Eating white rice is known to cause a sudden spike in blood sugar because it converts rapidly to sugar. This effect could lead to people overeating, thus getting exposed to Type Two diabetes, writes Dr KIZITO LUBANO
The researchers found that after follow-up periods that ranged from four to 22 years, that almost 13,400 people had Type Two diabetes. People who ate the most rice were more than 1.5 times likely to have diabetes than people who ate the least amount of rice.
What’s more, for every 5.5 ounce serving of white rice — a large bowl — a person ate each day, the risk rose ten per cent.
Statistics indicate that Kenya has over two million adults and 25,000 children living with diabetes. Reports indicate that lack of knowledge, low level of awareness; negative attitudes and poor dietary practices have led to the upsurge of the disease in the region.
Health experts say the coastal region, where rice is considered a staple food, has the highest number of new diabetes cases. At least five new cases are reported weekly at the Coast General Hospital (CGH) in Mombasa.
This figure, which translates to 3,000 new diagnoses every year, does not include statistics drawn from other towns in the vast province. In Coast province, there is perhaps a larger consumption of white rice (pilau) and other sweetened refined foods such as halua, combined with a sedentary lifestyle.
Globally, three billion people depend on rice for over half of their daily calorie intake. This is more than half the world’s population, who have made white rice a dietary staple. In local shops and supermarkets, 95 per cent of rice sold is the white variety, rather than the healthier brown.
While all types of rice are a good source of energy, white rice (polished or milled rice) contains a limited amount of micronutrients. It only has a dietary source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as well as copper, iron, molybdenum, manganese, zinc and geranylgeranoic acid.