Thursday, July 1, 2010

The impending Indian health crisis

Three posts:
Replacing White Rice with Brown Rice or Other Whole Grains May Reduce Diabetes Risk
For immediate release: Monday, June 14, 2010

Boston, MA‹In a new study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) have found that eating five or more servings of white rice per week was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, eating two or more servings of brown rice per week was associated with a lower risk of the disease. The researchers estimated that replacing 50 grams of white rice (just one third of a typical daily serving) with the same amount of brown rice would lower risk of type 2 diabetes by 16%. The same replacement with other whole grains, such as whole wheat and barley, was associated with a 36% reduced risk.

The study is the first to specifically examine white rice and brown rice in relation to diabetes risk among Americans, said Qi Sun, who did the research while at HSPH and is now an instructor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. ³Rice consumption in the U.S. has dramatically increased in recent decades. We believe replacing white rice and other refined grains with whole grains, including brown rice, would help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes,² said Sun.

The study appears online June 14, 2010, on the website of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Brown rice is superior to white rice when it comes to fiber content, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals, and it often does not generate as large an increase in blood sugar levels after a meal. Milling and polishing brown rice removes most vitamins and minerals. In addition, milling strips away most of its fiber, which helps deter diabetes by slowing the rush of sugar (glucose) into the bloodstream.

The researchers, led by Sun, and senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH, examined white and brown rice consumption in relation to type 2 diabetes risk in 157,463 women and 39,765 men participating in the Brigham and Women¹s Hospital-based Nurses¹ Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. The researchers analyzed responses to questionnaires about diet, lifestyle, and health conditions which participants completed every four years. They documented 5,500 cases of type 2 diabetes during 22 years of follow-up in NHS 1 participants, 2,359 cases over 14 years in NHS II participants, and 2,648 cases over 20 years in HPFS participants.

Sun and his colleagues found that the biggest consumers of white rice were less likely to have European ancestry or to smoke and more likely to have a family history of diabetes. Eating brown rice was not associated with ethnicity but with a more health-conscious diet and lifestyle. In the analysis, researchers adjusted for a variety of factors that could influence the results, including age, body mass index, smoking status, alcohol intake, family history of diabetes, and other dietary habits, and found that the trend of increased risk associated with high white rice consumption remained. Because ethnicity was associated with both white rice consumption and diabetes risk, the researchers conducted a secondary analysis of white participants only and found similar results.

Because brown rice consumption was low in the study population, the researchers could not determine whether brown rice intake at much higher levels was associated with a further reduction in diabetes risk. Substitution of other whole grains for white rice was more strongly associated with lowering diabetes risk. This observation, said the researchers, may result from more reliable estimates based on participants¹ higher consumption of whole grains other than brown rice. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the U.S. government, identifies grains, including rice, as one of the primary sources of carbohydrates and recommends that at least half come from whole grains.

Americans are eating more rice, but it¹s mostly white. ³From a public health point of view, whole grains, rather than refined carbohydrates, such as white rice, should be recommended as the primary source of carbohydrates for the U.S. population,² said Hu, ³These findings could have even greater implications for Asian and other populations in which rice is a staple food.²

Other HSPH authors included Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, Donna Spiegelman, professor of epidemiologic methods, Rob van Dam, adjunct assistant professor of nutrition, Michelle Holmes, associate professor in the department of epidemiology, and Vasanti Malik, teaching fellow in the department of nutrition. This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health. Sun was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from Unilever Corporate Research. ³White Rice, Brown Rice, and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women,² Qi Sun, Donna Spiegelman, Rob M. van Dam, Michelle D. Holmes, Vasanti S. Malik, Walter C. Willett, Frank B. Hu, Archives of Internal Medicine, online

2) An old beeb report:
Genes 'up Indians' obesity risk'
Linky: Beeb
The finding might provide a possible genetic explanation for the particularly high levels of obesity in Indian Asians, who make up 25% of the world's population, but who are expected to account for 40% of global cardiovascular disease by 2020.
Studies show Indians carry certain genes that increase susceptibility to diabetes and lack genes that provide protection, said Dr V Mohan, director of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation.
Beeb Linky
Sitting on a powder keg, never seemed a better metaphor.

3) Alzheimer's epidemic in India -- Quite scary numbers projected. 16m in India, despite eating turmeric aplenty. The incidence rate in the U.S. now is \approx 1 million, or 1 in 200. With 1.6b population in 2050, 16m translates to 1 in 100. That despite a predominantly vegetarian diet, I surely cannot not be surprised. Asia's numbers are expected to grow from 1 out of 3 (in the world) to more like in 1 in 2. More interestingly, China is projected to have 27m out of a population of 1.5b, that is 1 in 60. I can understand that with a pork-dominated diet. But it still beats the U.S. incidence rate now -- and the U.S. diet is beef and pork-dominated, so what gives. Either the report is bullshit and a global warming type scare tactic to make Asia focus on AD research, or I have no bloody clue on what AD is all about. The latter seems more likely, but knowing the west, I would nt be surprised if the former ends up being closer to the truth.



At July 1, 2010 at 9:39 AM , Anonymous Al said...


Has there been any resesearch on the link between AD and the mental activity history of the people getting AD? That is, do people who follow healthy practices that keep their mind active ever get AD?

At July 1, 2010 at 10:13 AM , Blogger Pax-Indica said...

First: Please call me stan. Chinna paya naan :).

Regarding AD, what I have read is that more mental faculties a person continues to wield as they age, the chances of AD getting pushed down the ladder gets better. I am just reading up stuff on this. I have no background in these matters other than that I have some nascent interest in detecting early-stage epilepsy and AD via signature identification. Easier said than done given that epilepsy has not been well-understood despite taking the best brains for the last thirty to forty years. The case of AD detection is even more recent.

The numbers in that article just did nt seem to match common sense, at least from what I could see. And from what I had read about the beneficial effect of curcumin in dissuading the onset of AD. Other than that, I am as much shooting in the dark as you are with some bits and pieces of info.

At July 1, 2010 at 2:06 PM , Blogger G said...

Stan saar:
Dr. Oz talks about the Global Health; and India could well learn a lesson about the side effects of globalization.,28804,1995199_1995190_1995177,00.html


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