If you’re looking to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, reducing how much white rice you eat should be top of your list of priorities.
That’s according to researchers at Tufts University in America, who have identified three dietary factors that appear to be the biggest causes of the global increase in type 2 diabetes.
From the 11 dietary factors they looked at in their research, the three most responsible for the rise in diabetes were:
- not eating enough whole grains and whole wheat;
- eating too much refined rice and wheat;
- and eating too much processed meat (so things like sausages, bacon and ham).
Meanwhile factors such as drinking too much fruit juice and not eating enough non-starchy vegetables, nuts or seeds had less of an impact on new cases of the disease.
The study reviewed the dietary intake of people in 184 countries – all of which saw an increase in type 2 diabetes between 1990 and 2018. It found that 70% of new cases of the disease in 2018 were at least in part due to poor diet.
Additionally, the report found that a poor diet causes a larger number of cases of type 2 diabetes in men versus women, in younger versus older adults, and in urban versus rural residents.
Geographically, central and eastern Europe – particularly Poland and Russia, where diets tend to feature a lot of red meat and potatoes – had the greatest number of type 2 diabetes cases linked to diet.
However, the UK is still in a worrying position when it comes to diabetes.
Rapidly-escalating diabetes crisis
It was revealed by Diabetes UK last week that the number of diabetes cases in the UK had passed five million for the first time, resulting in Diabetes UK warning that the nation is in a “rapidly-escalating diabetes crisis”.
Other risk factors stated by Diabetes UK include age, family history and ethnicity and weight.
They also highlighted that social deprivation can be a contributor with income, education, housing, and lack of access to healthy food and healthcare all strongly linked to several health conditions including type 2 diabetes.
How to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
While the causes of type 2 diabetes are multiple and complex, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing the disease. NHS Inform advises:
- Losing weight if you’re overweight and maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Stopping smoking if you smoke
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
- Regular exercise
Additionally, with the new findings from Tufts University, you may want to consider reducing your intake of processed meat, refined rice and wheat and increase your intake of whole grains and whole wheat.