1. Switching from white to brown rice could reduce diabetes risk. Asian populations may be at higher risk of type 2 diabetes because of a more sedentary lifestyle and because of the traditional diets high in white rice.
Harvard researchers report that those who consume the most white rice were 27% more likely to develop diabetes than those eating the least, the association being greatest in Asian People (55%).
Scientists pooled results from four prior studies totaling 352, 384 participants with follow-up periods ranging from 44-22 years. The more white rice all people ate, the greater their diabetes risk, with each additional daily serving linked to 11% greater risk of developing the disease.
It appears that Western populations might consider opting for unprocessed brown rice that retains its whole-grain nutrients.
Study published in British Medical Journal
My Take on the study: This is all true, but in a few days, I’ll be publishing a recent study that affirms a disturbing amount of arsenic in rice and in some other basic foods.
2. Fiber might also be good for your heart. Dietary fiber may help prevent against heart disease, particularly for women. Swedish researchers studied 8,139 men and 12, 535 women ages 44-73 over a period of 13.5 years. Participants had no history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
Women who consumed the most fiber (primarily from fruits, vegetables and bread) had a 25% lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than those who consumed the least.
The association was less pronounced in men, though high fiber intake was connected to lower incidence of stroke in men.
Researchers aren’t sure about how the fiber is protective or why its protection seems gender specific and say both issues merit further research.
Study published in PLOS One
3. Amount of belly fat associated with death from sudden heart problems
Excess belly fat, as measured by waist-to-hip ratio, is associated with a 40% greater risk of dying from sudden heart problems (death within one hour of symptom onset), according to a study presented by Selcuk Adabag to the Heart Rhythm Society.
Adabag and his team of researchers at the University of Minnesota looked at 15,156 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities, ages spanning 45-64 years. Over 12.6 years, 301 cases of sudden cardiac death occurred.
Those in the top 20% of the ratio had waist-to-hip measures of 0.97 or higher for women and 1.01 for men, indicating that the waist and hips were about the same size.
The lowest 20% had ratios of less than 0.82 for women and less than 0.92 for men.
Researchers suggested that belly fat is especially dangerous because of its effect on inflammation, which can lead to fibrosis in the heart muscle.
“The significance of this study is that it shows that abdominal obesity is an independent risk factor for sudden cardiac death, even after accounting for factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and coronary heart disease,” Dr Adabag said.
You can calculate your own ratio by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement.
Study presented to the Heart Rhythm Society
Sources: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, August 2012 Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)