People who eat white rice on a regular basis have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, according to an analysis published in the British Medical Journal and reported by HealthDay News.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes affects 8 percent of the U.S. population, with Latinos shouldering a disproportionate burden—12 percent of Latinos have been diagnosed with the disease. And though diabetes is preventable through diet and exercise, this study shows that worldwide populations are not hearing the message.  

For this analysis, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed the findings of four previous studies conducted in the United States, Australia, China and Japan. The studies included more than 350,000 participants tracked between four to 22 years. None of the participants had diabetes at the start of the studies. 

Researchers found that for each serving of white rice participants ate (about 6 ounces per serving), there was a 10 percent increased risk of diabetes. Furthermore, that link was stronger in women than in men. 

White rice, the main type of rice eaten worldwide, has lower levels of diabetes fighting nutrients such as fiber, magnesium and vitamins. White rice also scores high on the glycemic index (GI), which measures how foods affect blood sugar levels. High GI diets are associated with an increased risk of diabetes.  

Researchers warned that in order to fight the growing obesity epidemic and lower rates of diabetes worldwide, individuals should focus on healthier diets. White flour should be switched out for whole grains including barley, quinoa and buckwheat.