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Tufts Study Links Cultural Diet With Severe Effects Of Diabetes Among Hispanics

Tufts Study Links Cultural Diet With Severe Effects Of Diabetes Among HispanicsRice -- A Basic Element of Hispanic, Caribbean Diets -- Can Increase Effects Of Disease

Boston [01.17.01] Hispanics who have diabetes may experience more severe effects from their condition, due to the basic elements of their cultural diets, according to a Tufts study. The findings are particularly important to the Hispanic community, because diabetes is more prevalent among Hispanics in the US than other minority or non-Hispanic white populations.

Tufts' Dr. Carmen Castaneda authored the study, which linked basic foods like rice, to exacerbated effects of diabetes among Hispanics in the United States.

"Foods with complex carbohydrates -- like rice and bread -- [that are] known to have a high glycemic index [or the ability to increase blood sugar levels] after they are consumed, need to be limited," Castaneda told the Chicago Tribune. "But this is difficult because, among Hispanics and people of Caribbean origin, rice is a staple."

Because their cultural diets prevented them from conforming with dietary the restrictions of their condition, Castaneda told the Tribune that many Hispanics with diabetes experiences more severe problems.

According to the Tribune, the Tufts study found "Hispanic participants were more likely to lose muscle as a result of their condition and to have trouble moving around easily and taking care of basic needs, like eating and dressing."

The solution, Castaneda said, may be a simple dietary change. "A healthy alternative for diabetics would be to eat less rice and accompany it with legumes such as beans."

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