Diabetes Now Linked to... White Rice?

Kim LaCapria

It seems that in the health news world it's like another day, another risk factor for diabetes emerges.

It's long been a tenet of diabetes sufferers and those who are suspected to have pre-diabetes conditions that carbohydrate intake should be measured and care should be taken to prevent blood glucose from spiking. Low fiber and high carbohydrate foods like white bread are considered less desirable dietary choices because frequent consumption can raise risk of diabetes, and diabetics could experience blood sugar issues when eating the wrong foods.

Rice is somewhat of a dietary cornerstone, though, and not nearly as maligned as Wonder bread. It's also a massive part of Asian diets, diets that are frequently cited as having fewer obesity-related nutritional concerns linked with them. But a new study examined the role of white rice- tasty, sushi-wrapping white rice- and type 2 diabetes, and made some very troubling discoveries indeed for those of us who happen to be fonder than fond of spicy crunchy yellowtail rolls. (Okay, aside from the fact that Jeremy Piven totally turned into a thermometer from eating sushi all the time.)

The new study sliced and diced data from four studies involving participants who were diabetes-free when the study began- one each in the US and Australia, and one each in China and Japan. While study participants in the US and Australia averaged five servings of white rice a week, those in China and Japan clocked four servings a day. WebMD notes that researchers concluded that "diabetes risk rises by about 10% with each increased serving per day of white rice."

The study was published in BMJ. Do you try to choose brown rice over white to stave off future lifestyle-related problems like diabetes?