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Eating White Rice Linked to Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Higher risk for Asian versus Western population; but dose-response seen for both populations

FRIDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Intake of white rice is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, particularly for Asians, according to a study published online March 15 in BMJ.

To investigate the correlation between white rice consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes, Emily A. Hu, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues reviewed four articles which included seven distinct prospective cohort analyses in Asian (Chinese and Japanese) and Western populations, including 352,384 participants.

The researchers identified a total of 13,284 incident cases of type 2 diabetes during the follow-up period, which ranged from four to 22 years. Compared with Western populations, Asians had significantly higher rice consumption (average intake of three to four servings per day versus one to two servings per week). Comparing the highest with the lowest category of rice intake, the pooled relative risk was 1.55 in the Asian populations and 1.12 in Western populations. A meta-analysis indicated that, for each incremental serving of rice per day, the relative risk of type 2 diabetes was 1.11 (P for linear trend < 0.001).

"This meta-analysis suggests that higher white rice intake is associated with a significantly elevated risk of type 2 diabetes, especially among Asian populations," the authors write. "The dose-response relations indicate that even for Western populations with typically low intake levels, relatively high white rice consumption may still modestly increase risk of diabetes."

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