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Substituting Brown for White Rice Reduces Diabetes Risk

Study finds whole grains as a group reduce type 2 diabetes risk substantially over white rice

TUESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Substituting brown rice, or other whole grains, for white rice in a person's diet can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes, according to research published in the June 14 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Qi Sun, M.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues combined cohorts from three previous studies, totaling 39,765 men and 157,463 women. The subjects were stratified by amount of white and brown rice consumed and followed for the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Adjusting for age as well as lifestyle and dietary risk factors, the researchers found that higher intake of white rice (five or more servings per week versus less than one serving per month) was associated with higher type 2 diabetes risk (relative risk, 1.17) while high brown rice intake (two or more servings per week versus less than one per month) was associated with lower risk (relative risk, 0.89). They calculated that replacing 50 g/d (uncooked) intake of white rice with brown rice would lower type 2 diabetes risk by 16 percent. The same white rice replacement with whole grains (as a group) was linked to a 36 percent lower risk.

"Substitution of whole grains, including brown rice, for white rice may lower risk of type 2 diabetes. These data support the recommendation that most carbohydrate intake should come from whole grains rather than refined grains to help prevent type 2 diabetes," the authors write.

Sun is supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from Unilever Corporate Research.

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