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White Rice, like Flour, Increases Risk for Diabetes

A review of four studies, following more than 350,000 people for 4 to 22 years, shows that eating white rice markedly increases risk for diabetes in Asians, even more than it does in Caucasians (British Medical Journal, March 15, 2012).

GLYCEMIC INDEX: After you eat, blood sugar levels rise. How high blood sugar levels rise after you eat a certain food is called the Glycemic Index (GI) of that food. The higher blood sugar levels rise after you eat that food, the higher the GI, and the more likely that food is to increase your risk for developing diabetes (Diabetes Care, 2004;27:2701-6). The GI of white rice is 64, brown rice is 55, whole wheat (not ground into flour) is 41 and barley is 25 (Am J Clin Nutr, 2002;76:5-56).

WHY SOME FOODS CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN AND DIABETES, WHILE OTHERS DO NOT: All plants are rich sources of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are combinations of sugars, either a single sugar, two or more sugars bound together, thousands of sugars bound together called starch, or millions of sugars bound together called fiber. Fiber has its sugars bound together so tightly that it is not absorbed, or absorbed very slowly as it is fermented by bacteria in the colon.

Carbohydrates in plants rarely cause a high rise in blood sugar. However, when the plant is changed by grinding, juicing, stripping off fiber, or any other method, it is usually absorbed much faster resulting in a much higher rise in blood sugar.

A high rise in blood sugar causes your pancreas to release large amounts of insulin which makes you eat more and increases your chances of gaining weight and storing fat in your body. Increasing body fat blocks insulin receptors which causes a high rise in blood sugar and leads to diabetes.

WHITE RICE: Whole grain (brown) rice is a grass seed with a tight outer capsule, made primarily of fiber, that delays absorption. White rice is milled to remove the outer capsule. This markedly increases the rate of absorption and causes a higher rise in blood sugar.

FLOUR: All whole grains are seeds of grasses with tight capsules. Grinding wheat or any other whole grain into flour removes the capsule and increases the rate of absorption to cause a high rise in blood sugar.

JUICES: Turning any fruit into a juice is the most damaging of all. Sugared drinks are absorbed much faster than sugar in solid food and therefore cause the highest rises in blood sugar.

RECOMMENDATIONS: You can usually eat an unlimited amount of fruits, vegetables, WHOLE grains (not ground into flour), beans, seeds, and nuts. Eat brown rice, rather than white rice, and whole grains rather than bakery products or pastas. Restrict all sugared drinks including fruit juices.


Reports from

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load

Weak muscles and arthritis



Prescription Drug for Hair Growth Can Cause Impotence

Propecia (finasteride) pills, prescribed to treat male-pattern baldness, enlarged prostate or prostate cancer, can cause impotence or delayed ejaculation (Journal of Sexual Medicine, July, 2012). The incidence of these side effects is less than two percent, and the incidence of the side effects lasting long after the drug is stopped is less than 0.1 percent.


What Can You Do if You Sit All Day at Your Job?

Last week's eZine, Sitting All Day Long Shortens Life, Even If You Exercise, upset many people whose jobs require them to sit.

Muscles are inactive when you sit. Resting muscles draw no sugar from your bloodstream and therefore encourage a high rise in blood sugar, even if you are not diabetic. A high rise in blood sugar can damage every cell in your body.

When you exercise, you contract your muscles, and contracting muscles draw sugar from your bloodstream without even needing insulin. The more intensely you exercise, the longer muscles can draw sugar from your bloodstream after you finish exercising. Also the longer you exercise, the greater the amount of sugar muscles draw from your bloodstream.

You get maximum protection from a high rise in blood sugar during exercise. The more intensely you exercise, the longer you are protected from a high rise in blood sugar after you finish exercising. For example, most people still retain maximum protection up to an hour after they finish exercising. This benefit then gradually tapers off after about 17 hours.

Therefore all people, particularly those with desk jobs and those who spend a lot of time at a computer or watching television, should have an exercise program, and the longer and more intensely they exercise, the greater their protection from disease and premature death.

When you are sitting at your desk, move as much as you can. Stand and walk around often. Even fidgeting and moving your feet or arms while you sit will draw sugar into muscles. Consider trying one of the under-desk pedaling or stair-stepper exercise devices (available at Amazon and many other sources).


Sugared Drinks Do Not Reduce Hunger

Extra calories in sugared FOODS make you eat less of other foods, but the extra calories that you get from sugared DRINKS do not cause you to eat less (Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 2000 Jun;24(6):794-800).

For four weeks, men and women drank a fixed amount of calories in a sugared drink, and for the next four weeks, they ate the same number of sugared calories in jelly beans. They were allowed to eat as much food as they wanted but had to keep careful count of all the food that they ate. When the group ate solid jelly beans, they ate 17 percent less calories in their food, but when they took the calories in sugared drinks, they did not reduce their intake of food at all.


Recipe of the Week:

Lemony Lentil Soup

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


July 22nd, 2012
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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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