Type 2 diabetes warning: This popular ingredient may increase your risk
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which a person’s pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. This impaired mechanism may not pose a threat initially, but overtime, unregulated blood sugar levels can hike your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. It is therefore important to keep your risk of developing type 2 diabetes at bay and this means cutting back on or completely avoiding unhealthy lifestyle habits.
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Certain dietary decisions have been seen to raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by causing blood sugar levels to spike.
The worst offenders are foods that rank high on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood sugar levels.
Foods with a high carbohydrate content pose the greatest threat to blood sugar management because carbohydrate is broken down into glucose relatively quickly and therefore has a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels than either fat or protein, explains Diabetes.co.uk.
One particular high-carb food that has been shown to heighten your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is white rice.
Research published in the journal BMJ suggested that eating white rice regularly – a common practice in Asian countries – may increase risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
To gather their findings, researchers looked at data from four studies: two in Asian countries (China and Japan) and two in Western countries (the U.S. and Australia). All participants were diabetes-free when the study began.
On average, people from Asian countries ate about four servings of white rice daily, whereas individuals in Western countries ate less than five servings a week.
After analysing the data, researchers found that diabetes risk rose by about 10 percent with each increased serving per day of white rice.
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Accounting for the association, researcher Qi Sun, M, an instructor in medicine at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, suggests that, in addition to the high-carb content of white rice, the popular ingredient also has a low-fibre content and fibre intake has been shown to reduce your risk of developing the chronic disease.
According to Sun, other white, starchy carbohydrates, such as white bread, white pasta, and white potatoes, will also heighten your risk if eaten often enough.
While swapping white carbs for whole grain equivalents may reduce the risk, you do not have to shun rice completely, he said.
How can I increase my fibre intake?
According to Diabetes.co.uk, the surest way to add more fibre to your diet is to eat plenty of vegetables.
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“The Department of Health advises us to eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruit each day. Generally speaking, beating rather than meeting the daily target is recommended,” advises the health body.
As the health site explains, if you’re buying starchy foods such as rice, bread or pasta, look for those with higher amounts of fibre per 100g.
“Foods listed as whole grain should usually be good picks but checking the nutritional value per 100g tends to be the most reliable way of ensuring you pick a high fibre option,” it added.
The NHS does advise exercising a degree of caution when upping your fibre intake, however, as it could lead to stomach cramps and bloating in the short term, so it is important to keep hydrated at the same time.
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
According to the NHS, many people have type 2 diabetes without realising because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
- Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
You should speak to your GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting it, advises the health body.
It added: “The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better. Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.”
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