Replacing White Rice with Brown Rice or Other Whole Grains May Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk

In a new study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that eating five or more servings of white rice per week was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, eating two or more servings of brown rice per week was associated with a lower risk of the disease. The researchers estimated that replacing 50 grams of white rice (just one third of a typical daily serving) with the same amount of brown rice would lower risk of type 2 diabetes by 16%. The same replacement with other whole grains, such as whole wheat and barley, was associated with a 36% reduced risk.

Why is this important to Zoomers? Type-2 diabetes, a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes, is more common to strike later in life, and the number of people with type 2 diabetes, according to the Canadian Diabetes Association, is increasing dramatically due to a number of factors:

0. The population is aging.
0. Obesity rates are rising.
0. Canadian lifestyles are increasingly sedentary.

The study is the first to specifically examine white rice and brown rice in relation to diabetes risk among Americans, said Qi Sun, who did the research while at HSPH and is now an instructor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “We believe replacing white rice and other refined grains with whole grains, including brown rice, would help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes,” said Sun.

The study appears online June 14, 2010, on the website of the journal
Archives of Internal Medicine.