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White rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis and systematic review

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1454 (Published 15 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1454

Re: White rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: meta-analysis and systematic review

Emily Hu’s recent paper further endorses the significant role that the consumption of white rice plays in the development of type 2 diabetes. Whilst acknowledging the importance of this publication, it also brings into focus the urgent need to develop practical strategies to reduce the glycemic load of rice based diets. In most Asian countries, rice remains the major staple and is unlikely to be displaced by any other staples. Per capita rice consumption in Asia ranges between 70- 245 kg/year and in China and India consumption rates are 77 and 71 kg/year respectively (FAOSTAT, 2012). In societies with a long tradition of rice consumption, dietary advocacy to reduce its intake will remain an untenable goal. Strategies to reduce the glycemic load of rice based diets should therefore become a priority. Since rice is rarely eaten alone but in combination with animal or plant based foods, the challenge is to develop dishes and condiments to accompany rice that will reduce the glycemic load. Other strategies include the use of plant breeding and processing techniques such as parboiling. Translating these epidemiological observations into practical solutions will be the greatest public health challenge ahead.

References

FAOSTAT, 2012. Per Capita Rice consumption FAO, Rome.

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 April 2012
C. Jeya K. Henry
Professor (Human Nutrition)
Viren Ranawana
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences
30, Medical Drive, Singapore 117609