American researchers revealed that eating white rice on a daily basis can significantly raise the chance of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus. The reason: white rice contains relatively small amounts of vitamins and nutritional fibers. Every 158 grams a day of white rice increases the chance of becoming a diabetic by 10%.


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If you’re an unlimited eater of Asian restaurant cuisine, be warned: new research reveals that white rice may significantly increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, according to the British Medical Journal.

White rice is the most consumed type of rice in the world. China is the country with the highest consumption of rice: the average Chinese consumes 4 servings of rice per day.

White rice, which is highly refined, has a low amount of healthy nutritional compounds compared to relatively unprocessed brown rice, which contains nutritional fibers, magnesium, and vitamins, some of them shown to be protective against diabetes. Studies report that because of low amounts of those nutrients, too much white rice can negatively impact health.

Research: White Rice may Increase Risk of Diabetes

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health examined previous studies that examined the link between eating white rice and diabetes, to see if the risk is linked to the amount of rice consumed or to the Asian origin, where it is custom to consume large amounts of rice.

The researchers concluded the findings of four studies: two from Asian countries (China and Japan) and two from western countries (United States and Australia). All the subjects were healthy and didn’t have diabetes at the beginning of the study.

The study showed a similar trend both in Asia and in the west: as more white rice was consumed, the higher the risk for developing diabetes . Every 158 gm (approximately 1 cup) of rice consumed per day increased the chance of developing diabetes by 10%.

“Higher white rice intake is associated with a significantly elevated risk of type 2 diabetes,” the researchers wrote, noting a “dose-response relations,” meaning that the greater the amounts of rice you consume, the greater the risk of developing the disease. Greater risk was observed among the Asians in the study, due to the larger amounts of rice they consume relative to most westerners. The researchers recommended brown rice over white rice, which can decrease the proportion of diabetics.

Diabetes mellitus is divided primarily into two types: type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, and type 2 diabetes, also known as adult diabetes. Juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the cells in the pancreas that are in charge of producing the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible of introduction of sugar from the blood to the body’s cells to create energy. About 10% of diabetics have juvenile diabetes, and the rest have type 2.

Adult diabetes usually appears after the age of 40, and is caused by a reduced sensitivity of the body to insulin. In this case, the pancreas secretes increasing amounts of the hormone, until a complete depletion of its ability to produce insulin. Many of these patients, who at early stages are treated with pills, are ultimately forced to inject insulin every day. Type 2 diabetes can be caused by an combination of overweight, poor eating habits, or inadquately physical activity, usually with a family history. The global obesity epidemic, which stretches across all ages, has meant more and more children are also getting this “adult” type.

To learn more about the foods you should never eat, click here.

For more on the link between rice consumption and type 2 diabetes risk, see the article below on analyses conducted in nearly 200,000 US men and women:
White Rice, Brown Rice, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women
Qi Sun, MD, ScD; Donna Spiegelman, ScD; Rob M. van Dam, PhD; Michelle D. Holmes, MD, DrPH; Vasanti S. Malik, MSc; Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH; Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(11):961-969.

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Comments 17

  1. Hi i am just about to start my journey but i’m not sure about some things , i’ve chosen a weekly menu to suit myself and husband,, my confusion is ; the porrage, is it , a cup of cooked porridge, if so how much do you weigh out . Or is it a cup of dry porridge then cooked, i can’t find any accompaniment, what am allowed to have with salad ? Like some people i’m used to haveing salad cream , but i get i may not be allowed to have that. Thanks nic raw

    • Hi, nic raw, and welcome. The porridge is cooked in your menu, and is made of about 1/4 cup (40 g) of dry grains. A salad with salad cream is a fine accompaniment, along with a source of protein such as milk, yogurt, or egg. With regard to the salad cream, what is recommended is something with natural ingredients, preferably homemade, and about a tablespoon (14 ml) at a time. When you use the Menu Planner application, you will see that fruit is offered at breakfast rather than vegetables, but you just have your salad instead.

  2. can someone help ive been looking for sprouted wholegrain flour but can only see sprouted wholewheat is this the same & ive noticed one pack makes 2 loaves 6 packs of flour is £59. making 12 loaves?? making 1 loaf £4.91 plus other costs ontop surely this cant be right

  3. Hi, Jovina Shahbazian. Many people do indeed think so, and I have seen it have a better impact on the body. However, brown rice is still much, much better than white. By the way, are you the famous chocolatier/pastry chef?

  4. Hi, “I’ve always known you should eat more ‘brown’ than ‘white’ weather it’s rise, bread (grain – not wheat), nuts ect… but sometimes slip into bad habits and forget,” considering that white rice has more variety on shelf. And struggle to see it if your in a rush… Or they decide to put it elsewhere which is annoying ! but reading this article put me in the moment and now I’m gonna be more determined to buy brown which is also very tasty if you know what you’re doing.
    By the way ive just joined ‘Trim Down Club’ and I can’t wait to get started ! thanks, Racheal.

  5. Hi, Dekatin. The Chinese actually did not have much of a type 2 diabetes problem until they started incorporating western junk foods. Part of the reason is that they eat a relatively small amount, and compmlement it with plenty of protein and fresh vegetables.

  6. Diabetes showed in my body at the age of 55. I am trying to control it with diet. However, my cravings have gotten much worse. As for white rice we should not have more than a half cup. I have all the access to pure wild rice and I should use it more often. There are some delicious dishes you can make with wild rice keeping your dish flavorful and healthy.

  7. I heard Basmati rice is as not as bad as other rice. But, still we have to limit it.i am wondering if China is the highest diabetic population in the world since they are big rice consumers?

  8. Hi, Merasol. Many people are in that situation. It’s all a matter of gradually making the change – even restaurants are starting to offer a whole rice option, even in sushi. Keep in mind that the traditional foods were never refined or white like this.

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