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Studies Show White Rice May Increase Risk for Diabetes

Switch from White Rice to Brown Rice

What causes diabetes? In the United States, over 20 million people have Type 2 diabetes caused by being overweight and over consumption of unhealthy high-glycemic foods such as white rice. White rice is a dietary staple for many people – not just Asian populations. Recent news about this starchy food may indeed surprise you.

A new study from Harvard School of Public Health found that higher white rice consumption was associated with a significantly higher risk of Type 2 diabetes.  According to the study, the risk for diabetes increases by 11% with each additional serving of white rice per day.

Scientists conducted studies in two Western countries (United States and Australia) and in two Asian countries (China and Japan). Participants were diabetic-free when the studies began and analyzed from four to 22 years, depending on the study. They found over the course of the studies that 13,284 individuals developed diabetes. What a huge increase!

A relation between increased white rice consumption and higher risk of diabetes was found in both Asian and Western countries, but this link was yet stronger in Asian populations and greater in women than men.

The study was not originally designed to prove a theory that white rice may increase diabetes, so researches were startled to find these results. White rice is a high glycemic index food, which means the body can rapidly convert it into glucose. On a 100-point glycemic index scale, white rice is at 64 while ice cream is slightly lower at 61.

Therefore, it’s not just white rice that we should focus on, but all other white, starchy and sugary carbohydrates as well.

The recommendation for the general public is to choose whole grains instead of refined white unhealthy carbohydrates. The refined carbohydrates have the healthy fiber stripped and are rapidly digested in the body, which causes a spike in blood sugar (the reason why it leads to diabetes) plus they are generally composed of empty non-nutritional calories. It’s much better to choose low glycemic foods to avoid being numbered by today’s diabetes epidemic.

About the author

Dr. Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC is a Harvard-trained cardiologist serving the greater Los Angeles community at her holistic health center in Burbank and Valencia, CA. Dr. Thaik is the author of Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength, and Spirit from the Body’s Core. To learn more about Dr. Thaik or the Holistic Healing Heart Center, or to schedule an appointment, please contact info@drcynthia.com or call (818) 842-1410.

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