White rice has been the staple of the Asian diet for millennium. White rice is a refined grain, and as such, it has high glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure of how fast a carbohydrate (grain) is converted into simple sugar, glucose. The higher the index, the faster it converts. Sugars and very high glycemic indexing foods cause blood sugar to rise rapidly. The body uses the hormone insulin to bring it down. Diabetes is caused by a breakdown in how the body produces or uses insulin.
A recent study has shown that a regular diet of white rice may increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body no longer responds normally to insulin. This allows a person’s blood sugar to become dangerously high if not treated. Type 2 diabetes has historically been called adult on-set and is generally associated with obesity. In the study, published in the British Medical Journal, researchers compared the data from four studies: two in Asia, China & Japan, and two in Western countries, U.S. and Australia. They found that on average, Asians consume approximately 4 servings of white rice daily, while Westerners ate less than 5 servings per week. As the number of servings of white rice per day increased, the greater the risk of developing diabetes increased. Based upon the results of the study, each serving of white rice eaten per day, increases the risk of diabetes by 10%.
Although the study was not designed to discover the cause of the increase, it is reasonable to assume that lack of fiber and high glycemic load are to blame. If so, then these findings are likely applicable to any high glycemic, starchy carbohydrate, with little to no fiber. An example is bleached wheat flour that is commonly used in commercially prepared white bread. The best thing to do is to switch to the whole grain variety or whichever grain you like to eat most. For example, if you like rice, eat brown rice. If you like bread, try the whole grain variety. The foods that you eat are important for lowering your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Equally important is losing weight. Type 2 diabetes has a clear link to obesity, and your risk goes up significantly as you gain weight.
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