An analysis of 132,373 participants in 21 countries over nearly a decade has indicated a high risk of diabetes linked with the consumption of white rice. The risk is most prominent for the South Asian population, according to the study published in the September issue of Diabetes Care journal.
The study was an international collaboration between researchers from various countries—including India, China, and Brazil—in Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Europe.
The participants in the study were aged between 35-70. Out of that group, 6,129 people developed diabetes over the course of nine and a half years. The average consumption of rice was 128 milligrams.
However, the highest consumption of white rice was seen in South Asia at 630 grams a day, followed by South East Asia and China with 238 grams and 200 grams per day, respectively.
The higher consumption of rice was linked with lower consumption of other foods like fiber, dairy products, and meat.
It was also found that carbohydrates make up for nearly 80% of calories consumed in many South Asian countries.
But over time, carbs have become increasingly polished and refined, the process which makes them lose nutrition.
China and India are the world’s two largest countries where white rice is the staple food. But the researchers have found there is no significant association between white rice consumption and diabetes in China.
This might be because of their other lifestyle factors. The sticky rice that Chinese eat could also be the reason for this difference, said researchers.
Studies have shown that replacing white rice with unpolished brown rice decreases the glycemic index by 23% and fasting insulin response by 57%.
The risk of increased diabetes can be lowered by substituting white rice with a healthier option and also pairing it up with legumes, pulses, and green vegetables.