FRIDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- People who eat white rice on a regular basis have a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes, a new international analysis contends.
Harvard School of Public Health researchers reviewed the findings of four previous studies conducted in the United States, Australia, China and Japan. None of the participants had diabetes at the start of the studies. Overall, the trials included more than 350,000 participants tracked anywhere from four to 22 years.
Researchers led by Qi Sun found a strong association between eating white rice and type 2 diabetes, and the link was stronger in women than in men, according to the study published online March 15 in the British Medical Journal.
The more white rice a person ate, the greater his or her risk for diabetes. For example, for each serving of white rice (assuming 158 grams/6 ounces per serving) there was a 10 percent increased risk of diabetes, the Harvard team estimated.
Compared to brown rice, the white variety has lower levels of nutrients such as fiber, magnesium and vitamins, the team noted. Intake of some of these nutrients are also associated with lowering a person's risk of diabetes, the researchers said.
White rice -- the main type of rice eaten worldwide -- also scores high on the glycemic index (GI), a measure of how foods affect blood sugar levels. High GI diets are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, the research team said.
"These findings are very significant," says registered dietitian Karen Congro, director of The Wellness for Life Program at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, in New York City. She agreed with the researchers that, "because it is a simple carbohydrate, white rice is also a high glycemic food and can be responsible for high spikes in blood sugar, even for people without diabetes."
Another expert said lifestyle changes, including food choices, are key to warding off d
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