Diabetes is Increasing Dramatically in Asia

by Dr. Ray Strand

In a review article reported in the May 27, 2009 edition of JAMA the incidence of type 2 diabetes throughout Asia is increasing dramatically. In a disease that was once felt to be a disease of the West, over 110 million individuals in Asia were living with type 2 diabetes. This number is projected to grow to over 380 million in just 15 short years. The most concerning thing that the frequency of diabetes is being found in the young and middle aged.

When I was speaking to a group of doctors in Malaysia approximately 2 years ago, they told me that the incidence of type 2 diabetes was nearly 10% already in their adult population. They shared with me that they were not even able to get enough dialysis units to meet the demand for dialysis in this group of patients. It was obvious to me that one of the main problems was their consumption of more and more refined grains, especially Jasmine rice which has a glycemic incidence of 115.

Eating high glycemic foods can lead to metabolic syndrome and to diabetes. Foods with a glycemic index of less than 55 are considered low glycemic and aid in maintaining stable blood sugar levels. An index of 100 is eating straight glucose (sugar) so the refined Jasmine rice was being absorbed and turned into sugar in the blood quicker than if you ate spoonfuls of sugar. In the west we eat so many refined foods what we are on a constant blood sugar roller coaster. Foods like potatoes, french fries, white rice, pasta, most bread & cereals, soda, fruit juices, etc. are all high glycemic foods. Instead eat 100% whole grain bread, cereals, and pasta. Whole fruits and vegetables, whole grain rice, etc.