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Contribution of specific diseases and injuries to changes in health adjusted life expectancy in 187 countries from 1990 to 2013: retrospective observational study

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 27 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l969

Rapid Response:

Regular Functional Rice to Combat Human Diabetes

Thank you to the authors for this thought-provoking and landmark article[1]. The research paper of Chen et al (2019) investigated diabetes with top two negative contributors in health adjusted life expectancy at birth (HALE0) at global level. Rice production regions (East Asia, Southeast Asia, High income Asia-Pacific, Central Asia, South Asia except self harm, Oceania, Australasia, Tropical Latin America, Caribbean, High income North America, North Africa and Middle East) caused the biggest reduction in HALE0 in 21 regions in 187 countries from 1990 to 2013[1]. Newman reported that the International Diabetes Federation has led global efforts to combat diabetes for about 70 years, however diabetes worldwide has soared and four founding members have resigned [2]. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes accounted for 5.6% and 91.2% in US adults with diagnosed diabetes, respectively [3].

We think that the major scientific basis is as follows: human diabetes outbreaks owe their origin to consumption of brown rice with low glycemic index (GI≤55) and barley (GI≤25), which were the staple diet of the ancient people, whereas white rice (GI≥87) and wheat white flour (GI≥86) are now consumed as staple foods of modern people[4]. GI of rice and its products ranged from 47 to 132, which depends on varietal, compositional, processing, and accompaniment factors [5]. However, a long consumption of high-GI (70-132) rice caused diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disorders, but rice with a lower GI (≤55) can prevent these problems.

Although the ancient Asian people consumed more than 90% of brown rice, modern Asian people consume more than 90% of polished rice. It is a fatal problem to raise the consumption proportion of brown rice for modern Asia to the level of ancient Asia. We agree that technology of polished rice with high-resistance starch for sustaining regular consumption every day is not the problem, such Gongmi3 of low GI with rapidly digestible starch (absorption of the former small intestine) and slowly digestible starch (absorption of posterior small intestine) as well as resistant starch (absorption of fermentation in large intestine). High-resistance starch rice (Gongmi3) can be long timed and quantified and safe as well as a maximally functional food, which has a remarkable effect on controlling postprandial blood sugar, reducing complications and insulin dosage, which could solve the global medical problem of hypoglycemia among diabetics. It is a first choice of food for diabetes in famous Chinese hospitals, according to 10 years of marketing practice with more than 10000 patients from 2008 to 2018.

Human diabetes outbreaks imply a gap in modern medicine and agronomy. The fluctuation and transport difference among organs as well as side effects and overdependence on drug therapy for diabetes promotes the prosperity and hides the imperfection of medicine. For modifiable health contributors, medical care accounts for 10 to 20%, but social determinants (especially sustaining healthy eating behavior) contribute 80 to 90%[6]. On the contrary, thousands species of health products in the Chinese market cannot solve the problem of diabetes outbreak, which is related to the fatal difficulty of regular consumption [7]. 50–55% carbohydrate diets had minimal risk of mortality[8]. Neanderthal diets with major meats and mushrooms and pine nuts[9], but lack of sustaining healthy diets, suggesting the cause of Neanderthal destruction.

The psychological pursuit of taste diverts us from a healthy diet, especially good polished rice. Human diabetes is associated with six major dietary structures from early hominids to modern humans[4]; however high-resistance starch rice, white rice + pearl barley or barley grass powder is the most health major dietary guidelines for modern humans in preventive diabetes, and is essential for human health and the development of functional food crops.

[1] Chen H, Chen G, Zheng X, Guo Y.Contribution of specific diseases and injuries to changes in health adjusted life expectancy in 187 countries from 1990 to 2013: retrospective observational study. BMJ 2019; 364: l969. 10.1136/bmj.l969
[2] Newman M. Questions over future of global diabetes group as founding members resign. BMJ 2019; 364:l995. 10.1136/bmj.l995
[3] Xu G, Liu B, Sun Y, et al. Prevalence of diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes among US adults in 2016 and 2017: population based study. BMJ 2018; 362. 10.1136/bmj.k1497
[4] Zeng YW. Human diet and health. Science 2018;
[5] Kaur B, Ranawana V, Henry J. The glycemic index of rice and rice products: A review, and table of GI values. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2016; 56:215-236. 10.1080/10408398.2012.717976
[6] Bleich SN. A road map for sustaining healthy eating behavior. N Engl J Med 2018; 379: 507-509. 10.1056/NEJMp1805494
[7] Zeng YW. Diets of low sodium with high potassium to combat cardiovascular diseases. BMJ 2019; 364:
[8] Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Klein GL,et al.  Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial. BMJ 2018;363: k4583. 10.1136/bmj.k4583
[9] Weyrich LS, Duchene S, Soubrier J, et al. Neanderthal behaviour, diet, and disease inferred from ancient DNA in dental calculus. Nature 2017; 544: 357-361

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 March 2019
Yawen Zeng
Post scientist, Professor, PhD / Functional Food Crop
Jiazhen Yang, Juan Du,Xia Li, Xiaomeng Yang, Xiaoying Pu; Biotechnology and Germplasm Resources Institute, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Biotechnology and Germplasm Resources Institute, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences /Agricultural Biotechnology Key Laboratory of Yunnan Province/Key Laboratory of the Southwestern Crop Gene Resources and Germplasm Innovation, Ministry of Agriculture, Kunming 650205, China
Beijing Road No. 2238