'Eating white rice daily may raise your T2 diabetes risk'

If you are eating one large bowl of white rice every day, you are 11 per cent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, a new Harvard study claimed, but dietitians said one should not jump to conclusion.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, was based on a meta-analysis four studies involving over 350,000 people who were diabetes-free at the begining of the study and followed up for four to 22 years.

A team from Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School who looked at two studies in Asians (Chinese and Japanese) and two in Western populations (the US and Australia) found that every large bowl (158gm) of white rice eaten a day is linked to an 11 per cent increased risk of the condition.

Dietitians, meanwhile, said the study authors have jumped to conclusions and argued that there is no proof that eating white rice -- the staple food of the South Asian countries -- actually causes T2 diabetes, the Daily Telegraph reported.

According to study researchers, white rice tends to be converted rapidly in the body into sugars, a characteristic known as having a high glycaemic index (GI).

This causes blood glucose levels to spike quickly and then fall off, which can cause problems in those who are already diabetic, the researcehrs said.

It also means one is left feeling hungry sooner than if one had eaten a low GI food like porridge. That could prompt people to overeat and become overweight, which is known to raise the risk of developing T2 diabetes.

The researchers also speculated that white rice could contribute to developing diabetes as it was lower than brown rice in fibre, magnesium and vitamins, some of which are thought to protect against the disease.

The results showed that Asian people have a higher chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, with those who ate the most at highest risk.    

But even for Western populations with typically low intakes, the researchers said "relatively high white rice consumption may still modestly increase risk of diabetes".

They concluded: "We found that higher white rice consumption was associated with a significantly elevated risk of Type 2 diabetes. This association seems to be stronger for Asians than for Western populations."

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