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Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Date:6/14/2010

fferences affect the body over the long term, Sun and his colleagues culled data from three different studies involving nearly 200,000 participants. The studies (Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses' Health Study I and II) included 39,765 men and 157,463 women, and contained detailed data on dietary intake that was updated every four years over a 14- to 22-year follow-up.

After adjusting the data to control for many other factors that could contribute to type 2 diabetes -- such as body mass index, family history, age and other dietary habits -- the researchers found that the consumption of white rice was associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while regular consumption of brown rice was linked to a reduced risk.

People who ate at least five servings of white rice a week had a 17 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes, while those who ate at least two servings of brown rice a week reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 11 percent.

The researchers estimate that if people replaced white rice with brown rice, the risk of type 2 diabetes would go down by 16 percent.

One problem Sun and his colleagues discovered while doing the study was that brown rice consumption was relatively low during the study period. It's only in recent years that brown rice is becoming more popular. So, the researchers also evaluated the effect that replacing white rice with whole grains would have and found that the risk of diabetes would be 36 percent lower.

"There was a very strong association between whole grains and a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. We recommend replacing white rice with brown rice or other whole grains," said Sun.

"In general, bulking up on grains is a good idea, and this -- switching to brown rice from white -- is such an easy substitution to make," said Warman.

More information

Learn more about why brown rice and other whole grains
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