An examination of several studies that included a total of 350,000 people has linked high consumption of white rice with an increase in type 2 diabetes. A comparison of the studies that were conducted in China and Japan, where white rice is a staple, indicated that people there were 55 percent more likely to develop the disease than Asian people who ate the least rice.
However, rice consumption alone may not be the only factor in the Asian increase in diabetes. According to Qi Sun, PhD, of Harvard University, the transition to a less active lifestyle and greater availability of food may make the Asian population more susceptible to the adverse effects of consuming quantities of white rice. Sun also pointed out that people need to pay attention to everything they eat and not focus only on a single food.
White rice increases blood sugar more than other whole grains, largely due to the way it is processed. Brown rice was not part of this overall study because only one of the individual studies examined it.
The study concluded that even among people who don’t eat a lot of white rice, eating a great deal of the grain may modestly increase the risk of diabetes.
Source: Hu EA, et al “White rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: Meta-analysis and systematic review” BMJ 2012; DOI: 10.1136/bmj.e1454.