|Japonica rice, the stuff on the left in large amounts is linked to diabetes|
A review of previous studies confirmed that high consumption levels of white rice is likely to increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes. This news is especially troublesome for Asians, who tend to have a much higher white rice intake.
The review was done by experts at Harvard Medical and Harvard School of Public Health looking at Chinese and Japanese (as representatives of Asia) and Americans and Australians (as representative of Western society) (source).
The studies followed 350,000 people over time from 4 to 22 years. In these cases, over 13,000 people developed Type 2 diabetes. There was a 12 percent difference between the Asian and Western groups with Asians 55 percent likelier
It also should be noted (or be pretty clear) that:
Diet is only one factor in Type 2 diabetes, a complex disease that involves high levels of blood sugar that cannot be processed by the hormone insulin. Obesity and lack of exercise are also cited as culprits (source).
What Dan Thinks:
What I find surprising is that this is news to anyone. It is not a secret that rice has a high glycemic index and contains little nutritional value. I remember reading somewhere that we always want to avoid spikes in sugar levels and that such an avoidance will let us live longer (pending other diseases or freak occurrences).
Starches (or, carbohydrates), just like candy or soft drinks, are basically sugar. The only difference is that starches are complex carbohydrates which means they need to be broken down to get at the sugar. But when a person overloads on carbs (no matter what it is) the sugar is released right into the bloodstream causing one of these nasty "spikes".
This was always something I considered in Japan when students were encouraged to go back for seconds and sometimes thirds on the white rice. I'm guessing most of them thought it was healthy, a sign of genki-ness and made for a strong child. The same went for seconds of white bread which everyone thought was a healthy alternative to rice every once in a while. Sometimes we would have yakisoba (noodles), bread, butter and honey, and then a milk--all of which pretty much amount to sugar. And students' consumption was only checked by the amount of food that was left to eat. It really blew my mind.