17 July 2017


Last post featured the remarkable benefits of the Kempner white rice and fruit diet. Challenging stuff. Bit confusing. Created many questions.

Most health conscious people believe white rice to be problematic and many “experts” currently claim the sugar in fruit make it dangerous. But Kempner’s diet is documented to have cured advanced kidney disease, diabetes and other conditions.

So this week lets explore whether brown rice is in fact better, but first

Thought for the day

Spring comes with its flowers,
Autumn with the moon,
Summer with breezes,
Winter with snow;

When useless things do not stick in the mind,
That is your best season.

Wu-men Huai-kai
– Zen master of the 12th/13th century

When in the Philippines way back in the seventies, I was impressed by a Government program exhorting the locals to eat B Grade rice. It was a major program and it was quite puzzling… why eat B Grade rice? On investigation, it turned out that in that place, at that time, B Grade rice was wholegrain or brown rice; white was regarded as the A Grade stuff! The government was trying to make the population healthier!

So given rice is the single most important staple and feeds around half the people on the planet, why is white rice so popular and what are its consequences?

Back in the Philippines of the seventies, many rural people were subsistence farmers with just enough to eat and very little cash.

Yet they would trade some of their harvested rice to the threshers who travelled around and mechanically turned their natural, wholegrain, brown rice into the refined white stuff.

The husks and kernels were feed to the pigs – they grew fat and sleek - and the people struggled on.

Seems that brown rice has a strong association with being poor and unrefined, and people with very little will pay to rise above that notion. Wow! And at what cost?

A recent meta-analysis links eating white rice with Type 2 Diabetes – T2D. The analysis examined 350,000 people over 20 years and found each serving per day of white rice was associated with an 11% increase in the risk of developing T2D.

Also, we know there is a strong correlation between obesity and T2D. Yet places like China and Japan, while they have very little obesity, still do have high T2D rates. Japan actually has more than the US which has about the same level as Australia and China. Why? Maybe it is all that white rice.

Here is a hint. Whole fruit consumption IS associated with a lower T2D risk; whereas fruit juice at best is neutral and may well be detrimental.

Eating whole grains (like brown rice or wholemeal bread) IS associated with a lower T2D risk, where-as processed grains (white rice, white bread) at best are neutral, and may well be detrimental.

But we also need to consider history.

Even as recently as 2000, China had one of the lowest T2D rates in the world - despite its high levels of white rice consumption.

But now they are right up there with us.

What changed in these last few years?

During the last 50 years in China, consumption of animal source foods has tripled. In just the last 20 years, pork consumption is up 40%, and rice consumption down 30%. So while white rice is still one part of the problem, for T2D it seems there is more to it. Consumption of animal proteins may actually increase the basic risk associated with white rice.

To explain, diabetes is associated with insulin spikes. You get these spikes from eating foods with high glycaemic indexes; foods like white rice, white bread, potatoes that have their skins removed, or refined, white spaghetti. But if you add tuna or meat to the potatoes or sphagetti – more or less of an insulin spike?

Despite the fish or meat having virtually no sugars, no carbohydrates and no starch, the insulin spike is twice as much!

Animal protein makes the pancreas work twice as hard.

Also, it is the same if you drink sugar in water and add some meat - you get a much bigger spike than without meat.

But there is another crucial point. A very small amount of meat added to grains has little adverse affect. However, after more than the equivalent of about a third of a chicken breast, the insulin spikes start to happen.

Maybe this is why in more traditional times when meat consumption was very low, eating so much white rice did not create much of a T2D problem. It may also help to explain why eating a predominantly wholefood, plant-based diet is so good at preventing T2D – along with all the other chronic degenerative diseases.

What to do?

Simple. Follow the evidence and eat a plant-based wholefood diet with minimal or no meat and dairy. And yes, brown rice is better than white.

1. Are the sugars in fruit dangerous?
If you are still in any doubt that the sugars in whole fruits are not the problem some would have you believe, and are in fact very healthy - CLICK HERE

 2. Kempner’s Rice Diet explained - CLICK HERE



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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this article.

    Last week I cut all animal products from my diet and couldn't understand why I feel so full eating just plants. My understanding has always been that animal protein would make me feel fuller and for longer.

    So you see, my empirical evidence has shown me that eating animal foods makes me hungrier, not fuller.

    This is so interesting. I have battled with a huge appetite all my life. Now, at 73, I have found the solution.