The health authorities have identified one of their top concerns as they wage war on diabetes: white rice. It is even more potent than sweet soda drinks in causing the disease. Sharing his battle plan to reduce the risk of diabetes, Health Promotion Board chief executive Zee Yoong Kang said that obesity and sugary drinks are the major causes of the condition in the West. But Asians are more predisposed to diabetes than Caucasians, so people do not have to be obese to be at risk. Starchy white rice can overload their bodies with blood sugar and heighten their risk of diabetes. Mr Zee is armed with data. A meta- analysis of four major studies, involving more than 350,000 people followed for four to 20 years, by the Harvard School of Public Health - published in the British Medical Journal - threw up some sobering findings. One, it showed each plate of white rice eaten in a day - on a regular basis - raises the risk of diabetes by 11 per cent in the overall population.