Beans better than rice for diabetes risk

Fri, 02 Sep 2011
A new study from Costa Rica has claimed that eating more beans and less rice can help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Although both foods are usually eaten together, it is the beans that offer the best way to improve health, says the report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The research, which involved monitoring the diet of almost 2,000 people in an investigation of risk factors for heart disease between 1994 and 2004, showed that those who regularly traded a helping of white rice for one of beans experienced a 35 per cent reduction in the risk of symptoms that usually lead to diabetes.

Frank Hu, a member of the research team, commented "Rice is very easily converted into sugar by the body. It's very highly processed, it's pure starch and starch is a long chain of glucose."

He added "Beans compared with rice contain much more fiber, certainly more protein and they typically have a lower glycemic index - meaning they induce much lower insulin responses."

The findings are important because people in Costa Rica have moved away from eating beans and are eating more rice as the population have become more wealthy and urbanised, while the numbers of diabetics in the country has soared, partly due to the increase in white rice consumption, experts believe.
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