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Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Simply selecting brown rice over white also makes a difference, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, March 3 (HealthDay News) -- Brown rice is better than white rice at reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, but whole grains are the most effective at lowering the risk, study findings show.

U.S. researchers analyzed data from 39,765 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and 157,463 women in the Nurses' Health Study I and II. None of the participants had diabetes, heart disease or cancer at the start of the studies. Their consumption of brown and white rice, as well as other foods, was assessed every two to four years.

During 3.3 million person-years of follow-up, there were 10,507 incidents of type 2 diabetes. After adjusting for a number of dietary and lifestyle risk factors, the researchers found that people who ate five or more servings per week of white rice were 17 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate less than one serving of white rice per month.

In contrast, people who ate two or more servings of brown rice per week were 11 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who ate less than one serving of brown rice per month, the study authors reported.

"We estimated that replacing 50 grams/day intake of white rice with the same amount of brown rice was associated with a 16 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas the same replacement with whole grains as a group was associated with a 36 percent lower diabetes risk," wrote Dr. Qi Sun, of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues.

The study was to be presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Conference in San Francisco.

More information

The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion outlines how to prevent type 2 diabetes.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, March 3, 2010

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