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FDA Warns Of Potential Risk In Eating Rice

Rice bowl
epSos.de, Flickr

We’ve always been ingrained (no pun intended) to associate eating rice with great health benefits, but now new studies are stating otherwise. Recent studies indicate that eating rice can actually cause harm to your body. According to the research, eating rice at least once daily can increase arsenic levels in your body by 44%.The study surveyed over 60 rice and rice-containing products such as pastas, drinks, and even infant cereals, that contained “worrisome” levels of arsenic in the majority of the rice products. However, others are saying it’s the levels of arsenic found in the food products were nothing to worry about.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that inorganic arsenic can cause lung, liver, and bladder cancers.

Scientist Urvashi Rangan wants to inform the public about his findings and not cause panic:

“We wanted to help consumers at least be able to take action for themselves in terms of moderating themselves. We asked the government to set standards.”

So, what about brown rice? Well, we’ve all thought brown rice is the “better-for-you” rice, but the study also pinpoints that brown rice contains the highest levels of arsenic. The research also showed that rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas have the highest percentages of arsenic.

Former consultant to the US Rice Federation, Jim Coughlin, issued a statement regarding these studies:

“If we’re going to eat, there’s going to be arsenic in all our foods. It’s found in fruits, vegetables and grains, and rice falls in the category. You’ve got to eat, and I think rice is a safe and nutritious food.”

The USA Rice Federation also released a statement:

“Rice has always been considered a nutritious food and an important part of a healthy diet. We’ve been made aware of concerns about the level of arsenic in rice, but are not aware of any established studies directly connecting rice consumption and adverse health effects. We understand that ‘arsenic’ is an alarming word, but we believe it is important for consumers to know that arsenic is a naturally occurring element in our air, water, rocks and soil. This is how plants uptake arsenic.  As a result, it’s always been in the food supply and is in many healthy foods that are consumed by billions of people every day.  No arsenical pesticides are used when growing U.S. rice.”

The FDA has been conducting their own independent studies regarding this new information, and it’s said the be similar to the new findings. The FDA has been testing over 1,200 rice and rice-containing products.

 

 

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