Brown or white rice? Diabetes risk jumps 11 percent for each serving of white rice eaten per day, according to a new meta-analysis of Asian and US/Australian populations published in BMJ.
But white rice doesn’t necessarily cause diabetes, says Clyde Wilson, Ph.D., a nutrition professor in the Stanford University and University of California, San Francisco schools of medicine. “The reality is that eating too much of any carbohydrate, including brown rice, can lead to diabetes,” he says.
White rice is implicated because of its high glycemic index (GI). High GI diets tend to spike blood sugar levels quickly and are associated with diabetes. However, “the glycemic index of brown rice is only about 10 to 20 percent less than white, so it digests relatively quickly, too.” (Not to mention, there areseveral problems with the GI measure to begin with.) It’s more about the amount you’re eating, less about the type.
Rice can be a healthy part of your diet. They key is to slow the rate your body digests carbs, so they don’t cause a dangerous rise of glucose in your bloodstream.
First, choose white or brown based on—and here’s a brilliant idea—what you like best. Whether eating white or brown, add raw veggies, like a side salad. “Foods act as a team within a meal and vegetables will slow down digestion and cancel out any negative effects of the rice,” says Wilson.