Data from four studies analyzed cases in China, Japan, Australia and the United States to draw its conclusions, with baseline participants free of diabetes. Rich in refined carbohydrates, white rice was observed by the Harvard School of Public Health researchers
to affect people whose diets consisted more of white rice than brown rice or whole-grain rice.
The studies looked at information on diet and risks for type 2 diabetes, reviewing a meta-analysis and systematic summary of the data. Unfortunately, there were some limitations on the study's analysis which caused Australia researchers to warn of data over-interpretation.
However, Dr. Bruce Neal, MB, PhD, director of the George Institute for Global Health of Sydney, reported to Medscape
, "Although the findings of the current study are interesting, they have few immediate implications for doctors, patients, or public health services and cannot support large scale action."
Instead of the systematic summary, Dr. Neal stated that he wished to see an analysis of the cohorts in the Hu study based on primary data, as the highest and lowest levels of rice consumption had varied too much between the four studies of the 352,384 participants. It would be impossible for this to produce the same effects on the risk of diabetes, demonstrating that the consumption of white rice and its influence on type 2 diabetes is unclear at this time.
Medscape reported that "the researchers suspect that white rice contributes to diabetes risk because of its high glycemic index (64) when compared with brown rice (55), whole wheat (41), or barley (25). "In addition, white rice is the primary contributor to dietary glycemic load for populations that consume rice as a staple food."
What is positive is that diet related ill health has been found to be the leading cause of chronic disease around the world, including diabetes type 2 --- a lifelong (chronic) disease. Type 2 diabetes comprises 90-95% of people with diagnosed diabetes around the world.