In the United States just over 20 million people (which is approximately 8% of the population) have adult onset type 2 diabetes. The average prevalence of diabetes in adult people is about 6% and in Asian countries it is somewhat higher than other countries (11% in Japan and 9% in China and Korea).

It is most interesting to consider this fact. Despite much more obesity present in the USA and despite the fact that so many of us eat a dangerous diet, there is still so much more diabetes in Japan, Korea and China. This is caused in great measure by white rice.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance which is a state that is characterized by the body’s cells not being able to respond properly to insulin. This is a hormone that allows the transportation of glucose into the body’s cells in order to release the stored energy contained in that glucose. The overload of excess fat in the diet and consumption of high glycemic load (GL) foods have an essential role in the development of insulin resistance (eating a lot of high fat foods is the single greatest contributor to big weight gain).

Refined carbohydrates such as white riceare devoid of most fiber so that the absorption of sugars is increased which raises blood glucose faster. High-fiber foods retard the absorption of sugars.

The visible effect of a food on blood glucose is most clearly indicated by its glycemic index (GI) – a 1-100 measurement of the response of blood to glucose per gram of carbohydrate. Glycemic load (GL), an essential indicator, considers both the GI and the content of carbohydrate in a typical portion size.

A somewhat new meta-analysis has managed to explore the connection between white rice and the disease of diabetes
A thorough analysis of four prospective studies on white rice consumption and diabetes has been published recently.

This included 2 studies on Asian populations and 2 studieson Western populations. In most Asian countries, where white rice is a staple food, the average intake of white rice was of 3-4 servings per day while in Western countries the average was 1-2 servings per week. It was found in a comparison of the highest vs. lowest value of white rice intake groups,that the larger volume of white rice consumed yielded a staggering 55% increase in diabetes risk in the Asians and an expected 12% increase in Westerners. The overall situation indicates that every single daily serving of white rice managed to increase the overall risk of diabetes by 11%.

Westerners on average ate less than even one daily serving of white rice – but what about the other high-GL types of foods that Americans eat every single day? White pasta, white potato, and even white bread are also very high in GL and in conclusion likely to be at least as dangerous. This must be expected as the U.S. diabetes rates have tripled in the past 30 years and are even expected to be twice as high or triple again by 2050.

This is the case not for diabetes only – but also for cancer

High GL foods have many more dangers that reach far beyond the risk of diabetes. Diets made up of large quantities of processed high GL foods can increase risk related to chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer. We should make it clear that white rice and white flour products are foods that should not be the main portion of our diets. These low-nutrient and high glycemic foods are not just unfavorable from the single perspective of weight gain and diabetes, but could also have a significant role in promoting cancer by causing excessive insulin secretions. Levels of high insulin in the blood will promote the development of cancer cells partially by interacting with the receptor for insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1). A recent study of Korean women suggested that daily servings of white rice can increase breast cancer risk even by 19%. Similar studies in U.S. found a strong linkage between consumption of white rice and breast cancer recurrence. Diabetics are more likely by a percentage of 30% to develop colorectal cancer, a percentage of 20% are more likely to develop breast cancer and 82% more likely to have the bad luck to develop pancreatic cancer than people who are non-diabetics. This is the increased risk of cancer observed in diabetics and is thought to be caused, in part, by the cancer-promoting effects of therapy with insulin.It was largely accepted in the past that white rice was a healthful, low fat staple in a vegetarian diet. We have managed to expand our knowledge now and science is clear that white rice can be considered healthful no more or even neutral – it is a food that causes disease. The damaging effects of these high GL foods have been discovered and brought to light and we have now managed to realize that the most healthful sources of carbohydrate are those that manage to minimize glycemic effects – examples are: beans, peas, intact whole grains, and even starchy vegetables. Contrary to what you might think, there are many experts who would place potatoes in this group as well because they contain a high amount of fiber, protein and nutritious vitamins and minerals. The difference is between eating whole foods (brown rice, whole wheat flour and potatoes) versus refined foods like white rice.

Author's Bio: 

Ethan Walker III has been studying health, healing and nutrition for over 45 years. He has been a vegetarian since 1968 and a low-fat vegan since 2007. His focus is being in harmony with the natural order of life. He is a musician and has written three books on spirituality. He is the creator of the website Great Natural Home Remedies which provides thousands of natural remedies for almost every illness.