Thursday, May 03, 2012

Why Less White Rice Should Be Consumed?

I should cut down the consumption of white rice! That was the message I heard from my late father who was diagnosed with diabetes in his 40s. But he did not tell me why. Perhaps he thought I was too young to understand at that time. Anyway, I bore that message in my mind for all these years.

In a paper published on March 15, 2012 in the ‘British Medical Journal’ (BMJ), researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health reported that they found a link between higher consumption of rice and Type-2 diabetes.

The findings were the results of an analysis of 4 previously published studies, carried out in China, Japan, Australia and the United States. By following 350,000 people over a timescale from 4 to 22 years, researchers found that more than 13,000 people were found to develop Type-2 diabetes.

In the studies carried out in China and Japan, those who ate most rice were 55 percent more likely to develop the disease than those who ate least. The difference was, however, only 12 percent in the United States and Australia. Participants in the 2 Asian countries ate 3 or 4 servings of rice a day on average, compared to just 1 or 2 servings a week in the Western countries.

As the research was a meta-analysis of 4 original studies, the researchers admitted that they could not be 100 percent sure on what they had found, and their research did have some limitations, including lack of full details about what the volunteers ate in addition to rice.

Nevertheless, they did see a consistency across all these studies and there was biological plausibility highlighting the link between white rice consumption and Type-2 diabetes. Therefore, they suggested carrying out further study to gather more trial data in order to confirm their observations. Meanwhile, obesity and lack of exercise are also cited as the cause for Type-2 diabetes.

Being the most common form of diabetes, Type-2 diabetes is a disease in which high levels of sugar presented in the bloodstream either there is insufficient insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. When sugar builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into cells, it can lead to complications, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, eye complications, and kidney disease.

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