To put it simply: white rice, the staple food of Filipinos, is high on the glycemic index and increases the risk of diabetes.
This is certainly not an attack on the eating habits of Filipinos. I come from a country where most people eat pasta and pizza all the time and pasta and pizza are refined carbs just like white rice and they are high on the glycemic index just like white rice.
I am not saying this thing because I am an expert in the field of nutrition. It’s just that I have come across a doctor, who is also a famous health coach here in Italy, and he preaches the 50+25+25 rule, which means that a truly healthy meal should be made up of 50% raw vegetables (meaning leafy green vegetables that should either be eaten raw or lightly steamed, like steamed broccoli for example). The remaining part of a healthy meal should include 25% whole grain carbs (that could include rice but it should be strictly 100% wholegrain) and the remaining 25% should be a portion of healthy proteins.
I’ve made my own research and I’ve found out that, although there are several conflicting theories out there (some say that we should only be eating veggies and proteins and discount the carbs, including the whole grain ones, others say that animal proteins should be avoided etc.) but all experts seem to agree on one point: vegetables should be the bulk of our diet, not rice, not pasta and not bread.
So it seems like both Filipinos and my Italian fellow countrymen are definitely messing up because both races are high on refined carbs and they both regard them as the bulk of their diet.
And sure enough, both my country and my Pinoy wife’s country are experiencing an epidemic of heart disease and diabetes, which is not just a personal disaster for the people who get sick: it’s a massive problem for the health care system that, while in my country is public, in the Philippines it is largely private.
One might say that Filipinos are too poor to consider healthy alternatives. Maybe this is true. On the other hand though most Filipinos who work overseas are not poor at all and they still eat tons of white rice. The more money they make the more they spend to go eating out, typically to the so-called “eat all you can”-style restaurants where they can have unlimited rice.
Italians have plenty of money to buy food and they also make the very poor choice of eating refined carbs in the form of pasta or pizza (or both) every day.
So, poverty is probably not the real issue here.
The habit of consuming huge amounts of refined carbs is the result of an indoctrination that begins in early childhood and both in the Philippines and in my country very few people dare to question the validity of this eating style.