Note limitations of study on white rice

A study by Harvard School of Public Health has been cited as evidence of the role of white rice in raising the risk of diabetes ("Diabetes: The rice you eat is worse than sugary drinks"; last Friday, and "Going brown not to everyone's taste"; Tuesday).

It is important to note the limitations of this study.

The researchers studied only the association of diabetes risk and white rice. There was no association analysis of any other food item, and the researchers did not compare white rice against sugar.

One could argue that sugar should have been included in the analysis; after all, its prominence in our diet is relatively recent, compared with white rice, a widely consumed staple in many societies for hundreds of years, if not more.

If sugar were included in the study, the findings could very well be even more sobering.

We need to stop this diabetes scourge that currently afflicts more than 400,000 people in Singapore ("MOH to wage war on diabetes"; April 14).

Raising public awareness through health education and communication will be one of the key actions needed.

We need to try harder to bring better understanding and clarity to have a positive impact.

Leung Hon Yew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2016, with the headline 'Note limitations of study on white rice'. Print Edition | Subscribe