Glycemic Responses To Rice Differ by Ethnicity

Published Online: Friday, December 14, 2012
Although rice is a staple food of China, a recent study published online on November 26, 2012, by Diabetic Medicine suggests that the food increases the risk of type 2 diabetes more so in the Chinese population than in European populations.

The study compared the glycemic responses to glucose and 5 rice varieties in people of European and Chinese ethnicity and examined ethnic differences in postprandial hyperglycemia. Researchers measured glycemic responses of healthy Chinese and European volunteers on 8 occasions after eating glucose and either jasmine, basmati, brown, Doongara, or parboiled rice. Researchers also collected data on participants’ physical activity levels.

The glycemic responses of the Chinese participants to the 5 rice types were 60% greater than European participants. Responses to glucose were 39% higher among Chinese participants. Basmati rice had the lowest glycemic response, with the response to other varieties being approximately 20% greater.

The findings are especially important in light of the fact that China has high diabetes rates. The study suggests that recommendations regarding dietary carbohydrates should be reviewed for rice-eating populations at high risk for diabetes.

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