The study published in the British Medical Journal generated widespread interest because the epidemic increase in the incidence in diabetes around the world has been observed in communities that have also undergone a huge change in nutrition. In many such communities there is a culture of eating rice as the main staple food.

In Middle East and Gulf countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, the number of people developing Type 2 diabetes has been increasing to record levels. This has been referred to as part of a diabetes pandemic. White rice is the staple food in these parts of the world and it is usually eaten more than once a day.

In India and China too there is a longstanding rice eating culture. The overall percentage of people in these countries with diabetes may not be anywhere near the levels in the Middle East but the alarm bells have started to ring because the numbers are rising dramatically. If this is linked to rice why are we only now seeing such a dramatic rise in the number of people with diabetes when rice eating is a relatively ancient custom?

This point is exactly where we could start our analysis. It has to be borne in mind that nutrition and disease is complicated and there will be many other factors influencing results of research studies. Family genetics is important when it comes to Type 2 diabetes incidence rates, body weight is probably the single most important lifestyle factor and exercise plays an enormous influence. It is undisputed that overeating and lack of exercise can result in diabetes in a person susceptible through family genetics. It is unlikely that just one particular food type will play a dominant role in cause and effect. It will be a whole mix of different factors and these should be considered when trying to interpret a scientific research paper concerned with what food causes diabetes.

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