Changing from white rice to brown rice can reduce the chance of developing diabetes by up to 16%, a new US study has claimed.
The research also found that eating all kinds of whole grain foods - like brown rice and pasta, wholemeal bread and rolled oats - instead of white rice was linked to a risk reduction of up to 36% in developing the condition.
Dr Qi Sun, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who led the team, said that diabetes risk is cut by 16% if a person replaces 50 grams of white rice a day with the same amount of brown rice. Substituting whole grains in general for white rice was associated with a risk reduction of up to 36%.
Brown rice, like other whole grain foods, takes longer to increase blood sugar levels than “high glycaemic” refined products but more than 70% of the rice eaten in countries like the UK and US is white. The outer bran and germ portion of the grains are left on brown rice but cut away to manufacture more starchy white rice.
The research team told the Archives of Internal Medicine journal: “The high glycaemic index of white rice consumption is likely the consequence of disrupting the physical and botanical structure of rice grains during the refining process, in which almost all the bran and some of the germ are removed. The other consequence of the refining process includes loss of fibre, vitamins, magnesium and other minerals, lignans, phytoestrogens and phytic acid, many of which may be protective factors for diabetes risk.”