Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane databases were searched through November 2021.
Eligibility criteria Prospective cohort studies of white and brown rice intake on T2D risk (≥1 year), and randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing brown rice with white rice on cardiometabolic risk factors (≥2 weeks).
Data extraction and synthesis Data were extracted by the primary reviewer and two additional reviewers. Meta-analyses were conducted using random-effects models and reporting followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle Ottawa Scale for prospective cohort studies and the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool for RCTs. Strength of the meta-evidence was assessed using NutriGrade.
Results Nineteen articles were included: 8 cohort studies providing 18 estimates (white rice: 15 estimates, 25 956 cases, n=5 77 426; brown rice: 3 estimates, 10 507 cases, n=1 97 228) and 11 RCTs (n=1034). In cohort studies, white rice was associated with higher risk of T2D (pooled RR, 1.16; 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.32) comparing extreme categories. At intakes above ~300 g/day, a dose–response was observed (each 158 g/day serving was associated with 13% (11%–15%) higher risk of T2D). Intake of brown rice was associated with lower risk of T2D (pooled RR, 0.89; 95% CI: 0.81 to 0.97) comparing extreme categories. Each 50 g/day serving of brown rice was associated with 13% (6%–20%) lower risk of T2D. Cohort studies were considered to be of good or fair quality. RCTs showed an increase in high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (0.06 mmol/L; 0.00 to 0.11 mmol/L) in the brown compared with white rice group. No other significant differences in risk factors were observed. The majority of RCTs were found to have some concern for risk of bias. Overall strength of the meta-evidence was moderate for cohort studies and moderate and low for RCTs.
Conclusion Intake of white rice was associated with higher risk of T2D, while intake of brown rice was associated with lower risk. Findings from substitution trials on cardiometabolic risk factors were inconsistent.