like Qi Sun are now looking at its relationship to chronic disease.

"More and more I realize that actually chronic disease prevention is very important and also that diet is one of the most important risk factors for chronic diseases," says Sun.

Sun is the lead author of a new report from the Harvard School of Public Health. His study shows that a diet high in white rice is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, a serious health condition in which the body is unable to properly use sugar in the bloodstream.

Study participants included more than 39,000 men and 157,000 women. They were asked about their diet and lifestyle habits as well as any pre-existing diseases. The researchers found that participants who ate five or more servings of white rice per week had a 17 percent increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. In contrast, those who ate two or more servings of brown rice per week had an 11 percent reduced risk.

Brown rice is the naturally occurring form of the grain. Refining it involves removing the outer layers, including the husk, bran and germ, leaving the inner white kernel. The end product is then often enriched, to replace a portion of the nutrients lost during the refining process. However, white rice is essentially a starch.

Sun explains that the loss of the fiber-rich outer layer allows starch to be absorbed more quickly into the body.

"The outer layers will slow down the penetration of digestive enzyme into the starch part so that the release of the sugar into the bloodstream will be slow for brown rice in comparison with white rice."

While the exact reasons are unknown, a diet of foods that quickly release sugar into the bloodstream is associated with a greater risk of Type 2 diabetes. This makes the selection of food such as brown rice important in preventing this disease.

In addition to this major benefit, Sun points out that less refined grains tend to have more nutritional benefits than their refined counterparts. In fact, he says replacing rice with whole grains such as whole wheat and barley could result in a 36 percent lower chance of developing Type 2 diabetes.

"I think our current research for rice is consistent with the overall picture in that whenever possible it is reasonable to recommend people to replace refined carbohydrates, including white rice, white bread, added sugar, with whole grains."

Brown rice spoils more quickly than white rice making it an unsuitable commodity for poor or remote communities.
Brown rice spoils more quickly than white rice making it an unsuitable commodity for poor or remote communities.

Unfortunately, brown rice is more perishable than white rice. Because of the oil-rich bran layer, it spoils quickly if not refrigerated or stored in vacuum-sealed bags. That makes it an unsuitable commodity for poor or remote communities.

To address this issue, the International Rice Research Institute, or IRRI, is working in collaboration with the Food Futures Flagship at the Commonwealth of Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, towards developing varieties of white rice whose starch is released slowly. IRRI researcher Melissa Fitzgerald says finding the genes which control starch release is just the first step toward creating a grain that people will accept as part of their diet.

"And so once we understand the genetics, we can try and just take those particular genes and work with popular varieties of rice to cross those particular genes into a popular variety and still maintain the expected cooking and eating qualities of the grain," she says.

With new studies finding increasingly strong links between diabetes and cardiovascular disease and even certain types of cancers, research to improve this dietary staple has taken on a new urgency.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid