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Searching for a rice to control diabetes



Presented by Dr Lei (Ben) Liu
Research Fellow, Southern Cross University

ABSTRACT

Rice feeds almost half the human population and is mainly consumed as white rice. Recent studies indicate that higher consumption of white rice is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. Our recent research indicates that there are natural lysophospholipids (LPLs) associated with rice starch which may ameliorate the human blood glucose response following consumption of white rice and so reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. These are naturally complexed with the rice amylose starch. However, LPLs were previously overlooked by researchers as they account for less than 1% weight of white rice, and have been difficult to analyse. In our recent research, we have developed a fast analytical method to quantify the LPLs in white rice. Rice varieties representing a wide range of geographical origin were grown over two seasons and analysed using this new method. The current results suggest that there is a wide diversity of LPLs in white rice and that this difference is primarily attributed to genetic variation. This suggests it should be possible to breed and select much higher levels of LPLs. The process of finding an existing or new rice variety with optimised LPLs to control Type 2 diabetes is underway.

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