Switching from white rice to brown could be one of the key decisions that could help you avoid type II diabetes, the lifestyle disease that can lead to heart problems. Changing to brown rice reduces your risk by 16 per cent, but it drops further - by 36 per cent - if you change from white rice to whole grains, such as whole wheat or barley. Many people have started eating rice in the last decade or so because they think it is a healthy option - but most are choosing processed, white rice, which is easier to prepare. However, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health say all the health benefits come with brown rice or whole grains. Brown rice contains more fibre, minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals. More importantly, it does not generate a large increase in blood sugar levels in the way that white rice does. (Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2010; 170: 961-9).