Rice, which is the staple food of more than half of the world’s population, has always been common item in the daily menu of Asians. In Bangladesh for instance, one might have cooked rice for lunch, dinner and even for breakfast!
Unfortunately, as several recent studies claim, eating rice may be linked to a higher risk of diabetes.
Researchers of Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School recently conducted four studies, two studies in Asian people (Chinese and Japanese) and two in Western people (USA and Australia) to know whether consumption of white rice has any relation with the risk of diabetes. In these studies, 350,000 people were observed over a timescale from four to 22 years.
A review of four studies claimed that rice has a high glycemic index (GI) that means the body rapidly converts the carbohydrates in rice into glucose. Researchers observed that a troubling link exists between higher consumption of white rice and diabetes mellitus and it is more common in Asia where white rice is the staple food.
Glycemic Index (GI), developed by nutrition specialist Dr. David Jenkins, is an index that ranks foods according to the immediate effect they have on blood glucose levels after consumption.
The GI helps us to understand the degree of increase in the blood sugar level when a particular food item is consumed. Food item that causes dramatic rise in blood sugar level is given a high GI Value while foods with low GI value are likely to have small and slow effect on blood sugar level.
Several studies suggest that rice, the major source of Carbohydrate for the Asians; break down very rapidly during digestion causing dramatic increase of glucose in the blood stream.
To tackle diabetes, Food scientists have been trying to develop food varieties that have lower GI value. Recently, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) has developed rice variety ‘Purno’ which is produced using a specialized, research based technique that preserves its nutritional content and helps maintain a low glycemic index.
Purnava Limited, a subsidiary of Renata Limited which is one of the top manufacturers and marketers of human pharmaceuticals and animal therapeutics in Bangladesh, took the challenge of distributing and promoting the Purno rice variety throughout Bangladesh.
Through an extensive research, Purno Low G.I. rice variety has been developed as delicious yet natural rice variety with a low GI value. A Clinical trial, conducted by BIRDEM (Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation in Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders) which is the leading institute under the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh working to prevent diabetes, found that Purno rice variety has one of the lowest GI values of any white rice in the world. The rice used in purno has documented GI score as low as 27, which is comparatively much lower than other branded white rice available in Bangladesh.
Designed to provide healthy food for increasing number of diabetes patients, Purno low G.I. rice helps to keep lower blood sugar levels, lower bad cholesterol, and thus keep body weight under control. [FOR NON-DIABETICS]
In contrast to alternative rice varieties, Purno rice is particularly found to be helpful for the management of Type II diabetes, coronary heart diseases and also body weight.
Reneta limited, working two years with corresponding organization including BRRI, developed a processing technique of Purno low GI rice variety. Renata limited has completed trade mark registration of this processing technique and they have already communicated with the world intellectual property organization (WIPO) to get the IP rights of the process.
Purnava limited is now planning to develop the variety further to keep the GI lower and improve the quality of the rice variety. However, taking the advantage of weak legal framework for the protection of IP right in Bangladesh, they are worried that Intellectual property right of their work might be violated by other local companies.
Purno Low G.I. Rice is available in 1 KG and 5 KG packets and can be found at major pharmacies, superstores in Bangladesh including Meena Bazaar, Agora, Nandon, Hat Bazar.
The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.1, dated April 2012.