White Rice Increases Risk of Diabetes

white riceThe British Medical Journal recently published a study on the health effects of eating nutrient-deficient white rice.

In an analysis of several studies, the researchers 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. A dose-response analysis showed that each serving per day of white rice consumption was associated with an 11% increase in risk of diabetes in the overall population.

Compared with minimally processed whole grains such as brown rice, white rice has a lower content of many nutrients including fiber, magnesium, vitamins, and healthy plant chemicals.  These are lost during the refining process when brown rice is converted to white.

Some of these nutrients, especially insoluble fiber and magnesium, have been associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in studies.  Thus, a high consumption of white rice may lead to increased risk of diabetes because of the low intake of beneficial nutrients.

Comments from the blog author, Nutrition Breakthroughs:

When eating highly processed foods, our bodies then need to take the missing nutrients out of our tissues in order to assimilate the deficient food.  This includes fast foods, pastries, cakes, cookies, sodas, and other foods made from highly processed white flour or white sugar.

One particularly important nutrient is magnesium — one that much of our population is deficient in.  Mildred Seelig, M.D., the leading medical researcher on magnesium says: “Many people needlessly suffer pain – including migraines and muscle cramps – because they don’t get enough magnesium.”

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center web site, inadequate magnesium also appears to reduce serotonin levels in the brain.  One study found that magnesium was just as effective as an antidepressant drug in treating depression.

In addition, researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that for every 100 milligram increase in magnesium intake, the risk of developing type-2 diabetes decreased by 15 per cent.

Chronic insomnia is also one of the main symptoms of magnesium deficiency.  Sleep in magnesium deficiency is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep, from a study done at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.

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Credit: The British Medical Journal http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e1454