Rice is (not) Nice


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Earlier today my friend and I went to Pollock for lunch, and as he grabbed his usual bowl of rice turned to me and said, "did you know that eating rice everyday can lead to increased levels of arsenic in the body?" Naturally I was confused, and decided to look it up. Many Health articles came out yesterday on the topic!

According to CBSnews, the magazine Consumer Reports has a new study showing that many brands of rice contain arsenic. The rice with the highest levels come from areas that used to grow cotton (Texas, Louisisana, Gulf Coast region). It says because the cotton in that area was treated with arsenic pestisides and the rice pulls it out of the soil.

A pediatrician mentioned in the article, Dr. Philip Landrigan, recommends, since arsenic can lead to various cancers and can interfere with brain development in babies, that parents should avoid rice (or at least the kind grown in the areas mentioned above). He also says to "stay with California rice, stay with Asian rice or when in doubt go with barley, go with oatmeal" and to stay away from brown rice as it often contains more arsenic. The FDA, on the other hand, released a statement saying:

"Based on the currently available data and scientific literature the FDA does not have an adequate scientific basis to recommend changes by consumers regarding their consumption of rice and rice products"

While reading the article, I am reminded of what was discussed in the "Is Smoking Bad For You?" lecture. Though many studies were conducted showing a correlation between smoking and cancer, there was never enough to "indicate the abolition of the use of tobacco" (1948, Journal of American Medical Association).

I think I might follow Dr. Landrigan's advice and be a bit wary about rice for a while (at least until more information comes out), I don't eat it much anyway. How about you? What are your thoughts on this, is a reason to avoid rice or are they being a bit over dramatic with it?parboiled-rice.jpg(Source: Google Images)

4 Comments

This is big news to me! I eat rice a lot because I love sushi and stir fry and those types of foods. It's so surprising that Dr. Landrigan said to especially stay away from brown rice, because everyone has always told me that brown rice is the better, healthier option because it's a whole grain. I've done some research and have found numerous websites saying that brown rice is good for you. An article on WebMD even suggested that brown rice may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Hopefully the claims about rice leading to increased levels of arsenic in the body are false, because this website also states that "rice consumption in the U.S. has dramatically increased in recent decades." I am definitely going to keep updated on this topic because I need to stop eating so much rice if it is harmful! Until more research comes out, I'm going to keep eating it!

http://diabetes.webmd.com/news/20100614/brown-rice-vs-white-rice-which-is-better

Wow, this is very shocking. Fortunately, I mostly eat asian rice. Apparently though, I've heard the same thing about fish containing mercury, and I hear that is an even bigger issue. Perhaps you could blog about that because I've heard that most fish products contain mercury which is dropped into the sea due to pollution and eating too much fish could cause severe brain damage.

I can't believe these findings! It really makes me think: if they are just realizing the dangers of RICE, something people have been eating for years and years and years, what are some of the newer and more artificial foods doing to our bodies that we don't even know about yet?

Brown rice is definitely still healthier for you! I think his reasoning is just that because brown rice contains the plant's shells, it has more arsenic in it and could therefore possibly be less safe.

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