Intended for healthcare professionals


White rice and risk of type 2 diabetes

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 15 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2021
  1. Bruce Neal, senior director
  1. 1George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney, PO Box M201, Sydney NSW 2050, Australia
  1. bneal{at}

New study highlights old challenges of nutritional epidemiology

A marked rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes is a characteristic feature of populations that have undergone nutritional transition.1 First seen in the developed Western world, the same pattern is now being replicated in low income and middle income countries, where most new cases of diabetes now occur.2 The role of poor diet in the diabetes epidemic is undisputed, but the details have long been debated.3 Although overconsumption of energy and accumulation of excess body fat is a common cause of type 2 diabetes,4 diet almost certainly has other unknown effects, and specific foods with particular adverse effects may have a direct role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

The linked paper by Hu and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.e1454) sheds new light on the relation between diet and diabetes, and the authors bring a new level of rigour to efforts to answer the question of the possible effect of higher consumption of white rice.5 They systematically searched for …

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