Saturday, May 21, 2016

Battle against diabetes: White rice is not worse than soft drink and here's why

I saw someone sharing on the facebook about an article that basically saying that white rice is more potent than sugary drinks in causing diabetes. I was curious so I clicked on it and have a read through. If you haven't read it, here is the source.

For me, I think it's a misrepresented comparison and it can be misleading to people who know nothing about nutrition.

Before I go further, let me first say that these opinions are purely my own. I have also taken nutrition training courses and that's why I think the comparison is nonsense in terms of scientific clinical facts.

Now let's take a look at soft drink, Coke for example:
screenshot from coca-cola website

If you look at the food label on a can of Coke, it contains 139 calories and these calories come from sugar and only sugar.

Now how about rice:

According to Fatsecret, a bowl of rice contains 204 calories. The calorie in the rice can be broken down into different source.

The graphic in the article shows that one bowl of rice equals to two cans of soda drinks and says that a bowl of rice has more than twice the carbohydrates content of a can of soft drink.
Sure, carbohydrates wise, rice is more than coke but if you look at sugar content, rice contains merely 0.08g but 35g is in the coke. So what does it mean?
You see, not all Carbs are created equal
Carbohydrates can occur in three main forms:
Simple carbs which is sugars. That also include fruit sugar (fructose), milk sugar (lactose) and others.
Complex carbs like those in whole grains, beans, rice and many others. Those contains starch and fibre. Fibre is another form of complex carbs that can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels.
Simple carbs cause glucose is released into your blood faster. Complex carbs take longer to digest and provide slower release of energy. You can see from the picture below how the blood sugar levels rise very quickly for simple carbs but rise is less sharp for complex carbs,

Another thing I would like to point out is, soft drinks contain mostly sugar. These are classified as empty calories as they are high in calories with no other nutrients. So the calorie is 100% carbohydrates and it is a simple carbohydrates.
Rice on the other hand, as you can see, rice doesn't contain sugar only. It also contains fat and protein. Fat and protein don't affect blood sugar the way carbs do. These two nutrients normally do not turn into glucose. They are utilized differently and used for other purposes.
Beside, I am sure most of us don't eat rice on its own. Normally there should be some meat dishes and vegetables to go with it which in better in controlling blood sugar level. Meat usually contains protein and vegetables are mostly fibre, so when eaten with rice, protein slows stomach emptying, producing smaller blood sugar rise and fibre slows the absorption of sugar into the blood which also produce lower blood sugar rise.
Not just that, soft drink is not food. It doesn't fill you up. Rice helps you stay full for a greater amount of time than soft drinks. Soft drinks increased hunger and cravings, usually for sweets which will resort to overeating, often on more carbs.
So how on earth can the food like white rice is worse than a can of soft drink let alone 2 cans in causing diabetes. I think not. So everyone, if you could, do your own research and judge for yourself.