Objectives To summarise evidence on the association between white rice consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes and to quantify the potential dose-response relation.
Design Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.
Data sources Searches of Medline and Embase databases for articles published up to January 2012 using keywords that included both rice intake and diabetes; further searches of references of included original studies.
Study selection Included studies were prospective cohort studies that reported risk estimates for type 2 diabetes by rice intake levels.
Data synthesis Relative risks were pooled using a random effects model; dose-response relations were evaluated using data from all rice intake categories in each study.
Results Four articles were identified that included seven distinct prospective cohort analyses in Asian and Western populations for this study. A total of 13284 incident cases of type 2 diabetes were ascertained among 352384 participants with follow-up periods ranging from 4 to 22 years. Asian (Chinese and Japanese) populations had much higher white rice consumption levels than did Western populations (average intake levels were three to four servings/day versus one to two servings/week). The pooled relative risk was 1.55 (95% confidence interval 1.20 to 2.01) comparing the highest with the lowest category of white rice intake in Asian populations, whereas the corresponding relative risk was 1.12 (0.94 to 1.33) in Western populations (P for interaction=0.038). In the total population, the dose-response meta-analysis indicated that for each serving per day increment of white rice intake, the relative risk of type 2 diabetes was 1.11 (1.08 to 1.14) (P for linear trend<0.001).
Conclusion Higher consumption of white rice is associated with a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes, especially in Asian (Chinese and Japanese) populations.