White Rice is White Poison and Sets the Insulin Trap

April 22, 2012

White Rice is White Poison and Sets the Insulin Trap 

 Reference:  Qi Sun, British Medical Journal, March 15th, 2012 

 Oh dear, oh, dear. White rice is almost as sacred as white flour.  And for half the world, it really is.   We have a worldwide, runaway epidemic of diabetes.   In every society, folks are getting overweight and then gradually descending into insulin resistance, inflammation, and then frank diabetes.  Following that, in short order comes high blood pressures, heart attack for the main course, and finally, Alzheimer’s as a topper. 

 The authors combined four very large studies following 350,000 people eating rice for up to 20 years and found that 13,000 of them developed diabetes.   What they found was that those who ate the most white rice in Asian countries had a 55% greater likelihood of developing diabetes than those who eat the least (top quartile compared to bottom quartile). 

 In America where we eat much, much less, not depending upon it for our main calorie source, the differential from top to bottom is only a 12% risk increase.  In Asian countries, the average person eats four servings a day whereas, in the USA, the average is on the order of one or two servings a week. The author, Dr. Sun, cautions that you can’t blame the rice per se but the whole pattern of the diet.    This study focused on white rice which is essentially a carbohydrate with very little inhibition to rapid digestion because all the fiber has been polished off.  That polishing all removes protein, fiber, and magnesium as well as other minerals and vitamins.  Brown rice has quite a different glycemic index. 

 What makes this study meaningful and the reason I include it to pass on to you is that this shows a pattern we should pay attention to.   It’s not just the rice, but the “whole pattern of the diet”.  The availability of carbohydrate-rich foods that can be rapidly digested is the real enemy.  White rice then joins white bread and white potatoes.  All of them provoke your pancreas to put out a surge of insulin in response to the rapid increase in glucose.   

The “common soil” hypothesis says that inflammation and metabolism are intrinsically linked.  With a  rapid rise in glucose, you force yourself to an insulin response and that results in inflammation. 

 What’s the insulin trap?  Easy.  The rapidly absorbed carbohydrate only lasts 2-3 hours in your blood. The insulin you release lasts 6-8 hours.  That means for the last 3-5 hours, the carbs are gone, forced into storage (a gentle euphemism for fat) and you don’t have any calories to live off of.  You feel starving so you eat more.   That supports Eric Westman’s claim that obesity is the result of eating in response to starvation, not overeating.  It’s eating the wrong foods. 

WWW.  What Will Work for Me.   Chinese restaurant syndrome isn’t just feeling hungry 2 hours after a meal of white rice.  It should be a warning sign that you just flogged your pancreas to push out insulin when it didn’t want to.  Now, you are inflamed for the next 4-8 hours.   The good news is that you can always start again in just 8 hours.  The bad news is that you have to stick with it.  White carbs are white carbs.  The more white bread, the more white rice, the more white potatoes are all just bait in the insulin trap.   And your arteries, your heart, and your brain are the eventual victims.  If your waistline is over 34 for women, or 38 for men, be wary and avoid the rice.   (35 inches and 40 inches are the criteria for metabolic syndrome.  I want you to catch it earlier.  )   I’m at 38 and had rice for lunch.  Oh dear. 

Pop Quiz

1.   For every serving of white rice, the risk of diabetes goes up by how much:   Answer: 13% as the highest group, at four servings a day had a 55% increased risk.

2.   What happens with white rice?          Answer: you digest it very quickly and your blood glucose rockets up.   You get an over abundant insulin reaction

3.   What is the insulin trap?                   Answer:   Your insulin lasts longer than the carbs from the white rice.  It forced you to store some of the rice glucose in fat cells, then your glucose level dropped and you became hypoglycemic, needing to eat more because you didn't have access to the fat cells as the insulin effect lasts longer than the glucose effect.  That's the trap.

4.   What makes the insulin trap?              Answer. Processing.  We polish the rice and remove its fiber making the grain much more available to digestive enzymes.  Whole grains with their fiber intact slow down the rate of rise of glucose.

 Written by John E Whitcomb, MD   Brookfield Longevity and Healthy Living Clinic 17585 W North Ave, Suite 160,  Brookfield, WI 53045  262-784-5300 Archives at www.NewsInNutrition.com