According to a study published today on, consuming to much white rice regularly considerably increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In order to determine if the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is dependent on the amount of rice consumed and whether the Asian population, who generally consume more white rice than the Western world, have an even greater risk of developing the condition, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health examined earlier studies and evidence of this association.

The researchers examined the results of four studies conducted in Japan, China, Australia, and the USA. At study baseline, all participants were diabetes free.

White rice has high GI values and is the leading type of rice consumed globally. Diets with high GI values are linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The Chinese population eats an average of four portions of rice per day while the Western population consumes less than five portions of rice per week.

In both Western and Asian countries, the team found a stronger association amongst women than men. In addition they found that the more white rice consumed, the higher the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Each increased serving of white rice (assuming 158g per serving), increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 10%, according to the teams estimate.

Brown rice contains more nutrients than white rice, including vitamins, fiber, and magnesium, some of which are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. As white rice has a lower content of nutrients, consuming too much could result in an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers conclude:

“Higher white rice intake is associated with a significantly elevated risk of type 2 diabetes.”

This risk applies to both Western Cultures as well as Asian. However, due to the finding indicating that the more rice consumed the higher the risk, the researchers believe Asian countries are at a greater risk. The researchers advise that individuals consume whole grains rather than refined carbohydrates, such as white rice, and that by doing so will hopefully slow down the worldwide diabetes epidemic.

In an associated report, Dr. Bruce Neal from the University of Sydney states that larger studies are required in order to confirm the theory that white rice increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Written by Grace Rattue