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Brown Rice Reduces Diabetes Risk

Researchers at Harvard Medical School report that replacing 50 grams of white rice daily with the same amount of brown rice lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes by 16 percent, and replacing the same amount of white rice with whole barley or wheat lowers diabetes risk by 36 percent (Archives of Internal Medicine, published online June 14, 2010). Those who ate five or more servings of white rice per week were 17 percent more likely to become diabetic than those who ate less than one serving per month. Those who ate two or more servings of brown rice per week were 11 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those eating less than one serving of brown rice per month.

White rice causes a much higher rise in blood sugar than brown rice does. The higher the rise in blood sugar, the more insulin is released by the pancreas. Excessive insulin production can eventually stop the pancreas from making insulin which increases risk for diabetes. A high rise in blood sugar also causes sugar to stick to the surface membranes of cells. Once stuck on a cell, sugar cannot get off and is eventually converted by a series of chemical reactions to sorbitol that destroys the cell to cause all the side effects of diabetes: heart attacks, strokes, blindness, deafness, kidney damage and so forth.

White rice is "refined" by removing the bran and germ portions of brown rice, which removes fiber, vitamins, magnesium and other minerals, lignans, phytoestrogens, and phytic acid. All of these nutrients may help to prevent diabetes.

All whole grains are seeds of grasses which have a thick outer capsule that requires extensive cooking to make them palatable. Removing the outer coating or grinding whole grains into flour makes the sugars readily available for rapid absorption and higher rises in blood sugar levels.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is exercising just before I go to sleep harmful?

No! Exercising vigorously before going to bed does cause your body to produce large amounts of its own stimulants, adrenalin and noradrenalin, that make your heart beat rapidly and raise body temperature, but this does not usually prevent you from falling asleep (Clinics in Sports Medicine, April 2005; Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, June 1999). Exercise helps to prevent disease, prolong life and make you feel good. So exercise whenever you can, even if it's just before you go to bed.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Why don't all smokers develop lung cancer?

Only 10 to 15 percent of smokers develop lung cancer, probably because smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer. The more cofactors you have, the more likely you are to develop cancer. Smokers who have higher blood levels of both vitamin B6 and an amino acid protein building block called methionine have a 60 percent lower risk of suffering lung cancer (Journal of the American Medical Association, June 8, 2010). Dietary factors associated with increased risk for cancer include eating meat, fried foods or burnt foods; and not eating enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans. Methionine is found in protein sources such as meat, fish or nuts. Vitamin B6 is found in meat, nuts, whole grains, vegetables and certain fruits.

Cancer is caused by damage to DNA in cells, and low levels of B vitamins increase the probability of DNA damage and gene mutations. For example, several studies show that women with high levels of vitamin B6 have lower risk of colon or rectal cancers.

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Recipe of the Week:

Clam Chowder

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

June 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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