Much of the world’s population used to eat white rice as part of their diet, and from Asia to Europe and America, rice is one of the most important meals, but this foodstuff, which has played a role in the fight against hunger crises on a global scale, has negative effects on human health.
In recent years, many dietary trends have changed and the move away from hydrogenated oils and foods high in sugar and starch has increased, after many studies have shown their damage to the heart and their role in chronic diseases, especially diabetes. .
A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that people who eat large amounts of white rice may be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and if a person has prediabetes they should be aware of the amount of rice she eats.
A Harvard University study also showed that low glycemic index foods (a diet that relies on fruits, vegetables and bran), including brown rice, are digested more slowly, leading to a decrease in blood sugar, and therefore it is recommended to eat brown rice instead of white.
Director General of the Institute of Industrial Technology in Sri Lanka, Professor Sermal Prikakumara, noted the change in global diet trends, and revealed it by studying different types of rice, brown, purple and red, which are grown in small quantities by farmers. in his country, that its benefits are nutritionally and healthily superior to rice.
Rice is the most important crop in Sri Lanka, occupying 34 percent of the total cultivated area, involving 1.8 million family farms and providing 45 percent of the total calories consumed by the average citizen.
The people of Sri Lanka started cultivating rice since 800 BC and found huge irrigation structures, reservoirs and interconnected canals in the country, which makes rice cultivation essential in the economic and social process. .Therefore, Professor Prikakumara tried to research ways to enable brown rice cultivation as a strategic option in the country, as he documented 300 types of rice with anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory and oxidative properties, and can be developed for consumption on a larger scale, as part of research to identify agricultural capabilities, and the possibility of changing current trends to be healthier.
Nutritionist Rania Al-Hajj told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed: “Eating white rice in moderate amounts will not affect human health, as the individual needs starches for energy, while ‘Too much rice can cause blood sugar levels to rise because the starches turn. There are nutritional trends that call for eating brown rice as a dietary supplement, which is welcomed by the scientific and medical community.
Al-Hajj adds: “According to previous American studies, brown rice has been found to have a role in lowering blood sugar levels, and eating it is not only helpful in maintaining blood sugar levels , but also has an effect on its reduction, therefore, the diet based on the consumption of brown rice It helps to regulate metabolism, reduce sugar levels and therefore lose weight.
The International Diabetes Foundation predicts that by 2045, diabetes will affect 152 million people in Southeast Asia, including India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, up from 35 million in 2000 and 260 million people in the Western Pacific region. of the disease requires a change in dietary habits, as brown rice contains higher amounts of fiber and magnesium, which reduces the risk of diabetes.
According to studies, eating 100 grams of brown rice only adds about 111 calories, which is a small number compared to an individual’s nutritional baseline.
Studies conducted by the Center for Nutrition Research and Chronic Disease Prevention at the University of Toronto, Canada, have shown that eating two or three servings of white rice a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by 16%. and researcher Vasanti Malik says that white rice rice is quickly absorbed by the body because it lacks nutrients, fiber and other micronutrients, which cause blood sugar and insulin levels to rise rapidly, and increase risk over time.
Malik adds, “Many factors contribute to the spread of diabetes, including modern agricultural trends, as rice is increasingly processed and lifestyles have become more sedentary, which contributes to the spread of the disease.
Rice is a staple in the diet of all of Asia and 90% of rice is produced in Asian countries. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, rice is the main source of carbohydrates and protein for millions of families. And the people of the countries of the Asian continent eat rice daily, and some even eat it three times a day, and therefore the continent is the most common for diabetes.
Pat Shailesh Awate, co-founder of an agricultural company in India, encourages Asian farmers to return to old, unmodified rice varieties, travels to India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines to collect seeds he can donate to other farmers and argues that the economics of food production must change to safeguard public health.
Source: The New Arab