Food for Thought

Eating White Rice Daily Increases Diabetes Risk by up to 11 Percent

When we talk about the war against diabetes, most people are concerned with sugary foods. However, there’s actually a food staple that poses a greater threat—rice.

While Caucasians are known to eat more food that cause the disease, statistics show Asians have a higher chance of getting diabetes. Researches found out what the shocking culprit is: white rice.

A normal part of the Asian daily diet, white rice is brimming with starch that can overload the body with so much blood sugar. As a result, diabetes risk increases.

Chief executive of Health Promotion Board, Zee Yoong Kang, shared his plan to minimize the instances of diabetes around the world, particularly in Asia where it seems to be very rampant nowadays. Zee revealed a meta-analysis which tells that white rice when eaten on a daily basis can increase diabetes risk by up to 11% worldwide.

Zee Yoong Kang, photo courtesy of

But why is white rice so dangerous? Based on a 20-year-old study from the Harvard School of Public Health, white rice is not as safe to consume as many people think.

A single bowl of rice has at least twice the carbs in one can of soft drink. Carbs turn into sugar. Our pancreases create insulin, so that the body can utilize sugar. However, there are foods such as white rice, in which sugar is easily absorbed into the blood. This causes sugar spike, making the pancreas work more than they should.

Foods in which sugar is easily absorbed into the blood.

It’s not good to have sugar spikes. Since the pancreases work harder on the regular, they become less efficient in making insulin. As a result, the body absorbs more sugar. Everything in excess is bad, including sugar. Eating white rice every day can cause kidney damage because there is an overabundance of sugar in the body. This is where diabetes starts.

A lot of Asians consume refined carbs like noodles and rice. These foods come with considerable amounts of sugar. What’s worse is that if you have a high body mass index, your diabetes risk increases the more you eat white rice.

Brown rice rissoto.

Luckily, there are methods to combat this risk increase. Among them is to replace 20 percent of white rice consumption with brown rice. By doing so, you cut your risk by up to 16 percent.

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