Harvard Men's Health Watch

Daily "dose" of white rice linked to diabetes

White rice is a staple food in some parts of the world, especially Asian cultures. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health evaluated whether the tasty grain is served with a side of risk for Type 2 diabetes. To conduct the study, they pooled data on the diet, lifestyle, and diabetes rates for some 352,000 people from China, Japan, the United States, and Australia.

Trends over 22 years of follow up showed that each daily serving of 5.6 ounces (about cup) of cooked white rice is associated with an 11% higher risk of developing diabetes. People who ate the most white rice saw a 27% boost in risk, said a study in the British Medical Journal.

Processed white rice has a high glycemic index, which means that eating it causes your blood sugar (glucose) to rise more rapidly than if you eat whole grains. Such foods have been linked to higher diabetes risk and other health concerns. A prudent course would be to enjoy white rice in moderation, preferably in combination with vegetables and whole grains.

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