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Eating brown rice reduces diabetes risk

London: Eating two or more servings of brown rice per week was linked with an 11 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes when compared with those eating almost none.

Simply replacing white rice with its brown alternative can help people to reduces diabetes risk, scientists have found.
Simply replacing white rice with its brown alternative can help people to reduce diabetes risk, scientists have found.

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston found that while eating white rice increased a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes, brown rice had the opposite effect and reduced the likelihood of them developing the condition.
They found that replacing 50 grams of white rice with the same amount of brown reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by around 16 per cent.

When they looked at white rice alone, they found people who ate five or more portions of white rice a week increased their risk of diabetes by almost a fifth – 17 per cent – compared with those who ate little white rice.

White rice starts life as brown rice before it is refined and milled to remove the outer husk which contains minerals, vitamins and fibre.

This means white rice is processed by the body much faster and causes a surge in blood sugar levels, whereas brown rice and other whole grains are digested much slower, releasing energy more slowly and keeping blood sugar levels more stable.

Diabetes occurs when the body does not make insulin or enough of it which controls blood sugar levels.

Replacing white rice with lots of different whole grains, such as whole wheat and whole barley, reduced the likelihood of diabetes by even more – and by more than a third in some cases.

Lead author Dr Qi Sun investigated 39,765 men and 157,463 women and adjusted for other factors that can influence diabetes.

Dr Sun wrote in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine: “The consequence of the refining process includes loss of fibre, vitamins, magnesium and other minerals, many of which may be protective factors for diabetes risk. From a public health point of view, replacing refined grains such as white rice by whole grains, including brown rice, should be recommended to facilitate the prevention of type 2 diabetes.”

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form which usually develops in adulthood and can be linked to obesity.

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